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Boston University Freshman Nick Roberto Ready to Make Impact on Hockey East

Of the nine Boston University freshmen, Wakefield, Mass. native Nick Roberto stood out on Saturday night.

On a night that two freshmen scored the only goals of the game for Boston University, it was one particular rookie forward who really stood out. Kimball Union Academy alum Nick Roberto scored the first goal of the game for the Terriers in their exhibition victory over St. Francis Xavier. He was buzzing all over the ice for the home team in his debut wearing the scarlet and white.

The Wakefield, Mass. native had seven shots on goal in the game, including his first period tally where he whacked in a loose puck from the top of the crease. The front of the net was a spot Roberto found himself in a lot on Saturday night. He stands at just five-feet-nine-inches tall, but he plays a lot bigger than that.

"He's quick, he's hungry, he's competitive, and he's hockey strong. I know he's not big, but he's got great leverage and he's an athlete," said Boston University's first year head coach David Quinn.

Roberto, who started his high school career at Malden Catholic before moving on to KUA, sees himself as a hardnosed player with speed as one of his many assets.

"I'm gritty out there and try to get under people's skin. I'm fast so I try to use my speed to my advantage. On the breakout I'm up high so on the dump-in I can get right in there,"

Roberto is one of nine freshmen who will have a significant impact on the Terriers 2013-14 season and beyond. "I've said all along your success is always tied to your upperclassmen, but since we have nine freshmen, our success is going to be tied to our freshmen," said Quinn.

As senior co-captain Patrick MacGregor said, nerves were certainly a factor, especially for the freshmen, but Roberto looked right at home in his collegiate debut even if he got caught up in the moment before the game.

""I heard the band playing when I was doing my skates so I got a little jittery," said Roberto after the game.

With rookies such as Robbie Baillargeon, Doyle Somerby and Brendan Collier coming to Agganis Arena as NHL Draft picks, Roberto might have slid under the radar screen of some fans. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in hockey instincts.

"He's got great anticipation. I thought he had a great night tonight. He was a guy that was making plays. He's fast, smart and picks things up quickly. I thought he had a really good night," said Quinn.

Roberto had originally committed to Maine before de-committing in April and switching his college choice to BU. It's a match that the Terriers program and Roberto will surely relish for the next four years, if Saturday night was any indication.

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Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.