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College Hockey Notebook

Kreider OK to play

Sophomore back after jaw surgery

Sophomores Brian Dumoulin (left) and Pat Mullane (right) have earned the approval of BC coach Jerry York. Sophomores Brian Dumoulin (left) and Pat Mullane (right) have earned the approval of BC coach Jerry York. (File/Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / March 25, 2011

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ST. LOUIS — Boston College got a boost of morale and talent when it learned sophomore left wing Chris Kreider has been cleared to return for tonight’s NCAA Tournament game against Colorado College at the Scottrade Center.

Kreider, who suffered a broken jaw against New Hampshire March 4, underwent surgery the next week and has healed well enough to play.

Kreider (11 goals, 12 assists in 31 games) made it through the entire practice Tuesday, and coach Jerry York said he fared well.

“It was really a boost to all of us when Chris came out and not only put the uniform on in full gear, but the impact he had on practice,’’ said York. “He was really involved in all facets and he just makes us that much better of a club. You need your full arsenal when you go out and play these tournaments because you’re playing now the elite of the elite.’’

Dominant Dumoulin Brian Dumoulin has spent a fair amount of time on the big stage. He helped BC win a national championship last season as a freshman, and earlier this season he was an impact player on the United States team for the World Junior Championship.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pound defenseman has developed steadily. He has learned how to use his size, has grown stronger, and has made a much more significant contribution this season.

“He was a good player last year and a good player when he came [to BC],’’ said York. “Brian is going to keep getting better and better. Brian is one of the cornerstones to our club.’’

Dumoulin heads into tonight on a five-game point streak. He also was recently named Hockey East’s best defensive defenseman.

“I just think of how quickly he’s developed,’’ said teammate Tommy Cross, a junior blue liner. “It’s been fun to watch. Last year, I remember captains’ practices. We had four freshman defensemen last year. They all came in, we knew they were all good players and it was obvious they could play, but for that to be Brian’s starting point and to see where he was at the end of last year and where he is this year, it’s just been a steady development. He’s getting better all the time. He’s a one-man breakout.’’

Dumoulin said he’d like to use his size more for leverage, but Cross thinks he’s pretty good already.

“His positioning is excellent,’’ said Cross. “That’s something that a lot of the guys on the defense can learn and we look at him, he’s always in the right spot. The strength part, that just comes with getting older. He’s 19 years old. To be 21 [as Cross is], that’s a lot older than 19. He’s so much stronger on the ice now than he was last year. He’s come a long way in that department.’’

Dumoulin said former teammate Carl Sneep had a major impact on him last season.

“He had to step up and be a leader because he was the leader of the defense and we were all so new,’’ said Dumoulin. “He definitely set the tone, even in practice, seeing his habits helped me a lot. This year, I’m able to trust my teammates a lot more. Last year, I didn’t want to make a mistake. I kept the game really simple. I’ve been able to trust my teammates that they’ll make the right play. I feel like I’ve developed that part of my game really well. I wanted to develop my shot and develop the threat of me scoring a lot more than last year.’’

High marks York had high praise for sophomore center Pat Mullane. “I think Pat has been the most improved player on our team this year,’’ said York. “He’s become a real difference maker.’’ Mullane takes a five-game point streak into tonight with eight points in that span . . . York said Colorado College looked familiar on film. “They’re very quick and very creative,’’ said York. “They’re a solid, solid team. I enjoyed watching them play. They’re skill level is excellent. They mirror us in a lot of ways.’’ . . . Hockey East has written letters of reprimand to Boston University coach Jack Parker and Northeastern coach Greg Cronin for their actions following the March 13 conference quarterfinal game at Agganis Arena. Both acknowledged their behavior was inappropriate and apologized.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.