Boston College men’s hockey returned to Kelley Rink on Saturday, defeating American International College 4-1 in an exhibition game. The Eagles got to play in front of at least a small smattering of their fans for the first time since 2019’s Senior Night, and gave those in attendance reasons to be optimistic about the coming season.
Unlike the usual preseason exhibition against a Canadian program, this was a pretty decent replication of what a regular season game looks like, and it was played against a quality team in AIC. The Yellow Jackets come in to the season ranked #20 after winning Atlantic Hockey championships in 2019 and 2021.
BC struck first on a Colby Ambrosio goal just 56 seconds in to the game, assisted by Bowling Green transfer Brandon Kruse and senior captain Jack McBain, the three of whom made up BC’s new first line.
Though the rest of the first period didn’t feature any more goals, BC largely controlled play during the rest of the period, outshooting AIC 18-7 and spending long periods of time in the attacking zone.
Eric Dop, BC’s transfer and presumably #1 goalie, played the first period and turned aside all 7 of AIC’s shots.
The second period was a bit of a different story, as AIC turned the tables on BC, outshooting the Eagles 14-7 - but second-string goalie Henry Wilder was up to the task and kept BC out front.
After BC withstood a good amount of pressure, Jack McBain hit AIC on a 2-on-0 fast break, going tic-tac-toe with Casey Carreau to give the Eagles an insurance goal in the final minutes of the second period.
AIC made a big push for a comeback in the third against third-string goalie Jack Moffatt, with Justin Cole scoring 2:21 into the third, and Moffatt being called upon to make a number of solid stops.
Aidan Hreschuk, a freshman blueliner and top recruit for the Eagles, restored BC’s two-goal lead with 10:14 to go, ripping home a beauty of a shot off the pipe and in; from there, BC retook control of the game.
The Eagles pulled away to make it 4-1 at 16:55 of the third on a goal by Nikita Nesterenko, after a dominant shift that featured Marc McLaughlin just missing wide and setting up a sequence where Kuntar found Nesterenko for the goal.
More than the result, what was of interest was seeing BC’s new lines and new faces after a number of key departures, along with freshman and transfer arrivals.
BC lined up with:
Brandon Kruse - Jack McBain - Colby Ambrosio
Trevor Kuntar - Marc McLaughlin - Nikita Nesterenko
Mike Posma - Patrick Giles - Sam Sternschein
Connor Joyce - Liam Izyk - Casey Carreau
Aidan Hreschuk-Drew Heleson
Marshall Warren-Jack St Ivany
Justin Wells-Eamon Powell
Extra forwards Jack Dempsey, Gentry Shamburger and Matt Argentina also saw the ice, as did all three goalies.
BC is back on the ice on Friday, this time for real, opening up the IceBreaker tournament at the DCU Center in Worcester with a 4:30 PM game against Quinnipiac.