CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Boston College has high expectations for this season, but things did not get off to the most positive of starts on Saturday night.
In the top-ranked Eagles’ first and only exhibition game before opening the season next Friday at Army West Point, visiting New Brunswick scored all five of its goals in the second period and coasted to a 5-2 win at Kelley Rink.
The win marked the Varsity Reds’ second in as many games on their preseason New England swing, which continues on Sunday afternoon at UMass Lowell. They defeated the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates the other night and cruised to three wins over Canadian opponents before coming south.
On the flip side, Saturday marked the first official day of practice across NCAA Division 1, so there is time this week for the Eagles to grow before the games count for real.
"I thought New Brunswick was an excellent hockey team," BC head coach Jerry York said. "It’s a well-oiled team right now. They looked like they were in mid-season form, and I thought our game reflected early season. (We made) a lot of mistakes with the puck."
A member of the Eagles’ strong freshman class quickly got into the scoring act 9:01 into the game as Miles Wood scored a rebound goal on a puck that quickly bounced back into the high slot.
Junior Austin Cangelosi took the initial shot that bounced off Varsity Reds goaltender Etienne Marcoux, and the Noble and Greenough product made a nice play to open himself up for the tap-in score.
Thatcher Demko, who underwent hip surgery during the offseason, played a strong first period in goal in the first game action of his junior season. The Vancouver Canucks prospect was tested often, stopping all 16 shots he faced.
"Thatcher, I thought, had a good first period and seems to have no ill effects from the period," York said. "He looks like he’s going to be full-up as we head out to play Army and RPI next week."
Third-year defenseman Scott Savage doubled the BC lead just 58 seconds into the second period. Freshman Colin White and sophomore Adam Gilmour, both local products from Hanover, Mass., assisted on the goal that changed direction at the front of the net to beat Marcoux.
Four penalties in the first half of the middle period looked like it would tell the story, but the visitors scored five times against BC freshman Chris Birdsall who entered the goal to start the period.
"There were a lot of penalties which is probably an early-season situation, so we got a chance to work on special teams," York said. "As far as an exhibition game, this was a good barometer for us on how hard we have to work and how much better we have to get."
Francis Beauvillier and Christopher Caissy scored in quick succession to tie the game just before the midway mark of the second. Beauvillier scored UNB’s first goal at 9:31, gliding through the neutral zone and between the circles for a hard shot. Caissy took advantage of a bad defensive breakdown in front of Birdsall’s net and cashed in just 18 seconds later.
Peter Trainor scored at both 12:24 and 16:47 with his first goal, a hard strike on the power play, serving as the game-winner for UNB. Rob Mignardi, one of three Varsity Reds with previous professional experience, ripped a hard shot over Birdsall from the high slot at 15:41.
"I thought he really struggled in the second period and came back and played much better in the third," York said of Birdsall, who stopped all seven shots he faced in the final frame. "Part of that is probably the nerves, his first game playing for BC. I think he’s a better netminder than he showed tonight."
Three of BC’s four extra players were freshmen in forwards Chris Shero and J.D. Dudek and defenseman Josh Couturier, allowing York and his staff to get a more extended look at what his newest players can do.
Wood scored a goal in his first game, skating alongside juniors Cangelosi and Chris Calnan while June draftees Colin White (Ottawa Senators) and Jeremy Bracco (Toronto Maple Leafs) were both inserted onto lines with experienced players.
"It was their first look at a game, but I thought they acquainted themselves pretty well," York said. "I thought Bracco, White and (Wood) were fine up front and (Casey Fitzgerald) did some nice things on defense. We’re going to have to depend on their growth and their development as the season progresses here."