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Boston College Hockey vs. University of New Brunswick: First Look

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The Eagles take the ice on Saturday night for the first time this season, against a formidable Canadian foe

Graham Beck, The Heights

Open wide for some hockey!

The Boston College men's hockey team has an exhibition game on Saturday night at Conte Forum against the University of New Brunswick, one of Canada's top collegiate teams. This game informally opens up the 2014-2015 campaign and BC's quest to reach the Frozen Four down the street at at TD Garden.

BCI has you covered this week to gear up for the game and the season ahead. Tomorrow, we'll have a Q&A with a blog that covers University of New Brunswick hockey to discuss the Varsity Reds and what we might expect to see on Saturday. We'll also be posting a two-part Hockey Banter TLDR Special breaking down our preview and predictions for Hockey East, starting with teams #12-#7 and ending with the top six.

The mostly-annual exhibition game against a Canadian foe usually tends to be a cakewalk for BC and other power programs in the NCAA:

10-6-2013: BC 8, St. Francis Xavier 2
10-6-2012: BC 6, New Brunswick 0
10-3-2010: BC 8, Toronto 0
10-4-2009: BC 4, St. Francis Xavier 1

However, some of the more absurdly fanatical among you may remember BC traveling to Fredericton to take on the University of New Brunswick in a two-game set up in Canada in 2009, and coming home with a 1-1 record, losing the shootout after game 2 to determine the winner of the "Kelly Challenge Cup." At the time, BC was the NCAA champion and UNB was the CIS champion, so those games had a bit of an "event" vibe.

This game could be trickier than the usual exhibition for BC as New Brunswick has a very solid team, one of the favorites to win this year's CIS national championship. UNB also has the benefit of already being three games into its preseason, posting a 3-0 record, including a 4-1 win over St. Thomas, an 11-1 win over Nipissing (yes, that's what they're called) and a 2-1 win over Moncton. The Varsity Reds played three NCAA exhibitions last season and performed well in two of them, defeating Denver 2-1 and taking Maine to overtime in Orono before losing in the extra session.

With the Eagles getting their legs under them after an offseason full of roster turnover, this game could be a stout test for BC's many freshmen and sophomores who will be called upon to make an impact this season. Hopefully it will be a good chance for everyone to get some playing time and show what they can do--and a chance for fans to see what the new line combinations and defensive pairs may look like.

When we talk UNB tomorrow, we'll learn a little more about the Varsity Reds and where their players come from. (The stork, maybe.)

Happy hockey week, everybody!