In the third of our Friendship Four previews, here we take a look at the favourites, the Boston University Terriers...
A tough start to the season as they adapted to new head coach Albie O'Connell's system saw the Terriers struggle a bit as failed to win any of their opening four games. But they snapped that unwanted streak by getting a tie out of #13/14 Northeastern before then beating them on home ice to signal their return to form. That was followed by wins over New Hampshire (in overtime) and Maine, however they come into this week off the back of a home loss to Maine.
When David Quinn was picked up by the New York Rangers in the summer, BU didn't look far for their replacement by promoting associate head coach O'Connell to the head coach role. The Massachusetts man should be keenly aware of the UK given he spent two years as a player with the Basingstoke Bison and Cardiff Devils before retiring in 2002, and he's said this week that he's delighted to be back. This is O'Connell's first head coach gig having served 14 years as an NCAA assistant or associate head coach at Niagara, College of the Holy Cross, Merrimack and Northeastern, as well as his time with Boston University, and now he's eager to take the Terriers to success.
Bobo Carpenter and Dante Fabbro
The son of former Stanley Cup winner Bobby, 22-year old Bobo (whose real name is also Bobby) is trying to forge his own career and so far is doing a good job of it by wearing an "A" with the Terriers last season and now graduating to the "C" this time around. A leader on this young roster, in both inspiration and example, Carpenter has scored over 30 points in the last two seasons and is well on target to finish this season with more than a point a game.
Fabbro is also a veteran presence on the blueline, but we'll discuss him later...
Jake Oettinger (3.09 GAA, .904 SAV)
Make no doubt about it, his numbers this season may be pedestrian, but Oettinger is a special talent between the sticks. At just 19, he's already nailed down the starter's jersey at Boston University after a couple of remarkable seasons, he's worked his way up the ranks in the USA underage teams and he was picked up in the first round of this year's NHL draft by the Dallas Stars. Barring a miracle, this kid will be in the NHL - keep an eye on him.
Dante Fabbro (Defenseman)
If I could, I would have picked any one of Joel Farabee, Shane Bowers, Oettinger or Chad Krys, who are all elite talents, but the pick goes to Fabbro who is the stand-out defenseman across all four teams competing this week. Even at 20, the Canadian possesses an incredible defensive mindset that allows him to shut down shooting lanes and cut off opportunities that his peers can't see, while he has massive offensive upside too. Some have speculated the Nashville Predators may call him up before the season is out.
Dante Fabbro (defenseman) - 3 Goals, 8 Assists, 11 Points
Bobo Carpenter (left wing) - 6G, 3A, 9PTS
Chad Krys (defenseman) - 2G, 5A, 7PTS
Joel Farabee (left wing) - 3G, 3A, 6PTS
David Farrance (defenseman) - 1G, 5A, 6PTS
D: Dante Fabbro (2016, round 1, #17, Nashville Predators)
F: Joel Farabee (2018, round 1, #18, Philadelphia Flyers)
G: Jake Oettinger (2017, round 1, #26, Dallas Stars)
F: Shane Bowers (2017, round 1, #28, Ottawa Senators)
D: Chad Krys (2016, round 2, #45, Chicago Blackhawks)
F: Jake Wise (2018, round 3, #69, Chicago Blackhawks)
D: Kasper Kotkansalo (2017, round 3, #71, Detroit Red Wings)
D: Cameron Crotty (2017, round 3, #82, Arizona Coyotes)
D: David Farrance (2017, round 3, #92, Nashville Predators)
F: Maxwell Willman (2014, round 5, #121, Buffalo Sabres)
F: Patrick Harper (2016, round 5, #138, Nashville Predators)
F: Logan Cockerill (2017, round 7, #201, New York Islanders)
Bobo Carpenter, co-captain and forward
"We have friends from other teams who have said how great an experience it is, all the tours and seeing everything, how different it is over here. It's something we're lucky to experience, we've been excited for it all season and now it's actually here so we're trying to take as much as we can in.
"We definitely weren't happy with our start, but the way we've handled it, I don't think you can ask for much more. The guys are working hard every day we come to practice and we've got a good mindset to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm really proud of our team and our young guys for sticking on board and pushing through the tough times.
"It would be great if we won here. Everyone talks about the Friendship Four and only a few teams get to come here every year, so to have the opportunity to experience this and be a part of it, hopefully we can come out on top at the end of the week.
Boy, if these guys could click as a team then they would be unstoppable, because they have some incredibly talented individuals. That being said, they're still a very young roster and they have a lot of upside that may not be recognised until they've matured a bit in the next couple of years. Still, that doesn't mean they won't have success now, so sit back and enjoy a roster full of future elite stars.
They are vulnerable though, particularly after that last defeat to Maine, and UConn will be fancying their chances at taking a big scalp in the league standings, so their semi-final is most certainly one to be keeping a close eye on. But, if the Terriers can get through that one, you'd back them to go all the way.