After Saturday night’s 4-3 win over the University of Denver, Boston University coach Jack Parker had plenty of positives to talk about. There was the defense, which stepped up its game following a rough showing in Friday night’s 5-3 loss to Providence. There was also the team’s play on special teams, which scored two short-handed goals and one power-play goal.
But Parker saved his most lofty praise for senior forward Corey Trivino, who scored his third goal in as many games Saturday night.
“I don’t think there’s any question that our best player up and down the lineup was Corey Trivino,” Parker said. “He was absolutely fabulous.”
Saturday night was not the first time of the young season that Parker named Trivino his best player. In the season opener against the University of New Hampshire, Parker also gave those honors to Trivino despite a shutout from senior goaltender Kieran Millan, who tied the BU record for career wins that night in an outstanding performance.
So why is Trivino consistently earning top honors? The answer may be that he is simply fulfilling expectations.
“He is just what we want him to be,” Parker said. “He’s physical. He’s scoring goals and he’s playing great defensively. He’s got it cooking pretty well.”
Trivino has always been a strong defensive forward for the Terriers, but he has struggled to find the back of the net in his last three seasons. Trivino’s three goals already account for more than a third of his total from last season, when he scored eight goals in 37 games.
Rather than focus on defense this season, Trivino has proven he can finish in the offensive zone. On Friday night, Trivino’s goal came when he tapped a rebound past Providence netminder Alex Beaudry. Saturday night, Trivino scored short-handed when he caught Denver goaltender Adam Murray fumbling a play behind the net. Trivino stole the puck and wrapped it into the net before Murray could race back to his crease.
“I came to BU to score goals and create offense, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Trivino said.
But Trivino’s improved offensive totals have not prevented him from being the fully-rounded player that BU expects out of its athletes. Trivino was solid in the defensive end Saturday night and played a key role in staving off a Pioneer comeback.
In the waning minutes of the 4-3 game and Denver playing with an extra attacker, Trivino took it upon himself to ensure that as few pucks reached the BU net as possible. He repeatedly cleared the puck out of his own zone and pressured the Denver forwards into passes or turnovers.
“I was just trying to make sure that we were winning the one-on-one battles down low,” Trivino said. “It was just get the puck out and wait for time to kind of collapse.”
Trivino’s teammates have noticed his strong play, and given that Trivino is a senior, he has been proving through example what it takes to be a top-line center for the Terriers.
“You see him before the game, and he gets ready to play,” said junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson. “He’s one of our top players this year and I think he knows that. It’s his last season here, and if he wants to move on to the next level, he’s got to have a pretty big year.
“The guys look up to him. He works hard in practice and worked hard over the summer. He just gets ready to play and his skills and his speed are just over everyone else.”
Trivino has been modest about his success early in the season. When he was told after the UNH win that Parker called him the best player on the ice, he demurely offered his opinion that the honor should have gone to Millan. He credits the chemistry and skill of his line – Trivino centers a top line of senior captain Chris Connolly and sophomore forward Sahir Gill – with a lot of his success.
But Parker credited Trivino’s inner drive as the source of his strong play.
“I think it’s just that he’s feeling that it’s time for him to take over,” Parker said. “He’s a senior and he feels good about getting as much ice time as he is.”
Regardless of whatever and whoever deserves credit for Trivino’s dominance in all areas of the game, his teammates are hopeful that it will continue.
“I think Corey’s been awesome for us this year,” Millan said.
“I know the last couple of years he’s had his points when he’s been phenomenal and he’s had his bad games, but he’s one of those guys that has unlimited potential and as of right now, he’s really living up to it. Hopefully he keeps it up, and if he does we’ll definitely hear his name at the end of the year.”