It's fair to say after watching this one that Daemen is a far, far weaker opponent than any of UB's exhibition foes. But Buffalo has the Wildcats on their schedule as a regular season game, the freedom to leave Russell Cicerone in for a full 90 minutes, and gets to reap the record-setting benefits of a 9-0 victory.
The nine goals are the most for UB in its Division I history, and the third-most ever, behind 13- and 11-goal outputs against Daemen in 1980 and 1981. Cicerone opened his season with a bang, scoring five to set a new program single-game record and move into a tie for second all-time at UB with 33 career goals. Add in an assist on Braden Scales' 47th-minute marker and Cicerone's 11 points tie the UB single-game mark and move him into sole possession of second on that UB list.
Cicerone moved quickly once he got going, amassing a first-half hat trick that took about eleven minutes from beginning to end, but it was Austin Place who opened the scoring for UB, blasting in a long loose ball off a corner kickin the 15th after David Enstrom was unable to head the original cross through traffic. Prior to Cicerone's explosion, UB seemed unwilling to simply take the game to the far inferior Wildcats, owning plenty of possession but mostly settling for long over the top passes and little in the way of build up game.
By the time Rikard Lindqvist tallied UB's seventh - on a gorgeous free kick in the 60th - the Bulls seemed to take the foot off the gas pedal a bit. Cicerone had a chance a few minutes prior for his fifth of the game when UB earned a penalty on a handball in the Daemen box, but his attempt was saved by Wildcats goalie Justin Figler. The eighth and ninth goals came on loose balls in the box eighteen seconds apart in the 81st minute. The eighth was Cicerone's fifth -- was it sporting to keep him in the game? Not my decision -- but the ninth was Ryan Aspenleiter's first of his career in his first appearance.
The end result is a win and a good start to a big statistical year for Cicerone, but it's tough to learn much from a game against so mismatched an opponent. Lindqvist finished with three assists to go with his goal, Austin Place and Braden Scales also each totaled a goal and an assist, and Steven Stryker tallied a pair of helpers.
UB nominally hits the road Sunday for a game at Canisius at 6:00 PM. The Golden Griffins are about to fall to 2-1 to Binghamton in their season opener. The Bulls used three second-half goals last season to win the two teams' last meeting 4-2. It should be a markedly tougher test than tonight against Daemen.