Last week, the Northeastern Men’s Hockey program announced in a press release that they would be adding two players to the roster as graduate transfers from within Hockey East. Former Merrimack goaltender Craig Pantano and former New Hampshire forward Brendan van Riemsdyk will play their final seasons of collegiate eligibility for the Howlin’ Huskies in 2019-20.
While the rumors and rumblings had linked these two to the program for months, including reports and tweets from Mike McMahon (Merrimack) and local UNH newspapers, this is the first official acknowledgement from Northeastern itself. We had updated our roster projection months ago to reflect the reported news, however schools cannot comment on graduate transfers until they have enrolled and started classes at the university.
Pantano comes to Huntington Avenue after two seasons of being the lead goaltender for the Merrimack Warriors. In 56 games as a Merrimack goalie, Pantano posted better numbers in 2017 (.915 save percentage, 2.33 goals-against average) than in 2018 (.889 sv% and 3.52 GAA), however it must be noted that Merrimack was demonstrably worse last season as they switched from the Mark Dennehy regime to the new Scott Borek regime. A program in flux certainly can cause chaos for a goaltender, and Pantano’s 2018 season was no exception.
He flashed some signs in skill and success in those 56 games, however, posting five total shutouts including four last season amist that tumultuous team, including a 42-save masterpiece against Northeastern at Matthews Arena, and a 34-save shutout against Boston University. His four shutouts last season tied the Merrimack single-season record.
Madigan in the press release said that they are looking to Pantano to be a stabilizing presence in net since the Huskies lost Cayden Primeau last spring. Said Madigan, “He has tremendous experience, is very quick and agile in net, and he comes to Northeastern with the ability to help lead our team this year to another championship”
Brendan van Riemsdyk
The youngest brother of the van Riemsdyk hockey dynasty, Brendan followed his brothers’ footsteps to New Hampshire for three seasons before graduating in three years, and will start working towards his Master’s Degree at Northeastern while he plays his final season of eligibility for the Huskies. In his three seasons as a Wildcat, BvR has been a consistent performer, contributing 15, 13, and 16 points in his time in Durham. Predominately used as a bottom-six winger, van Riemsdyk will bring some size to the Huskies up front, and his 6-foot-3 front will be a welcome addition both in front of the net and along the boards. Last season, he set a new career high with ten goals, matching his total from the previous two seasons.
Madigan cited van Riemsdyk’s experience in Hockey East, his stick skills, and ability around the net as major contributions he will bring to the Huskies, and said he expected Brendan to play in the top six and on special teams next season. With the top two center positions locked down by Tyler Madden and Zach Solow, whichever line van Riemsdyk plays on, he will have a talented linemate to gel with immediately.
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As always, Go Huskies!