Not much went right from the start. BU lost six of their first eight games, didn't reach the .500 mark until their 33rd game, and was never a serious contender to return to the NCAA Tournament.
They obviously missed 2009 Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy, not only because he was an elite defenseman but because he was a great leader. Issues with leadership clearly haunted the Terriers, as evidenced by Tuesday's announcement that an upperclassman was dismissed from the team, along with an NHL prospect who was seeing regular ice time throughout the season.
Junior Victor Sapanari was dismissed, as was younger brother Vinny, a draft pick of the Atlanta Thrashers. Sophomore Corey Trivino was suspended for an unknown number of games.
"Over a period of time, there have been cumulative instances in which Victor and Vinny Saponari have displayed conduct unbecoming of a Boston University hockey player," BU coach Jack Parker said. "In a related issue, Trivino will be suspended for the early part of next season."While Victor Sapanari only played three games this past season, Vinny was a fixture in veteran coach Jack Parker's lineup. He took regular ice time in all situations and posted 12 goals and 30 points over 38 games.
Reports indicate the three were drinking the night of March 17, which was a Wednesday. That was in violation of team rules, which ban players from drinking except on Saturday nights (traditionally, college hockey games are played Friday and Saturday nights). The elder Saponari is the only one of the three who has reached the drinking age of 21.
Parker's comments indicate this isn't the first brush with team rules violations for either Saponari, though no other incidents are detailed.
The fourth-round pick in 2008 has a solid background of experience on national teams, having played for two years at the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., before joining BU. Vinny Saponari played on two Team USA entries in the World Under 18 Championships, helping the Americans to a silver medal in 2007 and bronze in 2008. He talled 20 goals and 47 points over two years at Boston University.
Though not appreciably big, Saponari should have a future in pro hockey. Thanks to his dismissal from college, this future might come sooner than anyone thought.