CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The Boston College Eagles, fresh off their third consecutive Frozen Four appearance last year, opened the 2000-2001 season in style with a 6-2 exhibition win over Acadia University on Friday at the Conte Forum.
According to Eagles coach Jerry York, the game was as good as he could have expected for an exhibition contest.
“I thought the pace of the game was really quick,” said York, who opened his seventh season as coach of the Eagles. “We were able to wear them down, we played well defensively and our special teams looked real good early.”
The Eagles’ top line of Krys Kolonos (goal, assist), Marty Hughes (goal, two assists) and Brian Gionta (three assists), a line that will be relied upon heavily in the upcoming regular season, totaled eight points, figuring in four of the six Eagle goals.
“I think we’ve got some good depth, but we’ll depend on [the top] line this year,” York said.
Hughes, who was named the game’s No. 1 star, is a converted defenseman. He made the transition to forward halfway through last season, much to York’s liking.
“Marty, I think you can see getting more comfortable at forward,” said York, who also said he was impressed with the play of rookie defensemen Brett Peterson and J.D. Forrest.
Both players were heavily recruited by the Eagles, and will have the chance to make an impact on the Eagle blueline immediately. Defenseman Brooks Orpik, drafted in the first round of this year’s NHL Entry Draft, is currently sidelined with a groin injury, and is, according to York, “day-to-day.” Top defensive recruit Joe Schuman will also miss some time, as he recently underwent knee surgery and is expected to be out for the first month of the season.
Boston College, attempting to get a complete look at the goaltending staff, played all three goaltenders. Senior Scott Clemmensen (three saves) started the game and played the first period, recording the win. Tom Egan (five saves) played the second period and Tim Kelleher (five saves) finished the night.
The Eagles struck first early on the power play when Mike Lephart scored from the top of the left faceoff circle. Krys Kolanos found Lephart unguarded with a cross-ice pass that the senior winger one-timed past a moving Acadia netminder Mark Cairns 3:28 into the game.
Acadia nearly tied the game less than three minutes later when a freak deflection off Eagles center Ales Dolinar was headed to the corner of the net. But Clemmensen dove across the crease to push the shot wide and preserve the lead.
Offensive chances continued throughout the period, though heavily favored the Eagles, who outshot the Axemen 14-3 in the frame.
The Eagles extended their lead at 3:08 when Kolanos made the best of a Gionta blocked shot. Skating through the center of the ice two-on-two, Gionta attempted to simply throw the puck on net. When the Acadia defenseman deflected the shot, Kolanos was Johnny on the Spot and wristed the puck inside the left post for the 2-0 lead.
That opened the floodgates for the Eagles. At 6:39, an all-freshman combo of Ty Hennes, Tony Voce, and Forrest connected to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead. It was Hennes that banged home the rebound of Voce’s shot over the Cairns’ shoulder.
Marty Hughes, already with two assists on the game, registered his first goal at 8:12. After taking a pass on the right-hand faceoff dot, Hughes wristed a shot over Cairns’ glove to extend the Eagle lead to four through two periods.
In the third period, sophomore defenseman Anthony D’Arpino finished off a Gionta feed at 3:51 to extend the Eagles lead to 5-0.
Acadia’s Chad Cavanaugh ended the Eagles’ bid for a combined shutout with only 5:17 remaining. The sophomore put a hard wrist shot from a Todd Row feed through the legs of Kelleher to close the gap to 5-1.
Two minutes later, Barkley Sauter made a nifty move to fool Kelleher and beat him on the right side between blocker and post to make the score 5-2.
Ben Eaves accounted for the final goal of the night as his shot trickled past Cairns to account for the 6-2 final.
The Eagles will begin their season on the road next weekend when they face rival Notre Dame in the Maverick Stampede. BC does not return to the Conte Forum until Oct. 27, when they face WCHA-foe Wisconsin in a re-match of last year’s NCAA West Regional final.