Tag Archives: Ben Oskroba

Willett Selected by Lincoln in the USHL Futures Draft.

May 1, 2012

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Northeastern recruit Daniel Willett was selected by the Lincoln Stars in the second round of the 2012 USHL Futures Draft tonight.  He was the 17th overall pick.

Willett, a ’96, is a defenseman from Bayville, NY.  He committed to Northeastern back in September 2011.  He spent last year with the New Jersey Rockets playing for their MJHL team (23 games).   He was called up to their AJHL team for 3 games.  He was recently picked by the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL Draft last month after a good performance in the OHL Cup.

Willett is expected to come to Northeastern in the fall of 2014, but if he chooses to sign for Plymouth, he would be ineligible to play NCAA hockey.  Being picked in the Futures Draft means that Willett will be on the Stars’ Affiliate List for next season.

Northeastern recruit Dylan McLaughlin was selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the first round last year, and he appeared in 48 out of 60 games for them.  That kind of playing time is far from a guarantee, though.   Northeastern recruit Garett Cockerill was the second overall pick in the 2010 Futures Draft, but he played in just 2 games for the Muskegeon Lumberjacks in the 2010/2011 season.  He was traded to Des Moines in February 2011, but did not play a single USHL game for either team in the 2011/2012 season.  He did however play 2 games with the U-17 USNDTP.

The Lincoln Stars are no strangers to Northeastern.   Colton Saucerman will come to Northeastern next season from Lincoln.  Current Huskies Garrett Vermeersch and Ben Oskroba also played for Lincoln before coming to NU, as did Jake Newton who played 1 season with NU before signing with Anaheim.  Zach Aston-Reese, a 2013 Northeastern recruit, also plays for the Lincoln Stars.

Being picked in the Futures Draft is a good sign, but it will be up to Willett to work himself into the lineup. Still, it is a positive sign for Northeastern as it may help keep him from the OHL and help retain his NCAA eligibility.

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Luke Eibler to Leave Northeastern

April 24, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The hits just keep on coming for Northeastern with the news that rising Junior Luke Eibler will not be returning to the team next season.  The news, which was first reported by Kristin Kim on Twitter, was confirmed to Husky Hockey Blog by a team source earlier today.   Eibler is 8th Husky to leave the program this summer.

Eibler, a Michigan native, came to Northeastern after a year in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms.  In his first year at NU, Eibler found himself paired with another freshman, Anthony Bitetto.   The two of them combined to put together a pretty impressive campaign.  Bitetto was the one who got the Hockey East accolades, but Eibler was a solid defenseman in his own right.  He managed 3 goals and 10 assists, but more importantly, he finished 2nd on the team with a +12 rating.

Eibler returned to NU for his sophomore season despite interest from the NHL, namely Washington.    During this past season, circumstances forced the coaching staff to break up the Bitetto/Eibler pairing.   The change did not slow down Eibler.    He had just 1 goal and 7 assists, but his +10 rating was again second best on the team. Down the stretch, it became clear that Eibler was the best defensive option on the team.  Losing Bitetto earlier this summer was unfortunate.  Losing Eibler is a catastrophe.   Northeastern has been hit with many losses this summer, but with the exception of Steve Quailer, none of those losses were extremely detrimental to the team.   This one is.   Eibler has been underrated in his time here and over the past 2 years has really developed into a solid defenseman.  The defense is now a gigantic question mark at best.

The Huskies have just 5 defenseman on their roster now, plus 4 recruits coming in.   Senior Drew Ellement is really the only sure thing.   Sophomore Josh Manson really came on in the second half of last season.  He should also be in the lineup every night.  After that the Huskies have  Junior Jake Hoeffler (4 career GPs), Sophomore Ben Oskroba (9 career GPs) and Sophomore Dan Cornell, who walked on to the team and played very well in the first half, but struggled towards the end of the season.  As far as recruits go, Mike Gunn should step right into the lineup.  After that, its anyone’s guess.   Former Lowell commit Colton Saucerman has missed most of this season with a torn ACL.  Then there are two kids coming from Canadian leagues that don’t typical put many kids in Hockey East.  Jarrett Fennell comes from the OJHL and Dustin Darou, who was once committed to Michigan, comes from the CCHL.   One thing all 4 of these recruits have in common is age. Darou and Fennell are both ’91s.  Gunn and Saucerman are ’92s.  All 4 will come with every chance of working their way into what has become a wide-open lineup.  Freshman defenseman generally struggle in Hockey East, but Madigan is hoping that he can buck that trend by bringing in some older guys.

One thing is for sure.  Its been a rough summer for Northeastern and we are only in April.  Next season can’t come soon enough.

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Madigan Throwing Darts at Canada, Adds Another Defenseman for 2012

March 8, 2012

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Jim Madigan and his staff are at it again.  For the 3rd time in 4 weeks, Northeastern has picked up a commitment from Canada.  First it was forward Mike McMurtry, a ’92, from the CCHL.  Last week, it was defenseman Dustin Darou, a ’91, also from the CCHL.  The latest pick up is another defenseman, Jarrett Fennell, a ’91, from the OJHL.

The big news from this is that the Huskies now have 4 defenseman slated to come in next season, joining the 6 defenseman that are returning (as of now).   While it hasn’t been officially announced, it is all but certain that Anthony Bitetto is leaving.  His not so cryptic tweet basically confirmed that.   Luke Eibler could leave, but there has been absolutely no talk of that so far.  The others should be back, unless they decided to transfer.

So it looks like NU will have 10 defenseman heading into next season:

  1. Luke Eibler, Jr.
  2. Drew Ellement, Sr.
  3. Drew Daniels, Sr.
  4. Josh Manson, So.
  5. Dan Cornell, So.
  6. Ben Oskroba, So.
  7. Mike Gunn, Fr.
  8. Colton Saucerman, Fr.
  9. Dustin Darou, Fr.
  10. Jarrett Fennell, Fr.

So what is Madigan doing?  It seems to me like he is just throwing darts and hoping one or two guys work out, kind of like Dan Cornell this year.  Or there is the scary possibility that Luke Eibler is leaving with Bitetto and NU is in need of bodies.   That would be very bad.  But there may be more to this.

Saucerman suffered an ACL injury around Christmas.  The fact that Madigan has picked up two defenseman since then makes it seem like Saucerman will not be ready for this season.

There is also the possibility that one of these guys moves to forward to even out the numbers.  The two candidates for that are Josh Manson and Drew Daniels.  Daniels, like his brother, originally came to Northeastern as a forward.   He played one game there this year when injuries left the Huskies with a shorthanded lineup.

Here’s the deal with Daniels: there is a reason he was moved to defense.  He put up 8 points as a forward freshman year.  He put up 9 in his sophomore season splitting time between forward and defense.  He had 7 this season playing only defense.  Basically, he is useless as a forward.  And he isn’t really the guy you are looking for as a 4th liner.   And the biggest thing with Daniels is that he has done really well since moving to defense.  Moving him back would weaken the D and not really improve the forwards.

Manson played forward a bit in Juniors, but like Daniels, he really took off when he moved to defense.  He got off to a rocky start in his freshman season, but besides the Beanpot game, he played much better in the second half of the season.  I think if he stays on defense, he will be much better next season.   But, he did show flashes of offensive talent once he got more confident towards the end of the year.

So this situation is definitely one to watch.  There is still the possibility that somebody else leaves.  But as it stands, there is going to be a logjam to get into the lineup.   As a whole, this defense doesn’t look that great.  Eibler is great.   Him and Bitetto formed a great partnership in there freshman season.   When they split up this season, things went in different directions for the two.  Bitetto was a mess and Eibler was the best defenseman on the team.   The Huskies need him next season.  Ellement and Daniels are solid defenseman.   Then its a huge question mark.   You have 3 sophomores, none very proven.   Oskroba got almost no time this season.  Cornell did, but seemed to fall off towards the end.  Manson is probably the only one you can pencil in the lineup for next season.   Then you have 4 freshman.   Freshman defenseman usually have a rough go of it in Hockey East.  If 1 or 2 can step up, that’d be great, but thats not something you want to be relying on.   Its a long way off, but defense may be a problem area for Northeastern next season.   But ideally, this would be the defensive pairings:

Eibler-Gunn

Ellement-Manson

Daniels-Cornell

Oskroba, Darou, Fennell

 

If Eibler leaves, disregard all of this and begin panicking.

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Final: BC 2, Huskies 1

November 12, 2011

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The Huskies lost in heartbreaking fashion to BC yet again.  Tommy Cross scored with 2 seconds left to give BC the 2-1 win.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Cody Ferriero picked up his first goal of the season against the team he was originally supposed to play for.
  • Garett Vermeersch and Alex Tuckerman picked up assists.
  • Chris Rawlings had 34 saves and had a really good game.
  • The Huskies were outshot, as they have been every game this season, 36-18
  • NU was 0-4 on the PP, mustering just 2 shots.  BC was 1-5 with 9 shots, including the game winning goal.
What You Need to Know
  • The Huskies jumped out to an early lead but were unable to hold it.
  • It wasn’t the prettiest goal, but it was great to see Ferriero get it.  Hopefully this goal can get him going and kickstart what has been a disappointing career so far considering the expectations we had for him.
  • At the beginning on the 2nd period, BC was on the PP.  Rawlings fell down and he was off to the side of the net and he couldn’t get back up.  BC somehow did not notice and kept playing tic tac toe with their passes.
  • Other than that, Rawlings was huge.  The score could have easily been 6-1 if it werent for a combination of Rawlings making some big plays and BC missing some easy chances.
  • Ben Oskroba returned to the lineup for the first time since opening weekend.  He was pretty solid.  The defense has a whole was able to shut down a lot of BC breaks.
  • Steve Quailer was used on the PK tonight and he looked pretty good.  His long reach came in handy on multiple occasions.
  • Luke Eibler picked up a penalty with 1 minute left and you knew it was over.
Lines:
Saponari-Daniels-Quailer
Ferriero-Pimm-Karlsson
Dongara-McLaughlin-Manno
Vrolyk-Vermeersch-Tuckerman
D:
Eibler-Oskroba
Bitetto-Cornell
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
Typical Northeastern.  Get an early lead.   Play just well enough to keep it for a bit, before eventually letting the other team tie.  Create good chances, but don’t finish any of them.   Completely waste every power play chance you get.   Take some dumb penalties.  Somehow keep the game tied by getting big saves from your goalie (who has seen about 40 shots) some nice individual efforts, and some inexplicable misses from the other team.   Then in the most heartbreaking and devastating way you can think of, lose the game.
Even if you werent there last night, you’ve seen this loss.  You’ve seen it so many times.  There isn’t much else to say.  Its so sad that its almost funny.  You knew it was coming the whole 3rd period.   The Huskies played well, just not well enough to win.  There were plenty of good things, but in the end mistakes and continued failure on the Power Play cost them.
But today is a new day and they will get the chance to redeem themselves.  Lets hope they do.
PS- the BC students were a very late arriving crowd and their chants were a mess (due to having fans in 3 different locations), but they did have a great turnout.  I have been to a lot of game at Conte, both as an NU student and as a little kid, and I cant remember ever seeing it that full or loud for a game that wasn’t BU.  I have to say I am impressed.   Also their video board is awesome.  Being able to actually see whats going on when they show replays is cool.
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Preview: Huskies at BC

November 11, 2011

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Tonight at 7pm, the Huskies will take on the Boston College Eagles at Conte Forum.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

 

Just two weeks ago, Northeastern blew a 2 goal lead at home against BC before losing in OT on a Bill Arnold goal.  That game just another tough loss to BC for a Huskies team that has become accustomed to that over the recent years.  Here are the recent results against the Eagles.

L 5-4 (HE Semis), W 2-1, T 7-7, L 7-6 OT (Beanpot Final), L 2-0 (Empty Netter)

So the Huskies can skate with the Eagles, but beating them hasn’t been as easy.  Last time at Conte, they skated to a 7-7 tie in what was an absolute crazy game.   Getting into a shootout probably isn’t the best plan of attack against BC though.   Tonight the Huskies will be hoping to shut them down offensively.  That task will be incredibly difficult as NU will be without Anthony Bitetto.  Ben Oskroba, a freshman who has played just 2 games this season will take his place.

As always the key for NU is stealing this game by getting good goaltending and converting the few chances they get (READ: SCORE ON THE POWER PLAY!)   Merrimack gave NU every chance they could to win the game, and the Huskies failed to capitalize and were punished.   They can expect the same to happen tonight if they don’t take advantage of PP opportunities and defensive mistakes.

Gone are the days where NU was a trap game for BC.  This has turned into quite a game.   BC went nuts when they pulled out the win at Matthews in OT.  While some view that as disrespect, I view that as BC recognizing wins against NU don’t come easy and they are a big deal.  So while they do have a bigger game against BU to look forward to on Sunday, they are coming off a loss to UMass and they have the best coach in Hockey East, Jerry York.  There is no way BC doesn’t show up for this game.    If NU wants to win, its going to take their A+ game.  Is tonight the night they final pull out a win?  We’ll see.

Lines (Same as Last Weekend)

Saponari-Daniels-Quailer

Manno-McLaughlin-Dongara

Ferriero-Pimm-Karlsson

Reid-Vermeersch-Tuckerman

Defense:

Ellement-Daniels

Eibler-Manson

Cornell-Oskroba

Rawlings

Hope to see you all there.

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Preview: Huskies at Merrimack

November 3, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The good news is that this will be last trip to North Andover for the season. Nothing against Merrimack, but I can’t say I’m too excited to go back to a shitty town with no streetlights or a high school rink with no cellphone reception. Its just not an enjoyable trip, I’m sorry. But after tonight, the Huskies won’t return there until next season when they will only have 1 game there. That about covers it for the good news.

Now for the bad news. Merrimack is 6-0, they don’t lose very often at home, and they shut Northeastern down completely just two weeks ago. And Northeastern needs points this week.
A typical Northeastern series would look like this: lifeless road loss on Friday, completely different team at home Saturday that is full of energy, but is punished for a mistake and comes up short in a game that was there for the taking. They need to do better than that. Losing away at Merrimack is forgivable. Looking like shit while doing it is not.
Here is all I am asking of the Huskies on Friday:
1. Be physical: Its a small rink, there isn’t tons of room to operate. Everyone (forwards included) has to pick up the hitting. Make your presence known and get some energy going on the bench.

2. Make the Power Play count: at the very least, create some chances on the PP and make Cannata come up big. 2 things that kill me about the power play: they can barely get through the neutral zone and when they do shot, its usually from the point right into the defender standing right in front of them

3. Do something about the shots: I don’t care if its blocking 500 shots again or its just not allowing Merrimack to have all the chances they want from the slot. Doesn’t matter. Just find a way to not give up 30+ shots…in the first 2 periods
4. Do something about the shots: Shoot the puck. Even in their lone win, they scored 4 goals on 21 shots. If you are going to give up a ton of shots, you can at least take some on the other end. No one cares about your shooting percentage. Its about goals.

5. Do something: I am sick of going to away games and watching this team sleep through periods at a time. Come out with some energy and maybe things with go their way.

Doing these things won’t automatically lead to a win, but they can’t hurt. And it would make the experience a lot more tolerable.

Lineup

Rawlings should get the start in net.

A shake up of the defense wouldn’t be crazy, but I don’t think its likely.  Dan Cornell has played well enough to lock down that last spot for now, so Ben Oskroba stays in the stands.

The fun part for Madigan, as usual, is the forwards.  With Cody Ferriero back that means 2 guys are going to be scratched every night.  There are 5 choices: Rob Dongara, Robbie Vrolyk, Alex Tuckerman, Zak Stone, Garrett Vermeersch.

Vrolyk and Vermeersch have roles on the special teams which seems to be whats keeping them in the lineup.  Stone and Tuckerman were the casualties last game.  Its hard to justify playing both Dong and Vrolyk.  They are bring pretty much the same thing: speed.   Vrolyk was non-existent last time out at Merrimack.  I’d let Dong play as he brings a little more of a physical edge to his game, especially after just working his way back into the lineup.   Vermeersch hasn’t lived up to expectations, but I can’t justify sitting him yet.  Its not far away though.  I would play Stone over Tuckerman at this point.  Stone just looks hungrier out there.  And thats the attitude this team needs on the road.  Here is what I would go with:

Saponari-Daniels-Qualier

Manno-McLaughlin-Karlsson

Ferriero-Pimm-Dongara

Reid-Stone-Vermeersch

Note: we have a few spots in our car for anyone who wants to make the trip but doesn’t have a ride.

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Huskies Add Another Defenseman For Next Season

November 1, 2011

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Colton Saucerman, a defenseman from Colorado Springs, has committed to play for the Huskies next season.  Saucerman was previously committed to Lowell for this season, but decided not to go after the coachingchange.  He didn’t “feel like he meshed with the new staff”.   So instead, he is spending a year in the USHL with Lincoln, where he plays with another Husky commit, Zach Aston-Reese.  He also plays with Mike McKee, the defenseman who recently decommitted.

In 68 career games in the USHL, he has a line of 3-6-9 and he is a -15.   He spent most of last season in the NAHL where he was a -13, but he did have 34 points in 39 games.

This should just about wrap up the Huskies recruiting for next season.   It doesn’t look like Ryan Renz will be coming.  This also shows that Madigan is not happy with the defense.   Drew Ellement and Drew Daniels will be seniors.  Anthony Bitetto (if he comes back) and Luke Eibler will be Juniors.  Josh Manson, Ben Oskroba, and Dan Cornell will all be Sophomores.  Jake Hoeffler will be a Junior, but he is unlikely to ever see the ice.

So if everyone comes back thats 7, not counting Hoeffler.   Mike Gunn and Saucerman will make that 9.  So Madigan appears to be preparing for a possible early departure by either Bitetto and Eibler.   Bitetto was drafted by the Predators.  Eibler was undrafted but did draw some NHL interest last off-season, especially from the Capitals.  If they don’t go, it could be a logjam back there.   But the performances  so far have been anything but reassuring, so kudos to Madigan for acting quick and making sure everyone knows their spot isn’t guaranteed.  A little competition is good for everyone.

To keep up with Saucerman’s progress this season, as well as all the other incoming recruits, go to our Future of NU page.

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