Breaking in six new faces to the lineup, Boston University escaped a hard fought exhibition game against Acadia with a 4-2 win. Three of the four Terrier goals were scored by freshmen, including two by Boston Bruins draft pick Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.
The two goals given up by BU could somewhat be blamed on freshmen mistakes made by two of the rookies, but overall, it was a good first showing for the six newcomers to the scarlet and white.
Forsbacka Karlsson had the last two goals of the game, including the game-winner. On his first goal he drove the net on a rush. He was the beneficiary of a beautiful pass from A.J. Greer that split the needle through several Axemen defenders. Later in the third period he was hauled down as he came out of the penalty box. On the ensuing penalty shot, he made a beautiful deke to give BU a 4-2 lead.
Forsbacka Karlsson, who has been compared to Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, didn't disappoint. His hockey IQ is off the charts. Just watch him each shift. He does special things with the puck and away from the puck. He will be way better than most pundits predict.
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy, the youngest of the Terrier freshmen, is the only first-time draft eligible. He got beat on Acadia's second goal, but had an impressive debut in a BU uniform. His skating and his ability to push the puck in transition and on the power play is special for a 17 year-old playing against much older players.
BU's other new freshman, Shane Switzer, scored the Terriers' second goal of the game. A Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native out of the AJHL, he's the least heralded of all the newcomers. He's a walk-on that is going to make an impact each time he gets in the lineup. He's another player whose skating ability gives him a leg up. He pinched several times on Saturday, including on his goal when fellow rookie Bobo Carpenter fed him shooting in from the right side.
Speaking of Carpenter, scouts have always criticized him for his awkward stride, but his speed will be just fine at the collegiate level. He had several nice rushes with the puck, including on the Switzer goal where he brought it all the way down the left side from the neutral zone before sending it out front.
Minnesota Wild prospect Jordan Greenway was inserted onto the first line, on the left side with Danny O'Regan in the middle and Ahti Okanen on the right wing. He drove the net hard on O'Regan's goal, which as banked in off a defender from in back of the goal line. He's a player whose strength and power will allow him to wreck havoc in Hockey East. There were several times he just stood up an opposing player or used his size and strength as leverage to keep the puck on his stick. He's going to be a very intimidating force.
Ryan Cloonan, brought in late in the recruiting process after a few early defections, still needs to learn how to play a complete game, but his speed will be a problem for other teams to contain. A former Maine de-commit, he had offers from UVM, Colorado College and BU, but chose the Terriers.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.