BOSTON — Okay, Boston University fans, keep one phrase in mind: Exhibition games don’t count.
The No. 10 Terriers played especially poorly in the first period and trailed 5-0 through two periods. They did rally with four third-period goals, nearly tying the game in the last couple of minutes, before an empty-net goal sealed a 6-4 win for St. Francis Xavier in front of 4,881 at Agganis Arena.
Six different skaters lit the lamp for the X-Men, while Wade Megan had a great night for BU with two goals. On the whole though, BU’s defense looked shaky, as did goalie Kieran Millan, who stopped just 12 of 17 shots in two periods of play. Grant Rollheiser looked solid in the third, stopping all seven shots he faced as the Terriers rallied.
“It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to start the season,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I didn’t mind the end of the game, the way we came back in the third period. I thought that the stuff that was really positive for us was the play of Grant Rollheiser, and I thought that the freshman forwards [Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues] played really well. They both got banged up at different times, but came back and played well. Besides the two goals, Megan played real well from the opening faceoff to the end of the game.
“The reason the game was a mess for us was because our defense as a whole did not defend, did not move the puck out of the zone very well. They looked like they were trying to get noticed, and they were getting noticed in the wrong way — trying to make too many big plays.”
BU fell behind within the first two minutes on a short-handed goal. A pass to Alexx Privatera at the left point skipped over his stick, leading to a two-on-one break and a goal. That became a 2-0 deficit about three minutes later, when a screened Millan was beaten by a stick-side shot from high in the right-wing circle. The X-Men made it 3-0 at 8:25. Meanwhile, BU had two or three good chances, most notably a Corey Trivino breakaway, but couldn’t find the net.
The Terriers looked much better on the ice in the second period, but not on the scoreboard. A five-on-three shot went through Millan’s five-hole, and then a second short-handed goal in the period’s last 20 seconds proved to be the game winner. Max Nicastro held the puck too long at the point and turned it over, leading to a short-handed rush and a goal. BU put one in ten seconds later, only to have it waved off.
The intermission marked the end of the night for Millan, whose play was uncharacteristically poor.
“That surprised me,” Parker said. “He didn’t seem set from the get-go.” Parker thought that the early short-handed goal might’ve thrown his netminder off.
BU finally came alive in the third period, scoring four straight goals and outshooting their Canadian foes by an 18-8 margin.
First a long Ben Rosen wrister found the net, and then Privatera backhanded the puck in from the slot after a Chris Connolly shot bounced off a defender.
Megan scored his first goal on a beautiful backhander on a right-wing rush, and then he buried Alex Chiasson’s pass behind the net for an extra-attacker goal to bring the Terriers within one goal with 2:42 remaining. After that, BU had its chances, but couldn’t tie it up.
BU opens their season at home next Saturday against New Hampshire. As they were tonight, they will be without Ryan Santana, who is likely to miss all or most of the first semester with a shoulder injury. Ryan Ruikka may be out for a few weeks, and Yasin Cisse may or may not be back next weekend after suffering a mild concussion. “He’s day to day, like we all are,” Parker quipped.