Saucerman making the grade at Northeastern
By Matt Mackinder
After a solid first two seasons patrolling the blue line at Northeastern University, Colton Saucerman expects his junior year to yield more promise on both team and personal levels.
Having originally planned to attend and play hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Saucerman later de-committed when UML went through a coaching change.
He shifted his choice to Northeastern while playing for the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
“I didn’t want to play for a coach I wasn’t recruited by, and that’s not a knock on anyone,” said Saucerman, a 22-year-old out of Colorado Springs. “Then, my coach with Lincoln, Jimmy McGroarty, said Northeastern was interested. We talked a few times, then they offered me (a scholarship).
“I had no official visit, no anything; it just kind of happened. It was the right school with the right offer. When you get to play for the Beanpot every year, it kind of makes the decision easier. I also have family north (of Boston), so I guess you could say the stars aligned.”
Growing up in Colorado, Saucerman played for the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association, in addition to the Colorado Thunderbirds’ 14U AAA team. He then spent two years with the Pikes Peak Miners’ 16U AAA squad before venturing off to the USHL. He captained the Miners in 2008-09.
“Youth hockey in Colorado took a while to get going, but it’s really taken off the past few years; it’s definitely on the map,” Saucerman said. “You have guys like the Shores, the Testwuides and the Holmstroms who’ve really helped the game make strides into becoming a true hockey state.”
Miners coach Luc Trombetta and Thunderbirds coach Rich Pijanowski were both significant influences on Saucerman’s development.
“Those guys really helped my game and gave me extra confidence,” said Saucerman. “They taught me a lot of skills, including getting me to work out when I was just 14.”
As a freshman at Northeastern, Saucerman posted three goals and 11 points in 31 games. Last year, he played in all 37 contests for the Huskies and tied for sixth in Hockey East in points per game among defensemen (0.62) with six goals among 23 points.
Afforded the opportunity to play in Hockey East – a conference that sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament last spring – has provided a valuable developmental experience, according to Saucerman.
“There are no bad teams and no easy games,” he said. “Every night is tough and you have to be ready.”
Entering his freshman year, Saucerman almost wasn’t ready to play. He underwent surgery on his ACL in January of 2012 and didn’t skate at all that summer.
He was thrust into the lineup early on his freshman season, but acclimated with relative ease.
“I knew I could think the game and my skill was OK, but getting used to the speed of the college game was an adjustment,” said Saucerman. “I went from being the older guy in juniors playing against younger players to now being a younger guy playing against older, faster players.”
In 2009-10, Saucerman skated with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers before splitting time in 2010-11 with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints and Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League, where he served as captain.
He then played the injury-shortened season with Lincoln in 2011-12 before winding up in Boston.
“Really, there isn’t much difference in the level of play from the USHL to the NCAA,” said Saucerman. “It’s just another level of maturity.”
A criminal justice major at Northeastern, Saucerman’s uncle is a police officer in California, but if he could choose his career field, it’d be in Special Forces, the FBI or with a SWAT team.
“I’m more of a hands-on type of person,” said Saucerman. “I can’t be at a desk all day.”