Men’s hockey team gears up for the 2022-23 season


Carissa Mastrangelo

Devon Levi in goal against Harvard University at the NU 2021 homecoming game. NU came out victorious thanks to an overtime goal from junior forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine.

Ariana Ottrando, news staff

It’s almost October, which means hockey season is right around the corner. Securing a 25-13-1 record last season, the Northeastern men’s hockey team clinched the regular season Hockey East title for the first time in the program’s history, along with making the regional semifinals of the NCAA Championship. A new season brings new opportunities, and that’s the team’s mindset headed into game one of the regular season this Saturday night. 

With five graduates, the team lost some of last season’s key players, including former captain and new member of the Montreal Canadiens Jordan Harris.

 “We’re definitely gonna miss Jordo [Harris]. He was a great captain and one of my best friends on the team, he’s a great guy, so he’s gonna be missed,” said starting junior goaltender Devon Levi. 

Head coach Jerry Keefe said Harris “was an awesome captain for us.” 

“Obviously when you see players like that, when they have success, and they do things the right way, the younger guys follow,” Keefe said. 

Hence, the decision to name senior forward Aidan McDonough as captain this season was an easy one according to Keefe. 

“Aidan’s very similar to Jordan in that way — he’s got tremendous details, he’s always prepared, he’s a lead by example guy,” Keefe said.

As one of the older members of the team this year, Levi said he agrees.

“Everyone knows that he’s a great leader, so him stepping up to the plate is something that kind of happens seamlessly,” Levi said. “We all respect him just like we did Jordo [Harris], so we know he’s in it for the right reasons and wants to help lead the group.”

McDonough, one of college hockey’s lead scorers last season, said he understands the gravity of this position and what it means for the program. 

“It’s a huge honor to be named captain of this team. I think I’ve had great leaders before me that I can kind of take bits and pieces of how they’ve led and things that they’ve done, but I just plan on being myself,” McDonough said.

It’s apparent how significant the older players are to the team’s structure and community. Among the other graduates are Marco Bozzo, Tommy Miller, former assistant captain Julian Kislin, and Jakov Novak — the latter unexpectedly returning for his second season as a Husky after he transferred from Bentley University last year. 

“We were very excited to get Novie [Novak] back. Not just the coaches, but especially the older guys who were really pushing for him to come back this season, so it kind of shows the respect he has in the locker room,” Keefe said. “Novie [Novak]’s another guy that comes to practice everyday, wants to be a pro. He’s really good with the younger guys, kind of taking them under his wing a little bit and showing them the ropes.” 

McDonough said he is just as enthused as Keefe to have Novak back for another season.

“Novie [Novak] just had to come back and pursue grad school. It feels like he’s been here for four years even though last year was his first year,” McDonough said. “He fits well into our group. He’s a great teammate and a great player.” 

Novak joins the leadership group this season as one of three assistant captains, alongside seniors Riley Hughes and Jayden Struble. 

While there are changes in leadership and chemistry on the ice, the team is adjusting swiftly as the nine incoming freshmen and two transfers acclimate, Levi said. 

McDonough has a similar take on this fresh dynamic with 11 new teammates. 

“All of our freshmen are awesome kids first and foremost, really good guys to be around” he said. “They’re all really good players and a lot of them are gonna play big minutes for us. And then the transfers have been great too. I expect all of our new players to play a big impact and a big role in our team.”

The new forwards on the roster include freshmen Cam Lund, Jack Williams, Anthony Messuri and graduate transfer Liam Walsh from Merrimack College. The additions on defense are freshmen Hunter McDonald, Jackson Dorrington, Vinny Borgesi, Kyle Furey and junior transfer Braden Doyle from Boston University. Grant Riley and Harrison Chesney, both incoming freshmen from New York, are the backup goaltenders. 

While athleticism and playmaking are important components to being an effective contributor to any team, being a selfless player and person is a big factor behind the culture that the Huskies actively work to build under coach Keefe. 

“When we were starting to turn the corner as a program, we really focused on the type of person we were bringing into Northeastern, and those are the guys that drive the culture. Not just being part of the culture, but driving it, making it better,” Keefe said. “It’s something the players take a lot of pride in and the younger guys learn it and then they start driving it by the time they’re sophomores, juniors, and into their senior year.”

For McDonough, culture means always making smart decisions regardless of the situation.

“[Culture] has a lot of different aspects to it, like it’s doing the right things, being a good teammate, being positive, having the right attitude,” McDonough said. “At the end of the day, it’s that everyday commitment to making yourself better, making the people around you better.” 

Engrossed in this mentality to better the culture alongside McDonough for the past few years, Levi said it is important to pass it down to the newcomers. 

“We’re just trying to set the example for [the new guys] so that they can also carry on the tradition of culture when us older guys leave and they’re the ones here introducing the [incoming] freshmen and carrying the torch,” he said. 

As the new team members are learning and settling into the culture and routine, the team’s focus is set on starting off strong on Saturday for their first regular season game, Keefe said. While the team looks a little different this year, the players’ drive to exceed expectations does not. 

“We want to build off of the success we had last year. Hopefully we’ve got some experience that we can advance this year, that’s our goal,” Keefe said. “We think this group can take it to another level, just pounding away at that leadership and the culture of this team. We know it’s one game at a time, but we’re really excited about playing LIU [Long Island University] on Oct. 1.”

Your Huskies will take the ice at home in Matthews Arena on Saturday against Long Island University, or LIU, at 7:30 p.m. 

“Looking forward to seeing what we can do as a group,” Levi said. “The task at hand is LIU, getting ready for game one of the season and we’re all super pumped about that.”