After nearly a week off for the All-Star break, the Boston Bruins will continue their 2021-22 regular season this week. While the Black and Gold were resting for the remaining 39 games, some of their prospects in college have been busy with the college season kicking into high gear in early February.
This season, some of the Bruins prospects in college are having good seasons with their team, while two are gearing up for the return of an annual tournament to be held at the TD Garden beginning Monday night (Feb. 7). With that said, it’s time for another Bruins Prospects Report for The Hockey Writers.
Olson Producing at Minnesota-Duluth
As a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Quinn Olson had seven goals and eight assists in 2019-20, but after a sophomore season that featured anything but a normal season because of COVID-19, the junior forward is having a strong third season for the Bulldogs.
Olson, selected 92nd overall in the third round of the 2019 Entry Draft, is third on the team with 18 points on five goals and 13 assists. In his last six games, he has two goals and three assists, helping the Bulldogs (14-10-1) go 3-2-1. He had goals against Miami (Ohio) and Omaha. He leads the team with 76 shots in 25 games this season.
A flashy forward with a strong shot, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Olson is making big strides in his game as he heads towards a key offseason ahead of his final college season.
Two Prospects Getting Ready for the Beanpot
After a one-year hiatus because of COVID-19, the annual Beanpot Tournament will return to the TD Garden for the first two Mondays in February. The four-team tournament features Northeastern, Boston University, Boston College, and Harvard. This season, two Bruins prospects will take the ice in front of Bruins management.
Trevor Kuntar, who the Bruins selected 89th overall in 2020, is having a strong sophomore season for Boston College with seven goals and 10 assists, including a goal in Friday night’s 3-2 loss to UMass-Lowell. Kuntar leads the Eagles, who are struggling at 10-13-4 under legendary coach Jerry York, with 80 shots on the net. The Eagles will play Northeastern in the second game at 8 p.m. Monday night.
In the opener, Boston University will kick off the tournament against Harvard at 5 p.m. BU freshman defensemen Ty Gallagher, a seventh-round pick by general manager Don Sweeney in 2021, has four goals and nine assists in 26 games for the 14-10-3 Terriers. The two winners will meet in the championship game at 8 p.m. on Feb. 14, with the losers playing in the consolation game that night a 5 p.m.
Lohrei Continues Strong Freshman Season
One of the Bruins’ top prospects in college, freshman defensemen Mason Lohrei is continuing to impress on a nightly basis at Ohio State. Lohrei has a six-game point streak, including three assists in a 4-3 overtime win over the Wisconsin Badgers Friday night and it was the third three-assist game of the season, with the first coming Jan. 1 against Long Island University. Saturday night, he had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 victory over the Badgers for a weekend sweep.
Lohrei has a team-high 25 assists, which is good enough to lead all NCAA freshman defensemen, and 29 points. He is second on the team in points, two behind Georgii Merkulov, who has 18 goals and 13 assists as a forward. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-shot had 69 assists with the Green Bay Gamblers in the UHSL prior to Ohio St. over three seasons. The Buckeyes are 21-7-2 and could be a tough team to play against in the NCAA tournament in March, with Lohrei leading the way on the blueline.
Becker Having Career Season at Arizona St.
Jack Becker spent the previous fours seasons at the University of Michigan, before transferring to Arizona State for his extra year of eligibility. In four seasons with the Wolverines, he had 26 goals and 25 assists, but the right-shot center is enjoying his only season with the Sun Devils.
In 31 games this season, Becker has seven goals and 16 assists for a career-high 23 points. In his last seven games, he has one goal and five assists for the 15-16 Sun Devils. Selected 195th in the seventh round in the infamous 2015 draft, the 24-year-old will have some decisions to make with the Bruins following the season.
Beecher Pitching in at Michigan
One of the Bruins’ more experienced college prospects, John Beecher missed the beginning of his junior season with the University of Michigan because of an injury, but he has four goals and eight points in 21 games this season.
Beecher, selected 30th overall in the first round in 2019, is one of the highly-touted prospects as a center. As a freshman in 2019-20, he had nine goals and seven assists, but he missed significant time his sophomore season with an injury that limited him to four goals and four assists in 16 games (from ‘Johnny Beecher to miss remainder of season with injury’ The Michigan Daily, 2/28/21). Finally healthy, he will be a big piece of the Wolverines going forward as they are one of the favorites to win the NCAA championship in the upcoming tournament next month with a loaded roster of prospects from the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils to just name a few. Michigan was off this past weekend and will host in-state rival Michigan State on Feb. 11-12.
All of these prospects have visions of playing in the NCAA tournament in March and who knows, some may get matched up against each other should they get there. There are going to be some decisions that Sweeney needs to make this upcoming offseason regarding some of these young players.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.