FADEM: Ten things I learned Sunday

Two years ago, the men’s hockey team played the University of New Brunswick in an exhibition game. Eric Gryba scored with 1:24 left to win it in regulation. Coach Jack Parker gave all three of his goaltenders some work, including Brett Bennett ‘-‘- who had six saves to his one goal allowed. Nearly 5,000 people showed up after a 2005-06 season that saw 26 wins. The 2006-07 team went 20-10-9 and played NCAA Tournament hockey.
Two days ago, BU hosted the University of New Brunswick once again in exhibition play. It’s the only time during the whole year that you get to hear the Canadian National Anthem ‘-‘- and only 3,069 of us did. The Terriers set the tone early and didn’t look back. They didn’t really look forward either. They just played stalemate hockey well enough to win, 4-1.
For the many Terrier hockey fans who didn’t attend at 2 p.m. on a Sunday (I really don’t blame you), there were some things I took away from this game. Here are the top-10 things I learned ‘-‘- which I’m sure you would have learned, too, had you gone:
10. Agganis Arena has a goal: Have the best college arena concessions. First off, sweet potato fries are no more ‘-‘- instead there are onion sticks. In addition, the snack areas now offer backed potatoes! Are you kidding me? Sour cream, melted cheese, strips of bacon, not just the bits, but strips, all on a potato. I’m salivating right now.
9. BU and Agganis worked hard on the pre-game videos. There were so many of them, and they all looked pretty cool. Animated player pictures during warm-ups and after a player scores ‘-‘- it reminded me of Monday Night Football: Professional and uncomfortable, but it works. The pre-game pump-up videos didn’t do as much as I thought they would for me. I got gooesbumps, but I just wasn’t full-throttle pumped. I think the lack of crowd was the only reason for that.
8. Grant Rollheiser refuses to take off his black, generic goalie mask. During the entire first period and into the second, Rollheiser was wearing it on the bench. Then, obviously, when he went into the game he also adorned it. Some may think he did this because of superstition. I’m guessing he wore it for safety reasons ‘-‘- you never know when a puck might try to slap you in the face. This reasoning must also be why he wears his mask in the shower, in class and when he sleeps.
7. BU has a goaltender controversy! This is the second year in a row I’ll show up to a game on a given night in the first month of the season and not know who will be between the pipes. However, unlike last year, this goalie controversy seems to be good. 2007-08: Brett Bennett vs. Karson Gillespie ‘-‘- it was like choosing between dog food and cat food for dinner. This year ‘-‘-‘ Kieran Milan (such a balla’ name) vs. Grant Rollheiser ‘-‘- now it’s like I have to choose between cr’egrave;me br’ucirc;l’eacute;e and a huge banana split ‘-‘- for freakin’ dinner!
6. Colin Wilson exudes confidence. I felt it in the stands. I guess being the No. 7 overall NHL draft pick will do that. He was dangling in and out of traffic, setting up the offense, challenging all the opponents on the ice and playing exactly how an NHL prospect should. His play was artistic and makes me oh-so-happy he’s back this year.
5. These freshmen are good. Vin Diesel (a.k.a. Vinny Saponari) already knows what’s up ‘-‘- two assists in the second period and playing like he’s been here before. Oh wait, he has (last year with the U.S. Under-18 Team). Jesus was doing some deep thinking before the season about what the last names on the jerseys would look like for the Saponari brothers (Vinny and Victor). He concluded that the only way he could be satisfied would be if Vinny spelled out his entire name, much like late Denver Bronco great Darrent Williams. We all found out Vinny’s only gonna rock a ‘Vin’ before Saponari. There’s still time to change that ‘-‘- he’d be an instant fan favorite, even more liked than Gryba and his powerful fists.
4. We won’t be missing our graduated forwards (Tom Morrow, however, is someone we’ll never forget). Losing the top two scorers in Hockey East (Boomer Ewing and Pete MacArthur) won’t seem so bad with their replacements on the ice ‘-‘- Nick Bonino and Colin Wilson. Bonino was the best player on the ice Sunday, and I can only conclude he’s going to have a big season. Colin Wilson is Colin Wilson. I’m still convinced he bleaches his hair or frosts his tips. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
3. BU cheerleaders on the premises. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I first walked in: BU cheerleaders (men and women) at the entrance of the arena, giving out face paint jobs and God knows what else. While it’s nice to see them showing support for the school, I’m not fully counting on them yet. They need to prove their dedication and be there come November, like the dance team ‘-‘- God’s customized gift to this school.
2. Jason Lawrence is on the first line? That’s not really something I learned ‘-‘- that’s something I question. Lawrence got a goal in the game ‘-‘- an empty-net goal. I’m not saying Lawrence is a bad player. He does good things on the ice, just not first line things. If Parker is trying to balance the lines, then sure keep him on the first. But if this team wants a dominant first line like last year’s MacArthur-Higgins-Ewing trio, things need to be changed. I just think J-Lo should be on the third or fourth line. I would love to see a Wilson-Higgins-Bonino first line.
1. This team looks good. I can’t remember the last time I felt the way I do about Terrier hockey. It’s a good thing. Everything was working, and working well. The only thing that needs to change is for the team to play a more complete game than it did Sunday. The exhibition showed the potential BU has ‘-‘- the goalies are good, the defense looks so solid, the returning players are great, the captains are better than last year’s and the freshmen stepped it up to another level. This game meant nothing, but I think it was a good indication that this is a season everyone will thoroughly enjoy.


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    Kevin FYI on #3 – <p/>http

  2. Good work Brian. Not everyone can look like a clown each week, but you've managed to keep the streak alive. Some food for thought

    #comment 2

  3. Kevin