By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
BURLINGTON, Vt. — When former Boston University men’s hockey forward Corey Trivino was arrested on sexual assault charges in December, the rest of the BU hockey team had plenty of time to digest the situation before having to play another hockey game. The team was entering winter break at the time and had three weeks off from both school and hockey to compose themselves before having to focus on a game.
But when former BU defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested Sunday morning for sexual assault, the team had just five days, all spent on a campus filled with news trucks and the glare of public ire, to get ready for an important two-game weekend series against the University of Vermont which could help determine BU’s playoff seeding.
When the Terriers played their first game after Trivino’s arrest, they came out flat and unsure of themselves. On Thursday, coach Jack Parker admitted he did not know how his team would fare in its first game back since the most recent arrest.
“I think the only times I’ve seen my guys smile is in practice and when they’re out on the ice being hockey players,” Parker said. “They were dying to play a game. I said to my assistants before the game, it seems like it’s been a month since we played a hockey game, and obviously it has only been a week.”
Ultimately, the team responded well Friday night, as the Terriers trumped the University of Vermont in 5-0 fashion.
BU did not seem quite itself for the entire game. The Terriers and Catamounts played a scoreless first period in which BU seemed more tentative than usual.
There were a few plays in which BU backed away from taking a shot or making a play. Early in the first period, senior captain Chris Connolly carried the puck into the zone, had a shot and opted to pass to junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson, who cycled with the puck and never shot it.
Toward the end of the period, junior forward Ross Gaudet won a race to get to the puck behind the UVM net, but then neglected to do anything with it and had the puck ripped off his stick.
A goal in the second period, however, seemed to kick-start BU into action, and with every passing moment, the Terriers began to look more like themselves. Junior defenseman Sean Escobedo scored his first goal of the season and the first goal of the game at 2:21 in the third period on a low shot that prompted a lengthy review before the officials finally deemed it a good goal. The Terriers added two more tallies in the second period and two goals within 29 seconds of each other in the third to coast to the 5-0 win.
The team was full of smiles after the win, especially when it came to thanking the half-full section of BU fans who made the trip to Burlington, Vt. to support the team. Each player lifted his stick as he came off the ice in the direction of the BU fans, who were plenty loud by the end of the game.
Although the players clearly appreciated the support from their fans, they also acknowledged that one of the perks to playing Vermont this weekend was the ability to get out of town for a few days.
“It was nice just to get away from Boston I think,” Escobedo said. “Just to forget everything that was going on around us was beautiful. I think it was extremely important.
After the game, Parker noted the importance of the win both as a reassurance to himself and as a way to get the team back together.
“I was concerned [before the game],” Parker said. “I didn’t want them feeling sorry for themselves. Getting back together as a team, getting back competing against another really good team and a big rival of ours was really good for us.”