By Mark Fraenkel
Powered by a strong effort from the freshman class, the Boston University men’s hockey team cruised to victory against the Bentley University Falcons on October 1 at Agganis Arena. Scoring eight goals for the first time since a win over Merrimack in October of last season, BU (1-0-0) dominated Bentley (0-1-0) from the start.
“The players were ready to play, so that obviously made me happy,” head coach Jay Pandolfo said in the post game press conference. “I think that was one of our focuses this year… to start on time. That’s important for us, and I think we did that.”
Saturday night’s 8-2 victory was Pandolfo’s first game at the helm on the Charles River campus, and players and opponents both acknowledged the congratulations due for the new bench boss.
“Congrats to BU and Coach Pandolfo,” Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist said. “He’s a good man. He’s going to do really well here. I was happy to see it, not against us, but I’ve known him for a long time since back in the high school days.”
In a game that was dominated by the newest Terrier class, it took under three minutes to get the scoring started when sophomore defenseman Ty Gallagher passed the puck to freshman forward Quinn Hutson, who opened up the scoring for the Terriers at the crease.
The all-freshman line of Quinn Hutson, Ryan Greene, and Jeremey Wilmer scored four goals in the home opener, and both Pandolfo and Greene commented on the freshmen’s commitment, from practice to game time.
“I can’t say enough how the freshman showed up tonight,” Pandolfo remarked of the group. “They’ve been like that since day one when practice started.”
Greene also commented on the line’s chemistry, mentioning how the three had been playing together leading up to opening night.
“I think practice obviously helps develop chemistry there and you know, obviously, those two guys are smart hockey players.”
About a minute and a half after Quinn Hutson’s goal, senior forward Matt Brown entered the zone and netted a goal past Bentley’s freshman netminder Nicholas Grabko. Then, with under 15 minutes to play in the first, Bentley’s Stephen Castagna was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking. On the ensuing power play, Ryan Greene scored his first career goal– followed seven minutes later by his second career goal– to improve the score to 4-0. Special teams played a huge role in the game, during which the Terriers went 2-7 on the power play compared to Bentley’s 0-6.
Over halfway through, junior goaltender Drew Commesso made an acrobatic save to keep the Falcons off of the scoreboard. Commesso would make 22 saves in a complete game performance.
On a Bentley power play, Nicholas Niemo had a great scoring opportunity in front of the net for the falcons, but junior defenseman Cade Webber ate the puck to block the shot. With the goal detaching from the ground, the referees ruled play dead and a potential Bentley goal did not count. Off a faceoff with 54.7 seconds left in the period, Bentley’s Nick Bochen netted a goal to reduce the BU lead to 4-1.
Less than five minutes into the second period, Wilmer of the freshman line scored his first career goal as a Terrier, upping the BU lead to 5-1. Two minutes later, Harrison Scott retaliated with an unassisted goal to add another tally for the Falcons.
After two missed opportunities from senior defenseman and Terrier captain Domenick Fensore and Brown, junior forward Luke Tuch made it a 6-2 game with a goal assisted by Lane Hutson and senior forward Jay O’Brien.
“I think Tuchy came off the bench and, you know, OB kind of drifted and dropped it off to me,” Lane Hutson said of the play. “Then I saw the play develop a little bit, and Tuchy slid to the right spot so I snapped it off right.”
Just over one minute into the final frame, freshman forward Devin Kaplan scored his first career goal giving the Terriers a 7-2 lead. Senior forward Sam Stevens followed up with a goal of his own to extend the lead to six.
Worth noting was the absence of BU’s senior forward Wilmer Skoog, who was nursing an injury.
“He had an injury in the summertime,” Pandolfo said. “We’re giving him a couple more weeks before Michigan… If it was a playoff game he probably would have played.”
The Terriers came out on top in a dominating 60 minutes of play, and will next face off against the University of Waterloo Warriors on October 8 at 7pm at Agganis Arena for an exhibition game. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog for updates throughout the week.