There are a lot of new faces in the Providence College lineup this season, but the result on Saturday looked familiar. Even with seven freshmen dressing, the Friars jumped on Maine with two goals in the first 4:35 and rolled to a 7-0 win.
Here are three thoughts on opening night:
— WHO’S IN NET?
I’d been pestering Nate Leaman for a couple weeks about who his starting goalie was going to be in Game 1. Of course, I kept waiting for him to say Michael Lackey. You know, the guy with four years at Harvard under his belt. But Leaman insisted repeatedly that he and his staff were evaluating each day’s practice and hadn’t decided.
In the end, he did go with Lackey, who was rock-solid in stopping all 29 Maine shots.
“He had an unbelievable practice Tuesday. It was the first time I walked off the ice and said, ‘We have a starter,’’’ Leaman said on Saturday night.
Lackey’s strong debut is “an unbelievable sign for us,’’ he said, pointing to two excellent saves in the second period when the Friars got sloppy and Maine showed signs of gaining some traction. “The team gets up at home and it’s point night,’’ he said.
“The thing is, your team can’t get arrogant in front of him. I thought that’s what we did when he made some of those saves,’’ Leaman said.
“He played a good game, let’s see if he can come back with another one. You can’t get arrogant off your first game, that’s what I told (the team) after the game.’’
— WHO’S GOING TO SCORE?
The Friars said goodbye to four of their top five scorers in the offseason – Josh Wilkins, Brandon Duhaime, Scott Conway and Kasper Bjorkqvist. That quartet totaled 63 goals last season.
Who is going to pick up the slack?
Start with the top line and Jack Dugan (39 points in 41 games last season) and Greg Printz (11 goals). They delivered on Saturday as Printz scored four goals and an assist and Dugan chipped in with a goal and three assists. Their center, freshman Parker Ford, recorded two assists. The line combined for 17 of PC’s 59 shots.
As for the second line, Tyce Thompson had a goal and two helpers and freshman Patrick Moynihan had two assists.
It wasn’t all good. Dugan went to the box alone for roughing after a scrum in the first period and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and a misconduct in the third after he deposited the puck in the Maine net after an offside whistle.
“I was a little disappointed in a couple of the penalties, but outside of that our top line was pretty good. They had a good night tonight, but it’s a long season,’’ Leaman said.
— THREE FRESHMEN D?
The newcomers on defense – Max Crozier, Cam McDonald and Luke Johnson — got through their first game unscathed.
Crozier, playing with Mike Callahan in what could develop into a go-to pairing, had an assist and four shots.
“Crozier played a great game. He was really good with the puck. We kind of rode (captains Callahan and Spenser Young) a lot in that first period – our veterans guys – just because we wanted to acclimate those other guys a little bit,’’ said Leaman.
“In a league game, first game as a freshman, that’s not the easiest thing to worry about. They got a good taste of it. Fortunately, we were able to pull away a little bit, so they were able to get a lot of ice in the third. At the end of the day, those three have got to be a big part of us. We think all three have a real high ceiling.’’
It sounds like there were some butterflies before the game, understandably so.
“It was quiet in the locker room beforehand. With the new guys, as a coach you really don’t know what to expect because you don’t know how to read guys yet, whether they’re ready or they’re not.’’
On this night, at least, they were ready.
“It’s a process. On to Holy Cross,’’ Leaman said.