Boston Bruins: Previewing Their U.S. College Prospects for the 2012-13 Season

Al DanielCorrespondent IIOctober 4, 2012

The Bruins acquired the rights to Alexander Fallstrom from Minnesota early in Fallstrom's freshman year at Harvard.
The Bruins acquired the rights to Alexander Fallstrom from Minnesota early in Fallstrom's freshman year at Harvard.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Rising Harvard senior Alexander Fallstrom and Boston University freshman Matthew Grzelcyk assure the active presence of at least two members of the Boston Bruins family within the 617 area code this hockey season.

Grzelcyk’s Terriers will commence their 2012-13 game slate this Sunday with a matinee home exhibition against the University of Toronto. Their regular-season and Hockey East schedule begins a week from Saturday with Providence College.

For the second consecutive season, Fallstrom will have two fellow Bruins prospects amongst his ECAC cohabitants. Harvard will trade single regular-season visits with Ben Sexton and Clarkson as well as with Brian Ferlin and Cornell.

A fourth player will enter the equation with defenseman Rob O’Gara enrolling at Yale, who will entertain a portion of Harvard’s first weekend of league action.

Fallstrom and the Crimson will host none other than BU on Wednesday, Jan. 9 and the civic, interleague rivals could face each other once more at TD Garden in the second week of the Beanpot.

Grzelcyk could be facing a fellow freshman in the Bruins system over the first weekend of November, assuming that goaltender Zane Gothberg of North Dakota scrapes the blue paint for either of their teams' two tangles at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Barring any postseason matchups, freshman Colton Hargrove of Western Michigan is the lone Boston prospect in the NCAA who will not stare down another in 2012-13. Although playoff tilts are hardly beyond the realm of realism, as the Broncos are seeking a third consecutive national tournament bid under second-year coach and former NHL skipper Andy Murray.

BU, Cornell and North Dakota will likewise vie for a return to hockey’s Sweet 16. Fallstrom will be on his last call to make a single career trip to the national tournament with Harvard, which fell one win shy of last year’s automatic bid, losing the conference title tilt to Union, 3-1.

Regardless of the length of the Crimson’s campaign, Fallstrom could be a sound candidate to take a late-season tune-up twirl with the Providence Bruins. He can ensure his consideration by following up on a career year that saw him post a 13-12-25 scoring log in 28 games, more goals and points than his freshman and sophomore seasons combined.

Over at Clarkson, Sexton is coming off a sophomore surge and is the top point-getter among returning Golden Knights after a 21-assist, 29-point season in 2011-12.

Cornell and the watchful Bruins front office will bank on a similar second-year ascension by Ferlin, who tied for third on the team in goals and placed fifth in points as a freshman.

Among the rookies, Grzelcyk returns home to Massachusetts after two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program, while the Long Island native O’Gara goes south of the border after one year at Milton Academy.

Hargrove will transition to the collegiate ranks on the heels of finishing third in points (38) and first in penalty minutes (140) on the NAHL’s Fargo Force. Gothberg backstopped the same team to 26 wins in 46 appearances and will now stay in the state to challenge Clarke Saunders and Tate Maris for the UND starting vacancy.