The following is a take of the Boston University Terriers team. Thank you to Sarah Gutherz for her take and preview:
On the heels of a rough season that saw the suspension of the captain, several seniors, and Junior Brandon Yip and a complete breakdown of goaltending, Boston University's Hockey Team is looking to right their ship. Colin Wilson, #7 in this years NHL draft, is returning as is stellar Forward turned Defenseman (and now Captain), Matt Gilroy. They're poised to lead a young team, which features 10 freshmen, including two highly touted goalie, Keiran Millan and Grant Rollheiser. The team will miss the leadership of firecracker "General" Peter MacArthur, but the co-captains (Matt Gilroy and John McCarthy) and assistant captain Brian Strait led the team through the off-season and attempted to foster bonds that will create a united team this season. To quote Coach Parker: "We have the capabilities to be a very strong team, but it will only be if we act like a team," said head coach Jack Parker, who enters his 36th season at the helm of the BU program. "If we are a bunch of individuals, which sometimes crept up last year, we'll never get to where we need to be." Despite rumblings from current and former players, aging coach Jack Parker returns with his support staff of David Quinn, Mike Bavis, and Mike Gerogosian.
At forward, BU returns captain John McCarthy, as well as seniors Brandon Yip (drafted by the Avalanche), Jason Lawrence, and Chris Higgins. Lawrence and Higgins were featured on the first line during BU's exhibition against the University of New Brunswick and high production is expected from both with Colin Wilson centering their line. Sophomore hotshot Nick Bonino returns looking faster and more comfortable on his skates, while freshmen Chris Connolly and Corey Trivino have already put up points this season. Kevin Gilroy, brother of captain Matt, looks like a solid addition to the fourth line. Vinny Saponari, younger brother of sophomore Victor Saponari and hometown team Atlanta Thrashers' draft pick, hopes to continue his scoring trend after being the third highest scorer on the US- National Under-18 team.
On Defense, senior captain Matt Gilroy and junior assistant captain Brian Strait anchor the starting pair. Eric Gryba "Smash" returns to BU as a junior and there are hopes that the Goon from Saskatoon will be turning in more mature performances as he's likely to be paired with Freshman David Warsofsky, St. Louis Blues draft pick from the US- National Under-18 team and local from Marshfield, Mass. Sophomores Kevin Shattenkirk, #14 Draft pick for the Colarado Avalanche, and Colby Cohen return to the team, bringing another year of experience (both have played together since being in the US National Development Program) and were the leading two defensemen in Hockey East for assists. Speedster Steve Smolinsky moves from forward to defenseman and will battle freshman Ryan Ruikka for playing time. With the graduation of senior goalie Karson Gillespie and the departure of sophomore goalie Brett Bennett, goaltending is a open question for the Terriers. Sophomore Adam Kraus played sparing last year (2 starts and logged 118 minutes total on the season), but BU brings in two highly regarded Canadian freshmen, Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser.
BU played it's first exhibition game on Sunday, October 5th against the University of New Brunswick. Lines were: Lawrence-Wilson-Higgins, Connolly-Bonino-Yip, Trivino-McCarthy-Vin Saponari, Glass/K Gilroy-Popko-Pereira. Defensive pairings were: Strait-Gilroy, Cohen-Shattenkirk, and Warsofsky-Gryba. Each freshman goalie played half of the game. Connolly and Trivino each notched goals in the first. McCarthy skated very quickly and appeared to be fired up in his new position as co-captain. Wilson appears to have put on more muscle mass in the offseason and was skating very aggressively throughout the game. Gryba also appears to have grown in the offseason, but did not appear to have improved his skating or defensive ability. Higgins, Lawrence, and Yip again looked sluggish and uninspired, which may allow Trivino to move up to the 2nd line. Millan looked good in goal, but didn't face as much pressure as Rollheiser. He has a quick glove, but doesn't have a lot of horizontal movement. Like former Terrier and current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin starter, John Curry, Millan appears to give up a lot of juicy rebounds, something that UNB did not capitalize on, but could be a problem when BU faces NCAA teams. Rollheiser looked huge in goal (at 6'4") and displayed a quick glove and a lot of movement as well as good coverage of the 5 hole. He faced significantly more pressure as the Terriers seemed to breakdown on offense and defense as the game progressed.