By Caroline Fernandez
Following a dominating 8-2 victory over the Bentley University Falcons last weekend, it’s clear that BU Hockey is back and in a big way. Here are some takeaways from the Terriers home opener on Saturday.
1. The freshmen are here to play
One of the central storylines heading into this season was the number of veterans the 2022-23 Terriers would boast, but ultimately, it was the freshmen who made the difference. This Terrier team has six freshmen, three of whom are drafted, (Ryan Greene to Chicago, Lane Hutson to Montreal and Devin Kaplan to Philadelphia), but it wasn’t just the draftees who made an impact. All of the first years, aside from Lachlan Getz, dressed, and all five of them recorded two or more points in the Bentley game. The Terriers are lucky in that they have a strong veteran group with 17 upperclassmen to lead the way, but it’s clear that the freshmen are playmakers with strong Hockey IQs, and a whole lot of potential.
2. Smaller teams rely on skill and speed
BU hockey has always been smaller and younger than other college hockey teams, and with an average height of 5’8 and weight of 188, the 2022 squad is no different. BU has built a team identity around speed and skill. We’ve seen it a lot in recent years with guys like Domenick Fensore, Nick Zabaneh, and Logan Cockerill, and it looks like we’ll continue to see it this year with Jeremy Wilmer and Lane Hutson. These smaller guys seem to be the breakout guys– Fensore and Zabaneh are fast and tend to start the offensive rush. Lane Hutson’s puck management in the Bentley zone on Saturday night was unbelievable. I wish we had stats on his puck possession and time on ice, but the three assists in his first college hockey game make the same point: the skill level and speed of this team shouldn’t go unnoticed.
3. Terrier Nation is back
In my four years at BU, albeit two of them were deep in a pandemic, I have never seen Agganis Arena the way it was on Saturday night. BU students and hockey fans alike have been deprived for the last two years, and it’s clear that people have missed this team. The Dogpound was overflowing to the point where people had to sit on the other side of the ice, the band had a brand new pregame show that got the audience fired up like I’ve never seen, and the players were ready to go from the start. Whether it was the excitement of the crowd that got the team ready to go or if it was a prepared and talented Terrier Hockey team that got the fans excited, the environment in Agganis was, in a word, loud. BU has struggled to get fans in seats recently, so hopefully this win gets people excited to come back and that excitement snowballs into a great season in a packed arena.
This was a game between a top 15 team in the country and a team that ranked 8th of 10 in Atlantic hockey. The Terriers ease into this year with a game against Bentley and then an exhibition against the University of Waterloo, and while it’s nice to have a dominating win to start the season (and I don’t want to discredit those teams), the win should be taken with a grain of salt. We saw the team get frustrated and take stupid penalties, and it looked like they got tired and started to slow down in the second. There’s still work to be done as the guys find their groove, but a win is a win, and there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to this team.