Sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera was suspended from the men’s hockey team for the rest of the season Thursday. Privitera had received a game misconduct penalty in Monday’s game against Harvard University for kneeing. He also received a game disqualification penalty for kicking earlier in the year against the University of Denver.
BU coach Jack Parker said he’d told Privitera after that suspension that he’d be suspended if he had another on-ice incident (a deal Parker said he also has with junior assistant captain Garrett Noonan).
Parker said he waited to hand down the official ruling on the length of Privitera’s suspension because he wanted to talk with Privitera and his mother, which he did Thursday.
After the Denver game, Privitera sat out for one NCAA-mandated game and another handed down by Parker. Parker also benched him earlier in the year, after the team’s series with the University of North Dakota, for an incident in which a North Dakota fan claimed Privitera hit him with his stick.
“I wouldn’t say he was real upset [to find out] because I think he knew because of the conversation we had previously,” Parker said. “He knew this was an incident that would cause him great trouble.”
Privitera leads the team in penalty minutes with 74. He also has two goals and 10 assists to go with a conference-leading 72 blocked shots.
“He’s a good kid, a great friend of a lot of ours, but we’re just doing the best we can to move on,” senior captain Wade Megan said. “I’m sure it affected some people more than it affected others, just because his classmates, obviously they saw him every day, they were around him every day, back at the dorm and stuff like that, but we’re just going to try to move forward.”
Senior defenseman Sean Escobedo, who has been Privitera’s partner on the top defensive pairing for most of the year, will play with senior Ryan Ruikka instead on Friday.
“[I’m] obviously a little sad,” Escobedo said. “You don’t want to see a good friend like that and a good teammate go, but you hope it’s the right decision for the team.”
Parker has spoken recently of confidence and motivation issues that have worsened BU’s recent struggles, but he said he doesn’t think Privitera’s dismissal will change any of that.
“I don’t know if he is the problem in the dressing room,” Parker said. “His problems were on the ice. He was taking stupid penalties and being undisciplined. So I have no idea. I think he is a well-liked kid on the team.”
Privitera’s situation is complicated by the fact that his brother, Jarrid, is expected to come to BU next year. Parker said that if the elder Privitera decides not to return to the team next year, he expects that Jarrid won’t be coming either.
Privitera is now the third midseason “departure” from the Terriers this year, although the first two – Yasin Cisse and Wes Myron – were voluntary. That leaves BU with just one spare player on the roster, and with senior forward Jake Moscatel injured, they will dress every healthy skater they have on Friday in Maine.
“It’s very easy to stay together and be best friends and be close when things are going well, but when things are going badly it’s harder to stay together, and I think it’s times like these that you really find out a lot about yourself and a lot about your teammates,” Megan said.