Three up, three down from Sunday’s exhibition win over Toronto

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Three Up

Power play
If one thing went right for the Boston University men’s hockey team in Sunday’s 5–0 win over the University of Toronto, it was the team’s success on the power play. Sure, the team had 11 opportunities to capitalize with the man advantage, but the Terriers capitalized on five of those opportunities, providing all of the team’s scoring.

Perhaps the best part of the power-play performance for the Terriers was the fact that five different people scored goals on the day. Junior forward Matt Nieto, freshman forward Mike Moran and sophomore forwards Yasin Cissé, Evan Rodrigues and Cason Hohmann all scored goals on the power play.

“Sometimes we over-coach the power play. So it’s good to let them just go out and play,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We think we’re going to have a real good power play because we had, in league games last year, the best power play in the league last year.

The team’s different options on the power play will make decisions a lot easier in the future for Parker, as the team showed it has many different players who can help the power play.

While the spotlight was on the success of the power play overall, it was the two freshmen defensemen, Matt Grzelcyk and Ahti Oksanen, who made the power play work.

In the first period alone, Grzelcyk recorded two assists while Oksanen added one of his own. Oksanen’s came on a blistering slap shot that was tipped in by Rodrigues.

Grzelcyk was only player who stood out in particular, as he was named the No. 3 star of the game with his two assists.

“I’ve liked Matt Grzelcyk since he was at Belmont Hill,” Parker said. “I knew he was going to be a real good college player and we’re very happy to have him here, and he’s going to be a terrific freshman for us.”

It was not just the freshman defensemen making an impact on the power play though, as freshman forward Mike Moran flipped a rebound off the back of goaltender Brett Willows and into the net for a goal. Moran was not even starting on a regular line in the game, as he was listed as an extra forward before the game.

It was a small sample size against a team that was not on the same level as BU, but the freshmen certainly looked like they were ready to contribute at the collegiate level on Sunday.

Sunday’s game did not give a great insight into what to expect from freshmen goaltenders Matt O’Connor and Sean Maguire this season, as they did not have much work to do on the day.

O’Connor played the first half of the game, making five saves in the effort, none of which were particularly notable. Maguire got more work than O’Connor, but not by much, making 12 total saves.

The pairing earned a shutout as a group, but Parker focused on another aspect of the goalies’ game.

“The thing we really wanted to see … was the ability to stop the puck behind the net for the defensemen and set it up or move it for them. I thought that both goalies handled the puck pretty well and that was important,” he said.

Parker did not say who will start Saturday’s season-opener against Providence College.

Three down

If the Terriers continue to take as many penalties as they did Sunday night, the team’s penalty killing units will get a lot of ice time throughout the season.

That is because the Terriers took 22 total penalties on the game, amounting to 58 minutes with a man in the penalty box. The only reason it did not hurt the Terriers on Sunday was because Toronto took more penalties than the Terriers did, as they totaled 28 penalties for 94 yards.

“This is a game in which there were way too many penalties, but I thought the refs kept it [under control],” Parker said.

One of those penalties was a game misconduct for Cissé, who was involved in a fight behind Toronto’s goal in the third period. Cissé’s penalty was a game misconduct, though, and not a disqualification, which means he will not miss Saturday’s season-opener.

Even strength
While the Terriers’ power play worked well in the win, the team finished the game without an even-strength goal on Sunday.

That fact was partly due to the number of penalties taken in the game by both teams, as there was not much time played at even strength in the game. However, the Terriers did total 27 shots at even strength on Sunday without scoring.

The success on the power play was a good sign for the Terriers, but it left BU without a good look at its offense while playing five-on-five.

BU earned a blowout win in its preseason game, but a lot of that had to do with the quality of the competition they faced.

Toronto had just finished a tough loss to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell the night before and were likely tired entering Sunday’s game. Even at full strength, the Varsity Blue would have come into the game as underdogs, making Sunday’s win next to meaningless for BU.

“They obviously played like a tired team, and we were pretty sharp,” Parker said following the win.