Eagles Men’s Hockey Stays Atop Hockey East With Dominant Win Over UMass Lowell
By Marc Occhipinti
The #16 ranked Boston College Eagles defeated the UMass Lowell River Hawks 5-2 at Conte Forum Saturday night in the back-end of a home-and-home with UMass Lowell. Saturday’s win came off a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Riverhawks Friday night in Lowell.
While Friday’s game was close in nearly every statistical category, BC prevailed on both the statsheet and the scoresheet on Saturday. They outshot UML 35-26 en route to their victory and clearly looked like the better team on the ice.
The 1st Period was marked by missed opportunities for BC. The ice seemed to be tilted in the Eagles’ favor for most of the period, but they failed to capitalize with a goal until the 18:39 mark, where David Cotton found the back of the net on BC’s second Power Play opportunity of the period. BC took their 1-0 lead into the first break.
BC kept the aggression in the 2nd Period and exploded for four goals, breaking the game wide open. Connor Moore opened the period’s scoring on another Power Play with a laser of a slapshot that sent the goalie’s Gatorade bottle soaring up in the air. Graham McPhee, who had scored two goals Friday night in Lowell, followed up with this game’s third goal, while JD Dudek, later named the game’s 1st star, found the net just sixteen seconds later. BC’s finding of four holes in UML goalie Tyler Wall in the first 28 minutes led to a goaltender switch to Chris Hernberg midway through the 2nd. Jacob Tortora quickly took advantage, scoring BC’s fifth goal at the 11:10 mark, completing the four-goal onslaught in a ten-minute stretch.
The 3rd period opened with a scrum that resulted with Tortora being sent to the box for both Boarding and Game Misconduct. UML took advantage of the major by scoring one goal from Charlie Levesque on the Power Play, and another from Tommy Panico just after Tortora came out of the box. Clinging to their 5-2 lead, BC buckled down on defense and controlled the puck for much of the period. They limited River Hawk scoring opportunities and were able to run out the clock, finishing the game with a 5-2 victory.
The intensity and focus BC showed were impressive on Saturday, especially coming at the heels of a loss to the same team just the night before. They capitalized on 2/6 Power Play opportunities, a unit that has looked better lately, looking to improve on their 17% season conversion rate. Joe Woll made big saves when he had to, and the Eagles will hope that he heats up as postseason play looms around the corner.
With a Northeastern loss at Providence Saturday night, the Eagles gained sole possession of 1st Place in the Hockey East standings, breaking the tie with the #8 ranked Huskies. BC has just over a week left until they match up with Northeastern in the first game of this year’s Beanpot Tournament. They are hoping to ride the momentum of winning 3 of their last 4 into the Beanpot and potentially the NCAA tournament. The Eagles will play one-final tune up game at UConn Friday Feb 2, before taking on the Huskies in a much anticipated Beanpot semifinal.
Photo courtesy of Boston Herald