BOSTON — Referee Tim Benedetto may need to invest in a new whistle after Friday’s “friendly” exhibition game: He appeared to be on the brink of needing one after just one period of the preseason.
Boston University and St. Francis Xavier combined for 28 penalties and two game misconducts in the first period alone as the Terriers beat the X-Men 4-0 in front of a crowd of 2,019 at Walter Brown Arena. By the end of the night, the clubs amassed a whopping four game misconducts, 44 penalties, and 133 penalty minutes.
“I thought we were going to be here until two o’clock in the morning,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “Just what you don’t what to get involved in the first game of the year, but it settled down a little bit as the game progressed.
“We still took some stupid penalties, and we’re not going to win games against teams taking penalties like that,” Parker added. “But there was a lot of aggravation going on out there; I could see why some guys were losing it a little bit.”
Pat Aufiero led the Terriers with three points, while freshman recruit Justin Maiser added a goal and an assist. Sean Fields and Andy Warren combined for the shutout but only faced 13 shots.
“That’s a real good number; I was really pleased with our effort,” Parker said. “I thought [Fields] played well. I thought our defensemen made it pretty easy for our goaltender actually because they played so well defensively as a team.”
Of course, it’s difficult to assess the Terriers given how little we know about the X-Men, who are more of an X-factor to most observers of the U.S. college hockey scene.
“I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape, but this game doesn’t tell much, no,” Parker said.
In a first period bogged down by continual minor penalties and a major brawl in front of the St. Francis Xavier net, the Terriers had the majority of the scoring chances but didn’t dominate the team from Nova Scotia.
Senior defenseman Pat Aufiero had a good first period in the offensive end, setting up two strong scoring chances with excellent skating and passing.
Ryan Whitney–one of four BU recruits from the U.S. National Program–used his size and reach effectively playing the point on an early power play, passing well and showing a good shot.
“I was real happy with the freshman; I was real happy with Aufiero and Dyment,” Parker said. “I thought they played extremely well.”
At 13:37, perhaps inevitably, tempers exploded on the ice with Terrier freshman Justin Maiser and X-Men goalie Dwayne Bateman in the middle of it. When order was restored, Whitney and X-Man Eric Braff received game misconducts while just about everyone else got a minor.
Altogether, the period was ugly, as the two teams piled up 14 penalties apiece and 75 penalty minutes. Terrier co-captain Mike Pandolfo also suffered a minor shoulder separation in the period and sat out the rest of the game, but he is expected back for next weekend’s action.
The second period passed uneventfully for the first nine minutes, though the Terriers seemed to be wearing down the X-Men, who kept getting themselves in trouble in the sin bin. Eventually BU capitalized.
Enjoying a five-on-three advantage for 42 seconds, the Terriers finally got an overdue first goal at 9:25. Aufiero took a slapshot from the right point. Bateman made the initial save, but another of the Terriers’ highly-touted recruits–left wing Justin Maiser–fought hard to knock in the rebound for his first goal while wearing the scarlet and white.
The X-Men countered with consecutive chances at the 15-minute mark, as Fields made a pad save on Guy Loranger’s backhander and Yanick Evola threatened to score on the rebound. Terrier sophomore Gregg Johnson buried Evola from behind, knocking the forward into the post. Johnson drew a five-minute major and the third game misconduct of the night.
St. Francis Xavier had a five-on-three advantage for the last 50 seconds but didn’t seriously threaten.
At 5:26, Jack Baker had his second breakaway bid of the night. Shorthanded, Baker went in on Bateman and beat him five-hole to make good on the chance to give the Terriers a 2-0 cushion.
The Terriers added a power-play goal at 10:02 on a scene reminiscent from the previous period. Once again, Aufiero took a slapshot from the right point while Maiser crashed the net. It looked as if Maiser likely had his second goal of the night, but the goal was credited to Aufiero. Maiser and fellow frosh Brian McConnell got the assists this time.
Third-string goalie Andy Warren replaced Fields with 6:13 left in the period and made one nice save.
For good measure, Benedetto threw out the fourth player of the night with less than three minutes left, as X-Men winger Kurt Walsh drew a misconduct and a game misconduct.
Frantisek Skladany rounded out the scoring with 48.7 seconds left in the game, converting freshman David Klema’s pass from behind the net on a bang-bang play.
On the left shoulders of their jerseys, the Terriers wore black armbands with the initials of Mark Bavis. The former Terrier player was killed aboard United Airlines Flight 175 on September 11. Bavis’ twin brother Mike is an assistant coach for the Terriers, and Parker enjoyed an especially close relationship with Mark. Friday’s game proved to be a welcome opportunity to get back to business after an incredibly difficult month.
“Yeah, I think it’s nice to get going with the rest of our lives, and the rest of our lives is hockey … that’s what we do,” Parker said. “I think it’s good for the players, and I think it’s great for Mike Bavis to be able to focus on the game and get involved in practices. Hopefully, we certainly don’t forget, but …. It’s good to get going, that’s for sure.”
The Terriers open their season at home next Saturday night with a nonconference game against RPI.