Senior Night

Photo Credit: AP/Charles Krupa

In a testament to the winningest class in Northeastern Hockey history, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the impact the NU Class of 2018 has had on the progression of the hockey program. This May, five men will graduate Northeastern having brought unparalleled success to the ice- the first Beanpot victory since 1988; the first Hockey East Championship since 1988; the first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009; and the most wins out of any class in Northeastern’s history.

Their successes are well documented in print, in photographs, and in the memories of the fans who have watched them, the coaches who have developed them, and the teammates who have fought by their sides. I have had the privilege of knowing some of them off the ice as well, I wanted to highlight each member of the class and say a few words about each one of them as hockey players, as leaders, and as people.

#1 Jake Theut, Goaltender- Even with only four career games to his name, and hopefully a fifth tonight, Jake Theut has endeared himself to the NU hockey family with his work ethic and his attitude. Jake has primarily been the third-string goaltender, with some stints as the primary backup to Ryan Ruck and Cayden Primeau over four years. His crowning achievement was a 0-0 shutout of #9 Notre Dame in 2016 in his only collegiate start- a 2 period shutout due to a zamboni malfunction causing the third period to be cancelled. That tie helped prevent Notre Dame from outright winning the conference regular season title, and for that, college hockey as a whole thanks Jake. I had many conversations with Jake my senior year at NU, and he was always upbeat and optimistic. He is going to thrive in wherever life takes him. Thank you, Jake.

#2, Trevor Owens, Defenseman- Coming from the unheralded USPHL, Trevor has been a steady hand on the blue line for Northeastern in four years. With over 100 games played, he has etched out a niche as a steady defensive defenseman, a calming presence who never panics in his own zone. He has 15 career points to date, but none greater than the game-winning goal sniped over Jake Oettinger’s shoulder to give Northeastern a 3-1 lead in the Beanpot they would never relinquish. The North Carolina native certainly has a future in professional hockey because teams will always be on the lookout for quality defensemen. Trevor has been a lead-by-example player since he stepped onto campus, and has saved his best hockey for his last hurrah in the red and black. Thank you, Trevor.

#9, Dylan Sikura, Forward- Little more needs to be said in the saga of Dylan Sikura. A highly regarded Blackhawks draft pick entering his freshman year, called an “offensive dynamo” by some, Sikura only tallied 7 points in his first season, while being a healthy scratch multiple times during the year. Undeterred, he continued to improve each season, jumping to 28 points as a sophomore before exploding with 57 points as a junior, earning him a nomination for the Hobey Baker Award. Currently  on pace for 45 points this season, he should be in the Hobey Top Ten at a minimum next month. Sikura has developed into one of the most exciting and gifted players in college hockey, possibly the most exciting if it weren’t for his linemate Adam Gaudette. He is the perfect example of why college hockey is a viable method to develop for the NHL- more time spent practicing, honing skills, putting time in the weight room, and steadily getting better each season. At this point in his career, Sikura is must-see hockey, with the possibility of a highlight-reel goal or a jaw-dropping deke occurring every time he touches the puck. Off the ice, he is one of the funniest guys I have ever met. Blackhawks fans have been salivating at the prospects of getting Sikura into their lineup to lead their rebuild, and I firmly believe he will have a successful NHL career as a highly productive scorer. Thank you, Dylan

#21, Nolan Stevens, Forward- The Captain, brother of another captain, son of an NHL coach- Nolan Stevens has continued a legacy of hockey excellence that flows deep in his veins. Coming from the US National Development Program, Nolan is another example of incredible growth while at Northeastern University. After a middling 12 point freshman season, Nolan exploded with 20 goals as a sophomore, leading the charge towards the Hockey East title and the NCAA Tournament. In fact, his goal against North Dakota was the only time the Fighting Hawks were losing in that tournament. Injuries as a junior prevented what likely would have been a third 20-goal season for Noles, who has carved his initials into his in front of the opposing goalie’s crease. A net-front menace, he is one of the most adept players I have ever seen at keeping the puck on his stick. It is actually impossible to poke the puck away from him, and his patented shoulder check along the boards to secure the puck has been emulated by multiple Huskies teammates. A confident, quiet leader both on and off the ice, Nolan Stevens will go down as one of the greatest captains in Northeastern history. Thank you, Nolan.

#29, Garrett Cecere, Defenseman- Possibly the most unsung player Northeastern has produced in the last few years, Garrett transferred in after spending his first two seasons at Colorado College and has been the steadiest hand the Northeastern blue line has seen since Josh Manson roamed the ice. Standing well under six feet tall, Garrett will not intimidate opponents with his size, but he will neutralize any offensive threat with excellent positioning, stick work, and hockey smarts. His promotion up to the top pairing of the defensive corps this season has been well-deserved, and he was named assistant captain this year as well. He will be sorely missed next season. Thank you, Garrett.

Without getting too sappy, the thanks for these men cannot be stated enough. Thank you for trusting Coach Madigan to develop you further and for coming to Northeastern. Thank you for putting in hours, days, weeks, and years of hard work, effort, and sacrifice to reach this point. Thank you for giving us as fans reason to believe that the droughts would end, that trophies would be raised, and that the mountains can be climbed. Lastly, thank you for representing this university the way that you have week-in and week-out. You gentlemen are a one-of-a-kind class, and you have made myself and others immensely proud to be Huskies fans. Whether the NHL calls you next or not, you all will succeed wherever you lives will take you.

As always, go Huskies.