The Preview of Champions starts with the returning players (alphabetically), and then the new faces as we approach the October 13 season opener against Northeastern. On the day we learn the Eagles are the preseason #1 team in the country, and the day after seeing BC picked to repeat as Hockey East champs, the first feature is Patch Alber, who has twice been a champion with Boston College in his first three seasons on the Heights.
Alber, 23, enters his senior season as one of the most tenured defensemen on the roster. He started his journey to Boston College in his hometown of Clifton Park, New York, between Albany and Saratoga Springs. Alber played his high school hockey for the Northwood School, which is located in a pretty good location for it: Lake Placid. (After all, a few somewhat notable moments in hockey history may or may not have happened there.) Northwood produced noteworthy NHL players such as Chris Therien and Mike Richter.
Following high school, Alber spent two years with the Boston Jr. Bruins of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. He joined the Boston College Eagles for the 2009-10 season, playing on the 2010 team that beat Wisconsin for all the marbles, and last year’s 2012 winner over Ferris State.
Alber has had a decent career at Boston College, steadily increasing his ice time over the years. In his freshman season, he was a typical bench player who managed only 17 appearances and three points, but as a junior last season, he earned a larger role on Jerry York’s blue line, getting into all 44 games and recording 14 points.
He is one of only two seniors Boston College has left on defense, with the other being alternate captain Patrick Wey, so look for this team to rely upon his experience even more. With Brian Dumoulin, Tommy Cross, and Edwin Shea out the door, much will be expected of Alber this year. He can be up to the task, though in the past, Alber has been more of a supporting cast member than a leader on defense. In 2012, he will have to lead.