After the then-No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team tied University of Prince Edward Island in a scrimmage at the start of the 2017-18 season, the team limped off to 4-6-1 start before rejuvenating itself in the second half of the season en route to a deep postseason run.
This year, as BU took care of business in its season opening scrimmage Saturday night by beating up on Acadia University 7-1.
Now, it’s time for the real season to begin.
The Terriers will head out to Mankato, Minnesota for a two-game series with 11th-ranked Minnesota State University Friday and Saturday evenings to drop the puck on the regular season.
BU head coach Albie O’Connell said he expected challenges.
“[They’re] probably the best-coached team in the league,” O’Connell said. “Their staff does a great job preparing those guys … it’s going to a tough task, you’re going to have to fight for every inch.”
The Terriers hosted the Mavericks for two games in October 2017 and lost both.
Minnesota State played its first exhibition game Saturday night as well, handling Calgary’s Mount Royal University to a 7-3 victory.
Seven different players scored for the Mavericks while sophomore forward Jake Jaremko, junior forward Parker Tuomie and junior defenseman Ian Scheid each recorded two assists.
Scheid and Jaremko each recorded points against the Terriers last year, with the former piling up a goal and an assist and the latter contributing two helpers.
In the series opener, BU got off to an early 2-1 lead thanks to goals by sophomore forward Shane Bowers and current Minnesota Wild third-liner Jordan Greenway.
From there, Minnesota State dominated: the team scored in the final four minutes of the first period to head into intermission with the game knotted at two.
Scheid, current junior forward Charlie Gerard and sophomore defenseman Riese Zmolek all scored to put BU out of reach of a 5-2 advantage in the second period.
Bowers was able to score his second goal of the game at the conclusion of the second, but a tally by Mavericks forward Jared Spooner in the third period ensured the 6-3 Minnesota State victory.
The next night at Agganis Arena, BU wasted four power-play chances in the first period, fumbling away scoring opportunities.
The Mavericks put their foot on the gas in the second period when junior forward Nicholas Rivera scored on a power play off assists from Scheid and Jaremko seven minutes into the period, setting Minnesota State on pace for an eventual 3-0 win.
“They’re really good at special teams, they’re good at faceoffs,” O’Connell said. “They know how to play and they’re really well-organized, and we’re going to have to be to beat them.”
Maverick forward Marc Michaelis assisted on the second goal of the game and scored the final tally at the beginning of the third period.
Michaelis has been named to the All-WCHA First Team the last two seasons and opened the month with a goal and an assist against Mount Royal.
Just like the Mavericks in their exhibition, BU had seven different goal scorers, four of which were from newcomers, but despite the offensive production, O’Connell said he saw inconsistency on the ice.
“Some individuals played really well … but we were still pretty disorganized, to be honest with you,” O’Connell said.