Ice Hockey, Sports

Rookie goaltenders shine in debuts

It’s a new season for the Boston University men’s hockey team, and with a renewed hope of a turnaround from last year’s disappointing end, the Terriers’ success hinges on the balance between youth and experience.
Yesterday afternoon at Agganis Arena, BU coach Jack Parker got his first chance to see how his new crop of Terriers fit into the mix in a competitive situation in the exhibition contest against the University of New Brunswick.
‘I was pretty pleased at many points during the course of the game with how we played,’ Parker said. ‘The thing that jumped out at me the most was how well our freshmen played. They all played extremely well their first time out.’
Entering yesterday, the most glaring hole to be filled this season was at the goaltender position, as sophomore Adam Kraus and freshmen Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser battle for the spot vacated by Brett Bennett.
The exhibition contest provided Millan and Rollheiser a chance to usher their names to the top of the ballot, determining who will earn the sacred space between the pipes.
Millan, who got the starting nod, gave up one goal on eight shots in his Terrier debut.
Brought on in relief of Millan midway through the second period, Rollheiser put forth the strongest effort in net for either side, as he turned away 15 shots in more than 27 minutes between the pipes.
‘Millan played very well,’ Parker said. ‘The goal that went in was a dribble off of our guy, and then Rollheiser made a couple of good saves in the third period.’
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ sixth round draft pick in this year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft, Rollheiser faced 12 shots in the third period alone, five of which came from directly in front of the crease.
‘Poised,’ Parker said of the play of both goalkeepers. ‘I was going to split them right down the middle [in terms of playing time], but then we got the 5-on-3 power play right before it was time for Rollheiser to go in.
‘I told [Rollheiser], ‘Why don’t you wait until after the powerplay is over so you don’t have to face a whole bunch of shots right off the bat,” Parker continued. ‘He played very well [at the beginning of the period], and then we settled in. But I was pleased with both of them.’
In front of the freshman goalkeeper tandem, BU received production from a trio of its freshmen forwards, as Chris Connolly scored the first goal of the Terriers’ 2008 campaign, beating New Brunswick’s Derek Yeomans on a pass from sophomore Nick Bonino.
Fewer than 10 minutes later, New York Islanders’ second round draft pick Corey Trivino one-timed a redirected pass from Terrier co-captain John McCarthy past Yeomans to stretch BU’s lead to two midway through the first.
A little over three minutes after that, Atlanta Thrashers’ fourth round draft pick Vinny Saponari made it a trifecta for the freshmen when he poked a Matt Gilroy centering pass over Yeomans’ shoulder.
Heading into Friday’s regular-season opener against the University of North Dakota, Parker remained mum on who would start in net for the Terriers, but he did say that the decision would be made this week.
‘I don’t have any set idea that we’re going to rotate guys or we’re going to settle on a No. 1 guy right away,’ Parker said. ‘Those who play well will be rewarded with further play, and both [Millan and Rollheiser] played very well today.’

Comments are closed.