WATCH: Canucks top prospect Tom Willander scores a goal and adds an assist in NCAA debut with Boston University
Photo credit:@terrierhockey on IG
By Faber1 month ago
After not dressing in game one of Boston University’s season due to the fact that he played in the Allsvenskan (which is a pro league in Sweden) two years ago, Tom Willander kicked off his NCAA with a bang.
Willander was lined up on BU’s third pairing alongside fellow 2023 Vancouver Canucks draft pick, Aiden Celebrini.
Fitting in with the NCAA’s level of competition wasn’t that difficult for Willander in his debut as it took less than three minutes for him to find his first NCAA point.
While setting up as the quarterback on the second power play unit, Willander fired a shot that was tipped in to give BU an early 1-0 lead.
That wasn’t it for the offence in the first period as Willander showed off his shot once again during a rush that he jumped in on and ended up ripping a one-timer into the top corner of the net for his first NCAA goal.
As we mentioned earlier, Willander saw time with the second power play unit but we were pleasantly surprised to see the 18-year-old Swede getting some time on BU’s penalty kill as well.
Willander was skating well and defending with confidence throughout the game he seemed to improve as the game went on. Willander’s skating skill was a big reason why the Canucks drafted him 11th overall and his agility showed extremely well in his debut. We were a bit worried about the jump from Sweden’s J20 league to the NCAA but it’s clear that this kid is more than ready for the jump to the NCAA.
BU ended up using Willander alongside the ultra-offensive defenceman Lane Hutson in the third period to try to create some offence as they were down by two goals. It was a good sign early in the season to see Willander get a chance to play on a pairing with Hutson, who led all NCAA defencemen in scoring last season.
NCAA ice time is not publically available but we have to think that Willander got close to 20 minutes in the game with his time on both special teams units as well as all the ice time he saw in the third period alongside Hutson.
Fellow Canucks prospect Aiden Celebrini also had a good game. He spent some time on the penalty kill as well and picked up a pair of assists in the game, giving him his first points in the NCAA after being held off the scorer’s sheet last week in his NCAA debut.
The number one ranked Boston University ended up losing the game by a score of 6-4 but we had some great moments from the Canucks’ prospects in this one, and honestly, that’s what we all want to see. Both Willander and Celebrini were +2 on the night and this bodes well for ice time in upcoming games.
We will continue to have instant analysis coverage of the Canucks’ prospects and be sure to come back on Tuesday as the youngsters are giving us a lot to work with for this week’s Blackfish report.
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