In case you missed it, BU won its regular season opener on Saturday night, beating Colgate 6-1. There’s a lot to unpack from the game, so we offer three thoughts on how David Quinn’s team performed.
1.) Does Jake Oettinger have the starting job? – Not quite yet, but he made a strong case for Quinn to ride the hot hand in the coming weeks. He made 29 saves against the Raiders, and stopped a penalty shot in the second period.
And Oettinger stands tall, denying Penner on the penalty shot. 3-0 still for the Terriers. pic.twitter.com/Q50QOA9Q8Y
— Boston Hockey Blog (@BOShockeyblog) October 8, 2016
As one could expect, he was humble as ever in his postgame interview, saying Connor LaCouvee and Max Prawdzik push him week in and week out. But there’s a larger elephant in the room: Oettinger is likely a high selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. That certainly helps his cause.
2.) The Curry line is for real – While so much attention falls on BU’s top two lines, it’s easy to forget the intensity and grit the third line brings. Freshman Patrick Curry serves as the center and senior Nick Roberto and junior Nikolas Olsson the wingers, forming a threesome that plays full tilt full time.
Of note, Roberto scored BU’s second goal against Colgate, and Quinn’s remarks are the most telling of all. He has so much respect for the effort they bring:
“I thought the Curry line played really well. Curry, Olsson and Roberto played really well, but all four lines played well. I thought McDermott’s line played well, and obviously our top two lines were productive as well.” – Quinn
3.) Tougher tests await – Last night’s win was impressive, but Colgate doesn’t quite represent an intimidating foe. For example, next weekend’s tilts are against the University of Denver, the very same team that bounced BU from the NCAA Tournament last year. Then there’s Hockey East play starting in November, and there’s no easy wins in that conference.
It’s easy to bask in the Terriers’ success right now – perspective is more important, though.
The Small Five
- Brandon Hickey was nursing a small injury, Quinn confirmed in his postgame presser. That explains why he didn’t play against the U.S. NTDP last week, but he’s back at full health now.
“He was dinged up a bit, so we held him out and didn’t want to take a chance. So we just held him out for the U.S. game.” – Quinn
- Speaking of injuries, Quinn confirmed that Ryan Cloonan, Nick Roberto and Oskar Andrén are all nursing injuries.
“Hopefully they’ll be back sooner than later, but they’re all dinged up. [They’re] day to day. Aren’t we all?” – Quinn
- Penalties still a problem for the Terriers, who are adjusting to tighter refereeing. Sure, Colgate didn’t score on one, but a stronger team likely will. Quinn expects that area to improve soon, though.
“It’s early and we have nine freshmen, and it seems like every year I’m trying to figure out who the returning players are who kill penalties, and we’ve only got about three of them. We’ve got a lot of young guys who are learning what we’re trying to accomplish from a penalty kill standpoint, so we’ll work on it again this week.” – Quinn
- One of the media members in attendance last night was ESPN’s Corey Pronman, who specializes in the NHL and prospects. Pronman and Quinn talked a bit after his postgame presser, causing the former to tweet out an interesting tidbit. As Pronman alludes to, Fabbro and McAvoy essentially give BU two quarterbacks on the power play.
BU coach Quinn: With players like (Fabbro and McAvoy) you just want to keep playing them. Said one will always play full 2 min of PP.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) October 9, 2016
- Speaking of Fabbro, it’s astounding how much he shoots the puck. He threw five pucks towards goal last night, finished with a +3 rating and controlled the offensive zone. It’s slowly becoming apparent why the freshman is so highly touted, and even more so why the Nashville Predators drafted him in the first round.