NCAA: Recruiting News at BU, AIC, Vermont, and UConn

Former Providence goalie Jake Kucharski announced on Twitter that he has committed to AIC. Kucharski entered the transfer portal earlier this month.

Kucharski was selected in the 7th round of the 2018 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. He was a freshman with the Friars this past season but didn’t see any action. In 2018-19 he posted a 3.87 GAA and a .861 save percentage with the Omaha Lancers in the USHL, but it was in a very small sample size (8 games). In 2017-18 he appeared in 26 games for the Des Moines Buccaneers and posted a 3.56 GAA and a .881 save percentage.

Prior to the USHL, Kucharski played at Cathedral Prep in Pennsylvania and had one season with the Austin Bruins in the NAHL. In 2017-18 he was the goalie for Team USA at the World Jr. A Challenge and he posted a 1.58 GAA and a .934 save percentage in three games en route to a silver medal at the tournament.

Kucharski has good size (6-foot-4). He played in the 2017 CCM USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

AIC is replacing Zack Skog, who graduates this spring. However, the Yellow Jackets also return Stefano Durante, who appeared in 17 games this past season and went 11-4 with a 2.34 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

Elsewhere, UConn picked up former BU commit Artem Shlaine, who was playing at Shattuck. The Russian native had 78 points in 42 games this past season and he’ll end up at UConn this fall.

“When he was aggressive in taking pucks to the net and strong on the puck, he was very tough to stop,” our scouts said this season. “He was able to make plays with defenders hanging on him.  When he got in tight, he showed he can snap it off quickly and catch the opposing goaltender off guard.”

BU recruit Braden Doyle announced that he’s returning to Dubuque (USHL) for next season. The Lynnfield, Mass. native is reportedly still on solid ground with the Terriers and firm in his commitment to the program, now for 2021-22.

“He does whatever he wants with the puck on the back-end,” scouts said. “His skills are unmatched at this level. On one occasion he chipped the puck up to himself then batted it up in the air over the defenders stick in full stride to go in on a break-a-way. He sees the ice well and stretches the ice with seam passes whenever possible. He is always looking to turn defense to offense and his transition game is one of his best attributes.”

There’s also a big recruit back on the market after Lucas Mercuri de-committed from Vermont. Mercuri, who is from Quebec, originally committed to former UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon; he played for the Salisbury School this past season and is scheduled to play for Des Moines in the USHL next season.

“Mercuri is a big strong forward with a brain,” said our scouts. “He finds the quiet areas off of the cycle very naturally. On line rushes he reads the defensmen’s gaps very well and will not force plays, but instead takes what is given and makes the opposition pay. His cannon of a shot is accurate and he can fire it through screens while his feet are moving. At this point he is almost too strong physically for NE Prep competition and appears ready for Junior Hockey.”