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BU set to open season against Dutchmen

BU and Union will face off for the second time in program history.

Nikolas Olsson
Nikolas Olsson
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In wake of his team’s 4-2 exhibition win over Acadia last Saturday, No. 2/3 Boston University head coach David Quinn admitted that it’s been hard to truly assess the potential of the 2015-16 Terriers.

He’ll certainly be looking for more clarity when his club opens the regular season with a Saturday-night showdown against Union College in Schenectady.

"It was a funny game," Quinn said of BU’s game against Acadia. "You always want to win, but we certainly didn’t prepare for that game the way we normally do. We had 8:00 breakfast, practice at 10:00 and then played at 4:00. We would never do that.

Quinn added: "We’ll know an awful lot more about our team after Saturday night than we do today. Just because you can’t really gauge after a game like that."

Saturday’s contest will stand as the Terriers’ first-ever visit to Messa Rink, and just the second meeting overall between BU and Union.

>Historically, the Terriers have excelled in their season premiers, compiling a record of 20-5-1 in their last 26 openers, including a current streak of five straight victories.

While there is only so much that one can take away from an exhibition game, there’s no denying that BU’s freshmen made their presence felt against the Axemen, accounting for three of BU’s goals, including a pair from center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.

He may not have registered any points in his BU debut, but freshman winger Jordan Greenway was a behemoth out on the ice. Paired on the first line alongside seniors Danny O’Regan and Ahti Oksanen, the 6-foot-5 Greenway showed why he was a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, firing four shots on goal while wrecking havoc in the slot.

"Jordan’s got all the ability in the world," Quinn said. "I think anybody who watches him sees that. … Most freshmen, it takes time to make an adjustment. I thought he played well. I think his best hockey is ahead of him. The sky’s the limit for him, but not unlike most freshmen, he’s got a lot to learn."

Quinn noted that he expects to put Greenway on BU’s first line for the foreseeable future, but did not name a starter in net, as of Thursday evening. Senior captain Matt Grzelcyk (knee) stands as the only Terrier sidelined due to injury, while junior forward Nick Roberto and sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato will not play, per coach’s decision.

>The Dutchmen have already kicked off their regular season, settling for a 1-1 draw against Sacred Heart University Friday night.

While Union will miss the offensive contributions of Hobey Baker finalist Daniel Ciampini  (26 G, 24 A), it still returns many of the same contributors that helped orchestrate the 13th-best offense in the nation last year.

Junior forward Mike Vecchione returns as Union’s top playmaker, earning a spot on CHN’s preseason All-America First Team after notching 50 points last season. Junior classmate Jeff Taylor stands as one of the most dynamic blue liners in the country, finishing seventh amongst Div. 1 defensemen with 31 points in 2014-15.

The Dutchmen lost long-time netminder Colin Stevens to graduation, giving both junior Alex Sakellaropoulos and freshman Jake Kupsky a chance to make an impression between the pipes. Sakellaropoulos got the nod against the Pioneers, stopping 17 shots in the draw.

"They’re obviously a team that has had a lot of success," Quinn said of Union. "They got a lot of experience. .... It’s going to be a hostile environment, there’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm in that building. They’re a team that can beat anybody. We had a great game with them here last year, and I’m not expecting anything less Saturday night."