5 quick hits from opening night at Schneider Arena

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PROVIDENCE — After Providence College exploded for three goals in 2:48 late in the first period, it looked like they might roll to a one-sided win over American International College on Saturday night.

That didn’t happen, though the Friars did enough to earn a 3-1 victory in their season-opening game.

Coach Nate Leaman will take the victory, of course, and go to work on fixing areas where his team fell short.

“I liked certain aspects, but we gave up a lot of chances. I didn’t like some of the chances we were giving up because they were bad reads away from the puck. We got up and then we started cheating a lot, not playing real smart hockey,’’ said Leaman.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who got their first game under their belt. At the end of the day, we won a game.’’

Here are five quick hits:

GREG PRINTZ

The six-foot-two sophomore winger’s stock is rising after starting the game as PC’s extra forward and quickly earning more playing time.

“Greg Printz played really well tonight. He was the 13th forward, but he played so well I had to find him ice,’’ said Leaman.

Printz scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway, hit a post and missed on a second breakaway.

SCOTT CONWAY

In the first period, Conway scored PC’s first goal on a power play, then assisted on Jacob Bryson’s score.

So far, so good, but in the second and third period, “he got pretty cute and missed some shifts because of it,’’ Leaman said.

“We expect him to be a leader. We’ve got to play smart hockey. Our older guys have got to be the ones that are leading by example. He did a good job in the first and then in the second and third not so much, but he won some key faceoffs for us and that was good.’’

VIMAL SUKUMARAN

There aren’t many players in college hockey who are as difficult to play against. On Saturday, Sukumaran punished AIC defensemen on the forecheck.

In the first period, he trucked Patrik Demel with a clean open-ice hit. When there was a whistle a few seconds later, he skated by Demel and gave him a tap on the shinpads.

“He’s had a great 2-3 weeks. We’re really excited about him. It’s kind of surprised us a little bit. He’s doing a good job with leadership. He had a solid game,’’ said Leaman.

“He’s always been a guy that works hard but doesn’t always work smart. One thing he’s done really well (so far this year), he’s worked smart and he’s teaching other guys to work smart. We’ve found through the first two and a half weeks that whoever we put him with, they play better. That’s the mark of a good player.’’

SHOOT THE PUCK

PC finished with only 25 shots and 51 shot attempts.

Jack Dugan, who has a pedigree as a scorer, was in good position to shoot a few times and chose to pass instead. He wasn’t the only one.

“We passed up a lot of shots. In the first period, we did a better job getting pucks to the net. In the second period, we became a really perimeter team and we didn’t get many pucks to the net. In the third period, we put together some shifts,” said Leaman.

“It’s something we’ve been harping on for a week and a half. Just because we have good stick skill we want to make the extra pass. We had a lot of shots blocked, too. You hold it and look for a better pass and when you do shoot, they’re in our lane.”

JAY O’BRIEN

O’Brien didn’t record any points, but had some impressive shifts, playing fast and with poise.

“For a first college game, he’s light’s out with the puck. He got a couple of pucks right in the slot area and he wants to stickhandle that. You can’t do that at this level. You get one in the right area and it’s got to be off your stick,” said Leaman.

“He was really good with the puck and he’s learning off the puck. That’s nothing that I wouldn’t expect.”

 

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