BOSTON – Boston University beat the University of Toronto 5-0 in an exhibition game Sunday. The Terriers outshot the Varsity Blues 50-17 and completely dominated the game from start to finish. All five goals came on the power play, as the Terriers amassed 23 shots on 12 man-up chances. Alexx Privitera (3 assists), Cason Hohmann (1 goal, 1 assist), Matt Grzelcyk (2 assists) and Ahti Oksanen (2 assists) all posted multi-point games. BU opens the regular season against Providence on Saturday.
What I saw
-The Terriers scored five power-play goals and generated a ton of chances on the man advantage. Their entries were smooth, their passes were crisp, and they consistently had traffic in front of the net. The first goal came when Grzelcyk fed Matt Nieto for a one-timer, with Sahir Gill setting a screen in front. The second came off another Grzelcyk feed, this one to Oksanen. Gill and Evan Rodrigues were both at the top of the crease, and Rodrigues ended up with the deflection goal. Yasin Cisse added a third when he poked home a loose puck following a Privitera shot. Mike Moran scored on a rebound as well, and Hohmann’s came on a nice pass from Oksanen. The Terriers certainly have the weapons to have a strong power play, but it was a little surprising to see things clicking so well after just one full practice. Toronto’s penalty kill wasn’t good at all, but BU’s power play still deserves a lot of credit.
-The freshman goaltending tandem of Matt O’Connor and Sean Maguire didn’t allow any goals, but it was hard to really get any sort of read on them given that Toronto registered just 17 shots. O’Connor stopped all five shots he faced, but only one or two were quality chances. Maguire was tested a little bit more, as he turned aside 12 shots, but not many of those were high-quality opportunities either. BU’s defense was certainly good, but Toronto also looked plain old inept offensively. Much like yesterday’s game against Lowell, the Varsity Blues couldn’t create quality scoring chances even when the Terriers did turn the puck over.
What I thought
-On paper, the Terriers have one of the best freshman classes in the country — one that features five NHL draft picks. That group got off to a pretty good start on the ice, too. Grzelcyk and Oksanen both picking up two assists stands out the most, but plenty of others had very good games as well. Mike Moran scored a goal, Matt Lane and Sam Kurker were both aggressive and physical, and Danny O’Regan made some heads-up plays. But perhaps the most impressive of the forward group was center Wesley Myron. He was strong on the puck all game long and was able to create chances when he had the puck and force turnovers when he didn’t. He drew the penalty that led to BU’s second goal when he drove hard to the net and forced a Toronto defender to tackle him to the ice.
-Of BU’s sophomores, Alexx Privitera and Evan Rodrigues were the most impressive. Privitera emerged as a solid defenseman in the second half last season, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that he has continued to improve. He always looked comfortable in the offensive zone — and that continued with three assists Sunday — but his improvement in the defensive zone makes him a legitimate No. 2 or No. 3 defenseman. Rodrigues struggled to adapt to the college game all of last season, but he looked like a whole new player Sunday. He looked confident with the puck, he was strong on his skates, and he was around the net all game. It paid off for Rodrigues when he got the tip-in goal.
What they said
-BU coach Jack Parker: “In general, I thought everybody played well. When it was obvious that we could control the puck, nobody got selfish and nobody tried to do too much or show off. That was the best part of it, I thought. We played like a team from the start to the end. And obviously we got a whole bunch of power-play goals. We were moving the puck pretty well there.”