All photos by Sarah Gordon, DFP Staff
“In general, I was very pleased with our effort in many parts of the game, and for most of the game. I thought we started off a little slow in the first period, in the first six or eight minutes. And then I thought we played really well for the rest of the first period.
“There were times during the course of the game where we looked really, really sharp, and there were other times where I thought we were thinking we’re a little better than we are, thinking we’re better than them. We were taking chances and making foolish passes and turning pucks over that gave them opportunities.
“I thought all three goalies played real well. I thought [USA goalie Jack] Campbell played extremely well, obviously, with the number of saves he had. But they had some great chances, and I thought [Adam] Kraus played real well. He had to make a couple real big saves in the third period.
“I was disappointed in our penalty kill, and I was disappointed in the penalties we took. We didn’t look anywhere near as sharp as we have to be killing penalties, and we certainly took some stupid ones.
“But, it’s the second game of the year, an exhibition game. Not a bad effort. And I got to see some guys that I wanted to see something out of, and see what they were doing. We changed some lines around. We played one group of guys and combinations the first half of the game, and then changed it completely around in the second half of the game. Except for one line, I think every other line had changes.
“I thought the freshmen played pretty well. I thought [Ryan] Santana played very well. It was the first time we’ve seen him as a center. We moved him to center, and he played very well on the fourth line for the second half of the game. I was real pleased with our freshman defensemen. I thought especially [Max] Nicastro played extremely well.”
On the banner-raising ceremony
“I thought it was nicely done. It was nice to have all the trophies out there and let the fans see one more time what a great year last year was. I certainly wanted to do it this night instead of doing it in a real game after we already started the season up at UMass. I wanted to get all that out of the way.
“I don’t mean to take anything away from it, but I just didn’t want our team to be too excited about last year instead of excited about playing a real hockey game. So, it was nice to do it. And the fact that we’re recruiting a couple of the kids on this team didn’t hurt us.
“I was real happy with the crowd. It was a nice crowd here tonight for banner raising. I was worried about that because it was only an exhibition game, but we had a really good crowd tonight. A lot of banners went up, and that’s pretty nice.”
On being the defending national champions
“I don’t think we’re anything except a hockey team trying to find out who we are this year. We were something last year, but that was last year. I hope that’s what we’ll focus on –– where we’re going, not where we’ve been. I think that, in general, we’ve had a pretty good focus so far.
“Somebody writes a book. They gotta read that. Then their rings have to be ordered. And the banners went up and all that stuff. But that was then. This is now. We won a game against a very competitive team. I thought USA Hockey played really well.
“I saw them play last night up at BC for a couple periods. I didn’t see the first period when the coach said they didn’t play real well. I thought they played really well the second and third period last night, and I thought they played really well tonight.
“I liked the guys we have coming here. They played pretty well, too. I thought it was really weird when they introduced the USA team and it was, “Who cares,” and they’re booing everybody. Then all of a sudden, they get to [Matt] Nieto –– “Yay.” And they get to Adam [Clendening], and they give him a cheer, but everyone else gets a boo. Already, they’re Terriers.
“It was a good warmup for us, and it was a good game for them. I certainly was happy with a lot of our guys. I was disappointed in a few guys. I was disappointed with a lot of decision-making at times because we were having our way with them for a while, but then we got careless.
“When you disrespect your opponent, you get beat, or you look foolish. And they made us look foolish a couple times when we turned pucks over at our blue line, thinking we were pretty cool. And all of a sudden, we didn’t realize how good they were. And we didn’t want to give them credit for how good they were.
“If it wasn’t for our goalie, we’d still be playing in overtime or they would’ve won the game. We’re fortunate to get a win, and we’re fortunate to dodge a couple what I would refer to as selfish mistakes.”
On how the players feel about their place in BU history
“I think they have probably felt that way for a while. All our guys think they played on the same team. It doesn’t matter if you played in the 70s or the 90s, we all think we played on the same team.
“That’s been a big part of our program for a long time. That’s something I think was really rewarding last year for them. They got a lot of calls, and we got a lot of calls, from former players saying, ‘We’re really happy for you. We felt like we won it, too.’”
On getting to the net more than last week
“We got around their net a lot. We were making plays in tight. They’ve got four or five defensemen who are going to be NHL defensemen. They may be young, but they’re pretty good and they’re pretty big. So, they did a great job defending, especially in low grade-A. And we were around there a lot.
“So, I was happy with the opportunities we had. When we did get great opportunities, sometimes we fanned on them and sometimes their goalie made great saves. But you have to give them credit for how hard they played in front of the goaltender.
“Time of possession was pretty good for us, and our grade-A compared to their grade-A. But their goalie stood tall and they competed. You talk about bend but don’t break –– we almost got a few goals, but we didn’t.
“But it was different than last week. Last week, we were, ‘Oh, we’ll get the next one.’ But we were trying to get there and we couldn’t tonight.”
On what the lines might be
“I have a little bit of a sense. Actually, before this week, I was concerned about who might be our fourth-line center. I thought Ross Gaudet was gonna be the fourth-line center, but two days before this game, he got hurt.
“I was pretty sure he had won that spot, but now we had [Kevin] Gilroy playing there the first half. He played pretty well. I was really pleased with how Santana played in the second half as the fourth-line center. He gave us a little grit. He played hard down low, and he made a couple nice plays.
“One of those two guys will probably be the fourth-line center. They’ll both be in the lineup, I’m pretty sure, and one will play right wing and one will play center, maybe for each other.”
On what happened to Gaudet
“Gaudet dislocated his left shoulder.”
On whether or not there’s a timetable for his return
“Unfortunately, or fortunately, he’s done it before, and the more it goes out, the easier it goes back in, and the less pain you have and the less swelling you have. But the more it goes out, the easier it goes out the next time, too. He should be back in a couple weeks.”
On whether or not anyone else on the team is a gamebreaker like Bonino
“I don’t think anybody has that capability to the degree that he has. I think Chris Connolly has the ability to create on his own. I think that Vinny Saponari has the ability to create his own. I think that [Corey] Trivino will be able to do that for us.
“The guy that’s been very surprising to me with his offensive opportunities and how he’s been able to create on his own is Andrew Glass. He’s played very well, and he’s made some nice plays.”
On the play of Joe Pereira
“He’s a very feisty guy out there. I think he’s got some offensive capabilities that he’ll get a chance to show some more this year. I think that he’s the type of hockey player we want on our team.
“We’ll take a lot of Joe Pereiras on our team any year, any time, because he plays hard all the time, he plays real smart and he plays for his teammates. If he gets a goal, that’s nice. If somebody else gets a goal, that’s nice. If we win, that’s the best.
“We always talk about how we want guys to be BU hockey players, and you don’t just get to be a BU hockey player by putting the uniform on. We have a certain [idea] in our own minds of what a BU hockey player is, and there’s no question in my mind –– Joe Pereira is a BU hockey player.”
Joe Pereira and Chris Connolly
Pereira on his goal
“Popko won the faceoff, and right before the faceoff he said, ‘We’re going to go off the wall,’ because they’d been trying to catch us off our defensive zone faceoffs. Popko said, ‘Just go up the middle and we’ll try to find you.’ Andy Glass made a great play off the boards and kind of laid it for the defense to commit to me, and I just kind of used it as a screen to put it on net, and I was lucky enough for it to go in.”
Pereira on improvements made since rupturing his spleen last season
“I think confidence. I think sitting and watching the guys play during the Frozen Four –– just kind of sitting back for a little bit watching the game. Sometimes last year, I got a little bit out of control and wasn’t confident with the puck. But now, it doesn’t matter this year if I’m going to play first line or fourth line, I’m just going to try to be more confident, more in control, not run around, trying to take any stupid penalties and get Coach on me.”
Chris Connolly on his goal
“You know, we haven’t had much time to work on our power play. We haven’t had that many practices. We’ve been moving guys in and out trying to see what works and what doesn’t. We were fortunate enough to get it set up pretty well –– started moving the puck around quickly. Dave [Warsofsky] moved it over to Max [Nicastro]. Max almost one-touched it back, which got the goalie out of position, and I just wanted to put it on net. I wasn’t even looking, but just like Joe, I was fortunate enough for it to go in.”
Pereira on the banner raising
“It actually brought back memories. Just sitting on the goal line, you just get chills thinking back to how it happened and the journey we went through with the ups and downs. You think back on the players when you see the parents from last year’s team and you’re like, ‘Wow, we did something special and we’ll be remembered forever together.’ It’s pretty special –– definitely got goosebumps and chills.”
Connolly on the banner raising
“At the same time, we were trying to move on from last year. All we’ve heard all summer is that it’s a new year. What’s happened is in the past, and what we’re trying to do is just do what we did last year, but not talk about last year’s team because that was last year’s team. But you know, it definitely brings back memories when you see the video highlights and things like that.”
Pereira on his comfort with early season line shuffling
“I think it’s still a feeling out thing. I don’t think Coach even knows . . . I’m pretty sure I’m locked in with Luke [Popko] for the rest of my career. I think Mike Bavis loves us together, so I don’t know if we’ll ever go split up.”
Connolly on his comfort with early season line shuffling
“We’ve done a lot of moving guys in and out . . . We’re still feeling it out. There’s still a few guys fighting for spots –– there’s a lot of guys still fighting for spots. We had guys step up and play real well tonight and, you know, it’ll be interesting for the first few games, anyways, to see what Coach is going to do and see if we get any combinations to click.”
Connolly on which freshman is making a strong impression
“Max Nicastro definitely is really standing out. As you can see, he’s getting some power-play time and he’s doing a good job. All the other guys are still working hard to try to make an impact on this team. There’s a lot of open spots from last year, and any night, they can be called upon, so they’re all working very hard . . . Everybody’s still working hard to try to solidify their spot on the team to be in the lineup every night.”
Pereira on which freshman is making a strong impression
“[Sean] Escobedo, too. You know he’s just a mean, stay-at-home defenseman.”
Pereira on killing penalties with Popko
“I just listen to Luke. I go where he tells me to go. He’s the specialist of that. When the puck gets dumped, he’s not going to go, he says. He says, ‘That’s all you,’ so I just go there, chase the puck and, I mean, playing with Luke is easy because he’s so good defensively. He’s good on faceoffs. You know he’s always going to be there to support you, so it’s pretty simple.”