BOSTON — Handily beating a University of Toronto team that had traveled 10 hours to play two games in two days doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of the 2012-2013 hockey season.
But for a Boston University program that is eager to turn the page on a difficult offseason, it had to feel good to drop the puck and play 60 minutes of solid hockey.
In front of a modest afternoon crowd of 3,351 at Agganis Arena, BU scored five power-play goals for a 5-0 win against Toronto. Sophomore defensemen Alexx Privitera led the way with three assists, while freshman blueliners Matt Grzelcyk and Ahti Oksanen added two assists apiece.
“They obviously looked like a tired team and we looked pretty sharp,” said BU coach Jack Parker, starting his 40th year behind the bench. “There was a territorial advantage, a shots advantage and a goals-for advantage that was obvious.”
BU had a total on nine freshmen in the lineup today, including the new goaltending tandem of Matt O’Connor and Sean Maguire. The goalies weren’t tested much, as the Terriers outshot the Varsity Blues by a 50-17 margin in an exhibition that was riddled with penalties as usual.
Still, there was plenty of good news from Parker’s vantage point.
“When you’re playing this exhibition game, you’re always interested to see how guys will react, interested to see how the freshmen look, changing lines every period to get guys playing with different guys,” said Parker. “We’re still trying to evaluate who’s going to be where, but in general, everybody played well.
“When it was obvious we could control the puck, nobody got selfish. Nobody got trying to do too much or trying to show off. That was the best part of it, I thought.”
Matt Nieto looked great in the early going, converting a one-time slap shot after getting teed up for the first goal. For now, the top line is Sahir Gill centering with Nieto on the left wing and Yasin Cisse on the right wing.
Sophomore Evan Rodrigues also had several chances in the period and finally scored when he tipped in an Oksanen shot.
Toronto goalie Brett Willows made a great save on Privitera in the second period, only to have Cisse bury the rebound. Just 13 seconds later, freshman Matt Moran banked a shot in off of Willows’ pad to make it 4-0 to effectively end the game. Sophomore Cason Hohmann showed his strong skating throughout the game and was rewarded with the fifth goal in the third.
Parker readily agreed that it felt good to get the schedule underway. After putting into place several changes based on a university task force’s recommendations following two off-ice incidents, the program was ready to turn the page. But then last month, someone on the task force leaked its confidential findings to the Boston Globe and the program had to contend with the fallout.
“It’s nice to be getting after the games and starting to compete and do what we’re supposed to be doing here,” Parker said. “We’ve dealt with that over the last year. I was hoping we’d be finished with it when we started this year because that team had to deal with it all of last year. I think this team has handled that well, too.”
BU starts off its regular-season and league schedule with a home game against Providence next Saturday.