In the interest of truly covering our Terrier hockey team, its necessary for us to at least post something about Tuesday's real stunner. The only way I can really describe how I felt that morning is like I got kicked in the stomach, and I think that was probably a common response among Terrier fans upon learning that the resurgent senior Terrier F and leading goalscorer Corey Trivino had been booted from the team for a very disappointing alcohol-related arrest that resulted in charges for assault and breaking and entering. As more details came out throughout the day, the tragedy of the situation became more and more apparent, with an RA forced by school regulations to put herself in harm's way multiple times and an exceptionally talented but apparently self-destructive young player who has hit rock-bottom and put not only his career but perhaps his freedom itself in grave jeopardy.
For those of us who, in our state of shock, sought more insight into the events leading up to and including Sunday evening and Monday, Coach Jack Parker was very forthcoming to College Hockey News, The Boston Hockey Blog and the Boston Globe (at the very least) in providing interviews Tuesday. Parker has been almost universally lauded, and rightfully so, for his swift response of pulling Corey's scholarship and kicking him off the team before the story even reached the press. His words paint a picture of a young man who was respected and liked by both his coaches and teammates yet was brought down by his own refusal to seek help for a problem that seemed to grow significantly over time. I may be incorrect in remembering this, but I don't recall Parker sending off the Saponaris or Andrew Glass by describing them as "good kid(s)." To me that's what is the saddest part of all this (after the crime itself of course). He is not a bad person (according to his former coach), but someone who did a horrible thing, and made an enormous mistake that will alter the course of his and this young woman's lives.
One question I have after getting the details of this story is did the influence of certain individual former Terriers lead Corey astray perhaps? By all accounts he was quite close on campus with one Vinny Saponari, who became notorious for his misbehavior to the point that he and his brother were kicked off the team (despite the younger's great talent). Perhaps his influence put Corey on the path to where he found himself Sunday night? It may be a reach, and longtime readers know we certainly have no love for those brothers on this blog but by all accounts Corey was a good kid who got in over his head and allegedly did a terrible thing. It's natural to wonder how he might have turned in that direction.
The one bit of relief I found in Parker's words was that none of the rest of the team was around for the incident. I was initially afraid that some sort of negligence on the part of his roommates had allowed Corey to be out in the halls, inebriated, with no one to check on him. That they had left him, not allowing him to accompany them is okay with me as I feared that they had been there and not done anything to stop it.
Not that it matters as much at the moment, but I remain confident that this team can win without Corey. The team is so loaded with talent that the cupboard is far from bare. Toughness got the team this far, putting themselves in a position to be successful, and toughness will get them over this hurdle.
I see two key guys the rest of the way as determining how far the Terriers will go from here. Chris Connolly hasn't done much this year (compared to his usual) so if he steps up in a big way and gets out of his goal-scoring drought there's no reason he can't replace Coyle's output. The fourth line has been great for energy so far this season and as Ryan Santana comes back from his injury he simply must be a productive player on that line (and he most definitely can). If the Terriers can really mitigate one of those losses, if not both, I think they'll still be a very dangerous team from here on out.