Ice Hockey, Sports

Sporting a fresh look

The Boston University men’s hockey team built an early lead and coasted to a 4-1 win over the University of New Brunswick on Sunday at Agganis Arena in its lone exhibition game before the regular season. The No. 10 Terriers looked sharp, playing a cohesive brand of hockey for most of the game and getting multiple contributions at the offensive end.
With seven Terrier freshmen taking the ice, Sunday’s game was an opportunity for BU to fiddle with line combinations and explore goaltending options before the season gets underway. Freshmen Chris Connolly, Corey Trivino and Vinny Saponari each lit the lamp in the first, while fellow first-year Terriers Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser split time in net.
‘The thing that jumped out at me the most was how well our freshmen played,’ BU coach Jack Parker said. ‘They moved the puck ‘-‘- guys that should be moving the puck ‘-‘- and both goaltenders played well.’
Facing a New Brunswick team that lost 6-0 to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst the night before, the Terriers’ focus on Sunday was to spread the puck around and get both the veterans and younger players comfortable with their linemates.
On a roster peppered with freshmen, senior co-captains John McCarthy and Matt Gilroy will be critical to BU’s early success. They were active against the Reds of New Brunswick, with McCarthy setting up Trivino’s goal and both senior leaders registering an assist on Saponari’s score.
It didn’t take long for Connolly to make an impact on offense as his eager forecheck produced the first goal of the game 4:49 into the first period. Connolly tracked down UNB defenseman Luke Gallant behind the net and knocked the puck off his stick as he curled around the right post. BU sophomore Nick Bonino gathered it in front of the net and sent a pass across the crease to Connolly, who put it past UNB goaltender Derek Yeomans.
Consecutive penalties on the Reds halfway through the first period led to BU’s second goal of the contest, this time from Trivino.
Just as UNB killed off its first penalty of the game, another Red was sent to the box for tripping. On the ensuing power play, Trivino picked up a loose puck to Yeomans’ left and powered it inside the far post for the goal.
‘The freshmen playing well is probably the reason we have an exhibition game more than anything else ‘-‘- to see how they do,’ Parker said.
The first-year players are going to benefit from a seasoned nucleus of upperclassmen all season, as they did on the Terriers’ third goal of the game. BU’s co-captains combined to set up a crafty scoring play toward the end of the first.
Gilroy carried the puck up the ice to the right of the goal, skating around an outstretched Red who went down to try and knock the puck away and waited until he was behind the red line to send the puck on net. McCarthy and Saponari set up in front of the crease, ready to finish the play. McCarthy’s first shot was stopped, but Saponari got just enough of the rebound to put it home.
The only blemish on the day came at 10:31 in the second, when Millan stopped a shot on the right post but couldn’t get back in time to turn away a bouncing puck that skipped off Terrier sophomore Colby Cohen’s skate and into the net, making the score 3-1. UNB’s Daine Todd was credited with the goal.
Senior Jason Lawrence added an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining in the game to push the lead to 4-1.
While no decision has been made on the goaltending situation, both goalies handled their first collegiate action with poise. Rollheiser looked confident in net, turning aside each of the 15 shots he faced, including a quick flick of the wrist on a glove save at the end of the second period.
‘We’ll evaluate [the goalies] over the course of the week and then pick someone for the first game and then make decisions from there,’ Parker said. ‘Those who play well will be rewarded with further play, and both these guys played very well today.’
BU begins regular season play when it hosts the University of North Dakota and Michigan State University on Friday and Saturday, respectively, in the Ice Breaker Invitational at Agganis Arena.

Comments are closed.