Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Skilled blueliner Fortunato commits to BU

The Terriers’ 2014 recruit class grew a bit larger and significantly more talented as left-shot NTDP U18 defenseman Brandon Fortunato gave a verbal to BU today.  The 5-9 blueliner from North Hills, N.Y., had recently decommitted from Harvard and reopened his recruitment. CHN’s Mike McMahon reports Fortunato made his final choice between BU and Union College, with other leading Hockey East school also involved.  He joins U18 teammates Jack Eichel and Johnathan MacLeod as incoming Terriers.

When Fortunato committed to Harvard in 2012, USHR's Chris Warner called him a "quick, highly-skilled, puck-moving D with vision and the stick to match – i.e. someone who can QB a powerplay. In addition, given his size, he’s likely to stay at school for the full four years. A 6/7/96 birthdate, Fortunato is one of the top college prospects in his birth year.”

Fortunato, who quarterbacked the U18s power play, was the team’s top scoring defenseman with 39 points (3G, 36 points) including five assists at the World U18 championships where Team USA won the gold medal.  Previewing Team USA prior the tournament, Chris Peters of United States of Hockey wrote:

Brandon Fortunato – North Hills, N.Y. — A dynamic offensive-minded defenseman, Fortunato has top-end puck skills and creativity. At 5-9, 144, he’s probably not the ideal size for a defenseman and was left unranked by Central Scouting, but what he does with the puck makes him extremely effective and could even get him drafted anyway. With 32 points including 29 assists, he was the U18′s top scoring defenseman this season. Fortunato is a good skater and has really sound on-ice vision. He is excellent at creating time and space for himself, which leads to Fortunato making a lot of nice plays with the puck. The defenseman reportedly decommitted from Harvard and is currently being pursued by several top college programs. His skills are definitely worth watching. NHL CSS Ranking: N/A

In his first year in Ann Arbor he tallied 21 points—all assists—for the U17s. Before joining the NTDP program in Ann Arbor, he played for The Portledge School on Long Island (10-20-30 in 17 games) and the Long Island Royals—coached by NHL Hall of Famer Pat Lafontaine—
who won the 2012 Tier I 16U national championship (3-11-14 in 22 games).

The Royals’ championship season was the subject of an episodic documentary that aired on NHL Network and on nhl.com. Two episodes featured Fortunato and his father.

Following a strong performance in the 2012, Select 16 Development camp he was named to the US U17 Selects for the 2012 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic, where he helped win a gold medal.

● Boston Hockey Blog report
● SB Nation report
● Elite Prospects card
● Hockeysfuture video interview with Fortunato at World U18s

Hockey East has finalized plans for an expanded post-season tournament. With the addition of Connecticut, the conference numbers 12 teams and all of them will participate in the championship tournament.  A best of three opening round will match seeds #5 through #12, followed by a best-of-three quarterfinal round in which the opening round winners will be hosted by the seeds #1 through #4. Single-game semifinals and championship game follow a week later.
● Hockey East announcement.

►The Terriers 2014-15 schedule is not yet completed, but you can check this Website that shows confirmed games for each of the Division 1 college teams.

Looking ahead
2015 recruit Shane Starrett was named to the all-tourney team at last weekend’s ProAm Hockey PreDraft Showcase. The 6-5 netminder from Bellingham, Mass., backboned Team EPS to the championship game. Playing three playoff games on Sunday, Starrett yielded just one goal in the quarterfinal and semifinal games, before EPS lost 3-2 to Canada West Red in the title game.  In three preliminary round games, Starrett, who previously played for Catholic Memorial, Selects Academy and the Portland Jr. Pirates, recorded a 1.38 GAA. Starrett reportedly is deciding whether to play for the South Shore Kings (USPHL Premier) or in the BCHL next season.

2014 recruit Liam Coughlin scored a power play goal and added an assist for Vernon in a 6-4 win over the Yorkton Terriers in the RBC Cup, which is Canada’s Junior A Championship tournament. Coughlin was named player of the game for Vernon, which evened its record at 1-1 in the five-team tournament hosted by the Vipers. Coughlin, a 6-3 left wing from South Boston, who previously was Starrett's teammate at Catholic Memorial, had an 18-27-45 scoring line in 53 regular season games for the Vipers and added 13 points in the BCHL playoffs.

Looking back
Nick Bonino’s fourth post-season goal gave Anaheim an early lead as the Ducks edged the Kings, 4-3, to take a three games to two lead in their playoff series. The former Terrier captain rifled home a wrist shot from the bottom of the circle to the goalie’s left just 2:15 into the first period.

Earlier this week, the versatile Bonino took on another role, interviewing teammate Cam Fowler for ESPN.

Ken Rausch, USA Hockey’s Manager of Youth Hockey, was interviewed for Liberty Mutual’s “Responsible Sports” series, discussing sportsmanship. Rausch, a member of BU’s 1995 national championship team and a four-year member of the Hockey East All-Academic Team, began his coaching career at BU with stops at Niagara and Lowell before joining the USA Hockey staff in 2009.  He scored 53 points as a Terrier, including the overtime game-winner against Minnesota in the Mariucci Classic on Dec. 31, 1994. (video)

Former BU MVP and All-American John Curry, who began the season in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears, is getting his first taste of Stanley Cup hockey, even if it is from the Minnesota Wild bench, backing up Ilya Bryzgalov. He discussed the experience with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. On May 31, Curry will be inducted into the BU Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Wheeling Nailers, coached by former BU standout Clark Donatelli, had their season end in the ECHL Eastern Conference semifinals. Sahir Gill, who led the Nailers in regular-season scoring with a 13-41-54 line, was co-leader in the playoffs with nine points.

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