By Scott McLaughlin and Jake Seiner, DFP Staff/All photos by Isabel Slepoy, DFP Staff
“I was really happy with our overall effort as far as poise with the puck and some basic team things we practiced. We only had three days of practice, and we did pretty well. We did pretty well on our breakouts and we did pretty well on our D-zone coverage.
“I was disappointed with one major thing, and that is, as the game progressed we were having our way with them on shots, and it appeared as if we thought, ‘Well, we’ll get the next goal. We’ll get the next goal.’ We never really went after it to make sure we got the next goal. We thought it would come easy. Their goaltender played extremely well, and then we took some stupid penalties.
“I’m amazed that we outshot them 53 to 16. That’s hard to do when you lose 43 faceoffs. We were horrible on faceoffs. We won 26 and we lost 43, and usually teams do a good job generating offense off faceoffs. But we did a good job blocking shots. The worst part of our game was how inept we were on faceoffs.
“We got a chance to see some freshman play and some guys, sophomores, who didn’t play much last year as freshmen, and I thought they all played pretty well. I thought all the freshman defensemen played very well. There was probably less pressure on them as far as pace of the game than there was on our forwards because the game was going at such a pace that the puck was always in their end because we’re on them and we’re forechecking them and getting control of the puck. And they’re playing defense and they’re playing really hard defensively in their own end.
“So, every time our forward got a puck, there was a guy all over him, and every time one of our defensemen got a puck, there wasn’t anyone all over him because they weren’t forechecking us that hard. They were just kind of sitting back with a one-man forecheck. I thought the speed of the game didn’t bother the rookie defensemen, but the speed of the game did bother the rookie forwards. I don’t mean up and down. I mean how quick you have to think. Some of our freshman forwards didn’t quite have what will get to be a better feel for the speed of the game.”
On the play of St. Francis Xavier goalie Joseph Perricone
“I’m glad we didn’t get 53 shots on us. I thought their goalie played well. I thought we shot it into him a lot, too, but he made some very nice saves.”
On line combinations
“I know that the lines will be different next game for two reasons. One, the Saponari brothers will be back. Their grandfather died, so those guys were at home for the last three days. So, those two guys will play next week and that’ll give us two other guys who will be out of the lineup. We dressed an extra forward tonight. It’ll be interesting if we’re not able to do that again. Otherwise, there’ll be three forwards who don’t play next week.
“I’m going to try to get Bonino different wings next weekend, give Trivino different wings next weekend and I’ll give Popko different wings next weekend just to see how they fare with somebody else. Nothing is set in stone except that Bonino and Trivino will be the first two line centers and the first two line left wings will be Cohen and Connolly. After that, it’s a toss up on who’s going to play the right wing on those lines and who’s going to fill out the other lines. There’s lots of ice time to be won or lost in these next couple weeks.”
On the play of Zach Cohen
“Our coaching staff, the first thing we said when we went into the dressing room, ‘Best player on the ice –– Zach Cohen. Best player on the ice –– Zach Cohen.’ He played extremely well.”
On the penalty kill
“We practiced a little bit yesterday. We showed [the freshmen] the last power plays we killed against Miami and how we worked and how we play our system. So, they looked at that and came out with a better idea of what we want to do. Then we also have a bunch of guys who killed penalties last year. The freshman defensemen were a little bit tentative, but everybody else played pretty hard. It’s not as if it’s all new to everybody. We have a few freshmen, but for the most part I was confident they’d be OK there.”
On the play of Joe Pereira
“He’s making a bid to play on the first two lines. He knows he’s going to be on the first three lines, but he’d like to be on the first two. He’s playing hard and playing with a little more confidence with the puck. He was very noticeable tonight speed wise. You’d like to see a little more get accomplished out of all that, though.”
On the freshman defensemen
“I expect them all to play well. We recruited them. We know who they are. We’ve seen them play in the past. They all kind of played up to the style we thought they were. Rosen’s a more clever guy with the puck and not a real physical defenseman. Escobedo’s a very physical defenseman. And Nicastro’s a very, very physical defenseman. I thought they all handled the puck well. I thought Nicastro did a good job with the puck. I thought Escobedo probably looked the most poised out of all of them out there, but I thought Ben played well and I though Max played well.”
On the status of Colby Cohen
“Colby could’ve played this week, but we didn’t want to rush him back. So, Colby will play next week and one of those three freshman defensemen won’t play.”
On getting away from crashing the net as the game went on
“I thought we had a lot of shots in close in the first period. I thought as the game progressed, we were getting a little too clever and taking the 30-foot shot and not getting to the net and not looking for rebounds. There were rebounds to be had and we weren’t nearly as on top of it as we were in the first period. One of the disappointing things, and I said this to my team, about the game was we appeared as if we wanted to make some pretty goals or some easy goals, and we didn’t really work hard enough to go get the four-foot goal.
“We wanted to take the 25-foot shot or make the great pass, but in reality, goals are scored from two feet out most of the time, not 30 feet out. You’ve got to work a little more and that’s what Trivino did. Trivino was there for the rebound and made a great play, and he didn’t get it from 30 feet.”
St. Francis Xavier coach Brad Peddle
“I was hugging my goalie when he came into the room. We came into this knowing what we were up against, the defending national champs. I liked how our guys competed from start to finish and just found a way at the end to tie the game. I thought both sides had some pretty good chances late to win it. But overall, I’m pretty pleased with our guys and the effort they put forth against a very, very formidable opponent. I can see that after last year’s national championship, what’s left of that team is gonna carry this team a long way for Boston University. We were pretty impressed with them and really thrilled that we had the opportunity to come down and play them.”
On BU’s three-minute power play near the end of the first
“The first period kind of turned when we took those three penalties because the shots were 6-3 or whatever at that time. But then we took those three penalties in a row, and I think they had 12 shots on net in pretty much three minutes of zone time in our own end. So, they’re starting to wear down our D a little bit there in the first. After the first period, we had a good meeting in the locker room and talked about just playing 5-on-5 hockey. We were lucky to get out of that with them just scoring one. I think that re-energized our group and in the second period, we came out and started playing much better.”
On the feeling-out process
“We usually come down every year and play these games against Hockey East teams, and it’s usually that the first part of the game is a feeling-out process for both teams. I thought our guys were probably standing around a little bit watching the national champs for a little bit. As the game got going and we got into it and it was close, I think our guys started thinking, ‘Hey, let’s turn it up a notch here. Let’s start skating with these guys.’ I think that’s when it started to really open up. It was pretty exciting there in the third period when it was going back and forth. We’re pretty happy with being able to be in that game and also having the chance late to win.”
On the non-playing of the Canadian national anthem
“I can’t say it’s disrespect because this a very, very classy organization. I’m sure it was just a miscue on someone’s behalf. There were a few guys looking back at me, saying, ‘What’s going on here?’ And I just said, ‘Just don’t worry about it, guys. Just play the game.’ Then Coach Jack sent his captain over to explain what had happened. Those types of things happen. Of course we would’ve liked to here the anthem, but I know a classy guy like Jack Parker’s not gonna do that purposely.”
On his new pads, which featured a “B” on one side and a “U” on the other
“They’re a little different from what I wore last year. They have an interesting design on them, a little flashy. I like them. I have another helmet coming in this week, so hopefully that one will match well with the pads.”
On how he picked them out
“Actually, some of my teammates kind of chose it. They looked through catalogs of custom designs and they thought that one looked good with the BU colors, so I went with it. I guess it was a good choice. They liked it.”
On the performance of BU’s freshman defensemen
“I was actually really surprised at how well they played. Obviously, defense is a pretty tough position to adapt to new speeds and new players coming in and faster forechecks. But they did a really good job, especially at using the time that they had and making quick decisions and getting the puck out. I thought our breakout was actually really good even though we’ve only had really one practice or a couple practices. I think as the year goes, they’ll get even better, but I was very impressed with what I saw tonight.”
On how he thinks the team performed
“Great. I mean, it’s frustrating to tie obviously, even in an exhibition game. But we came out and competed hard. It was the first game for all the freshmen, and they played really well. We ran into a hot goalie, but I think we played hard the whole game.”
On his first-period goal
“I just went to the net with my stick down like coach [Mike] Bavis preaches in practice. The puck just bounced out and I was lucky to get a stick on it.”
On how St. Francis Xavier got back in the game
“I think they kind of just settled down. They were bringing the puck out a little easier. I don’t know. We pressed them the whole game, but it seemed like we tried to get a little cute as the game went on, and they were able to steal the puck and go the other way. I think we had a lot of success early, just getting the puck to the net and going to the net. But then we started trying to make the pretty play, and it didn’t really work out too well for us.”
On how the team’s staying focused on this year and not last year
“Just looking forward. We’re not trying to downplay how last year went, but we can’t really think about that if we’re gonna have any success this year. So, we’ve just been kind of keeping guys focused on what’s ahead. Now we’re focused on U.S.A. and then on UMass. We’re not really gonna think about how good we were last year or how awesome things went at the end last year.”
On how the forwards are coming together
“It’s good. We have a lot of forwards on this team who are really good, and some of them last year didn’t get as big of an opportunity to play because we had such a deep lineup. So, it’s gonna be interesting to see who can step into what position and what role this year. We have 15 forwards. Tonight, 13 of them played well. And we’ll get the Saponari brothers back next week, and they’ll have a shot to get an opportunity. So, it’s really good. It’s looking good at this point.”