Adam Gaudette defending the defensive-zone
This weekend, I was in Boston for a rowing event. As it turns out, both Boston College and Northeastern (NU) were playing games. This made it a perfect opportunity for myself to go and watch a game. Given that Boston College is in the middle of nowhere, it was an easy choice to watch Canucks Prospect Adam Gaudette and his team play against Bentley University.
There is so little known about Gaudette that he doesn’t even have any pictures on the internet. He was so under-hyped that he didn’t show up to the draft. He found out he was drafted while having a backyard BBQ. This became a great opportunity for myself to learn something some more about him.
— Northeastern MHKY (@GoNUmhockey) October 16, 2015
Before the game started, the line-up had Gaudette listed as the 2nd Line Centre. However, it didn’t play out that way in practice. Interestingly enough, Boston Bruins draft pick Matt Benning, nephew of Jim Benning, was slotted on NU’s top defensive pairing.
This was my first NCAA game and the crowd was very fun, active and into the game. The student cheering section was something more akin to Champions League Soccer than it was an NHL game. The game itself was a one-sided affair, dominated by NU, but they couldn’t get much past Bentley goaltender Jayson Argue. Northeastern had taken over 40 shots before Argue let in a goal. A better way to show how the game went:
uhhhhh uhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh pic.twitter.com/48HrOGX8GI
— r + l = ok (@twolinepass) October 17, 2015
Despite dominating the game, NU found themselves down 0-3 at the start of the third, with two of those goals coming on the penalty kill. Despite a late comeback, ended up losing 3-2. They pulled the goalie much too late, especially with how much offensive zone time they had, and they couldn’t find the tying goal that would have sent them to an extra frame.
Back to our subject. How did Gaudette perform?
As earlier mentioned, NU dominated the game – to the tune of 83.33% Corsi% at even-strength. With Adam Gaudette on the ice, NU was still performing super well, but he did have a negative Corsi rel for the game. Part of this is because of the small sample size of ice time.
Part of the reason that he had low ice time was that NU was leaning on the top 2 lines, pivoted by Dalen Hedges and John Stevens. This is likely because they were down for the last 40 minutes of the game, and that Gaudette received no time on special teams. This isn’t a huge issue, as this was only his second NCAA game of his career and the team is stacked with Juniors and Seniors. A lack of ice time won’t be a concern unless this type of deployment remains a constant in a couple of years.
The other reason his ice time may have been cut? He was the centre who took and lost the defensive-zone faceoff that lead to Bentley’s first goal, their only even-strength tally of the game. From there, he was only on the ice for about four shifts in the second and third period, and even those were short lived.
One positive note? His zone transfer was fantastic, both in terms of entering the offensive zone and exiting the defensive zone. He only had to exit once, but he did while maintaining possession. He entered the offensive zone with the puck eight times, and five of those lead to significant offensive pressure for his team.
Visually, Gaudette did a number of very good things as well. He was strong on both the forecheck and backcheck and he didn’t shy away from physicality. He appears to be a little rough defensively, but that’s not a shock for an NCAA rookie. At times, he stood around and let the play come to him rather than trying to break things up. His skating and puck skills were alright, but nothing to be excited for in this one game sample.
It was a fun game and great to see Gaudette play, but we really can’t draw any conclusions about him based on this single game, the second of his NCAA career. If you want to follow Gaudette throughout the year, you can watch Northeastern’s games on demand.