With Hockey East revealing that teams will begin playing games starting November 20th, the 2020-21 season is officially around the corner. While at the time of the article we do not have any inkling of what the schedule will look like, we are as excited as anyone in the conference to have our favorite sport back. Hopefully the conference and schools can keep players, staff, officials, and fans as safe as possible to complete the season with minimal interruptions (because remember, the pandemic is still ongoing despite how tired of it people are).
We usually would preview the entire conference and finish with Northeastern but with the timeline being what it is, we will be focusing on just the Huskies this season, starting today with the goalie position. Following the departure of graduate transfer Craig Pantano, the Huskies have a sizable hole in net to continue the successful legacies of Pantano, Primeau, and Ruck.
The Returnees: Curtis Frye (Redshirt senior), Connor Murphy (sophomore), Nick Scarpa (junior)
– Frye and Murphy both made their collegiate debuts last season. Frye has played two games in three seasons with the program, totaling just over 9 minutes of ice time. Murphy also played two games last season, totaling over 42 minutes of ice time. Scarpa has not appeared in NCAA game action.
The Newcomer: Devon Levi (Carleton Place, Central Canadian Hockey League)
– The player most fans expect to seize the reins of the goaltending position, Levi comes to Huntington Avenue as arguably the most-hyped goalie prospect since Brad Thiessen (yes, even moreso than Primeau). Selected in the 7th round of the 2020 NHL Draft by Florida, Levi took home numerous awards for Canadian Junior Hockey, including: CJHL Goaltender of the Year; CJHL Player of the Year; CJHL Most Valuable Player; CJHL Top Rookie; CCHL MVP and Goaltender of the Year; and CCHL All-First Team. He also partook in the 2020 CJHL Top Prospects Game; the 2019 CCHL All-Star Game; and played for Team Canada East at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge Tournament, where he took home the MVP honors with his silver medal. Statistically, he had a .941 save percentage and 1.47 goals-against-average for Carleton Place, as well as eight shutouts in 37 games.
– Levi was also invited to the 2020 World Junior Championships Team Canada tryout camp, which takes place over four weeks. A great honor for any goaltender, particularly one who is playing collegiate hockey, the camp does run until mid-December, meaning Huskies fans will have to wait just a little longer to see Levi suit up for the Hounds.
The Verdict– Once he gets back from Team Canada, should he not be chosen for the roster, the starting goalie position should be Devon Levi’s until he signs a professional contract, hopefully after four very successful years for Northeastern. Levi’s statistical success, coupled with the individual accolades, indicates a player ready for the next challenge and who has done nothing but succeed at each individual stop along his hockey career.
With Levi gone for another few weeks, a rotation between Frye and Murphy is reasonable to expect, with both goaltenders being listed as the #2 goalie on the depth chart at times last year. I would expect Murphy to get the first crack at starting, whenever that is for Northeastern, and for both players to get a chance to show what they can do ahead of Levi’s eventual return.
Like the last handful of seasons, once the roster is at full capacity, we expect goaltending to once again be a strength for the Northeastern Huskies. Next up in our preview, we look at the defensemen.