On Friday night, two of college hockey’s top teams collided at Magness Arena in Denver Colorado as the No. 2 Boston University Terriers took on the No. 10 Denver University Pioneers.
From the start of the season, this non-conference homecoming game was anticipated by many to be a high profile tilt featuring several of the NHL’s top prospects. There were a total of five first round draft picks on the ice between the Terriers and Pioneers including:
Clayton Keller (Boston University) – Phoenix Coyotes 1st rd. Pick 7 in 2016
Charlie McAvoy (Boston University) – Boston Bruins 1st Rd. Pick 14 in 2016
Dante Fabbro (Boston University) – Nashville Predators 1st Rd. Pick 16 in 2016
Kieffer Belllows (Boston University) – New York Islanders 1st Rd. Pick 19 in 2016
Henrik Borgstrom (Denver University) – Florida Panthers 1st Rd. Pick 23 in 2016
As expected, there were NHL team personnel in attendance Friday night, most notably Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka.
The Avalanche drafted Denver’s captain Will Butcher in the 5th round of the 2013 NHL Draft . Butcher has tallied power play points in the last two games and brings reliability and senior leadership to the Pioneers.
Chakya had to travel a little further than Sakic to scout his 2016 1st round pick Clayton Keller but Keller made his visit worth while. Ten minutes into the 3rd period with the Terriers on the penalty kill down 4-2, Keller stole the puck at center ice and beat the Pioneers goaltender five hole on a brilliant short-handed goal.
Soon, Keller will join fellow Coyotes top prospects Jakob Chychrun and Dylan Strome in the NHL if he keeps performing at the collegiate level.
Blackhawks Prospects: Blake Hillman (DU) & Chad Krys (BU)
Both Hillman and Krys had quiet games for their teams Friday night. Hillman had 2 shots on goal and had an even +/- while Krys had 0 shots on goal and was a -2. Krys did seem to communicate well with his teammates and showed flashes of smart defensive plays in his own zone.
Biggest Disappointment: Henrik Borgstrom (DU)
The Florida Panthers power forward may have had the best vision and hands on the ice tonight, but he has failed to produce for the Pioneers. Borgstrom at times will show smooth stick handling and skating ability through the neutral zone but has yet to light the lamp this year. The young Finnish forward is itching to get on the board and once he does, watch out.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Greenway (BU)
Standing in at 6’5″ 230lbs, sophomore Jordan Greenway is a force to be reckoned with. Minnesota Wild’s 2nd round pick in 2015 was all over the ice tonight making big hits and forcing the Pioneers to keep their heads up at all times. He even scored the second goal of the game on a stuff attempt in front of the net. His energy and physicality was the driving force for the Terriers in the second half of the game which is a dangerous trait for a prospect in a division rival’s farm system.
The Denver University Pioneers defeated the Boston University Terriers 4-3 in a hard fought, close checking game. These teams will play again Saturday night at the Magness Arena in Denver Colorado giving the Blackhawks’ prospects another shot at contributing for their teams.