MEN'S HOCKEY: Whitney Gives BC All It Needs Friday
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The No. 1 Boston College men’s hockey team picked up its third consecutive win on Friday night, defeating No. 11 UMass Lowell 1-0 in a highly contested and very even game. Senior goalie Parker Milner picked up 38 saves to secure his second straight shutout, and classmate Steven Whitney scored the game’s only goal three minutes into the third period to lead the Eagles to the win.
The River Hawks opened the game with a flurry of shots and came close to scoring on several occasions. The puck was deep in the BC zone for the majority of the first period, and Milner had to be sharp several times in order to keep the score even at zero. Lowell ended the period with a 12-4 advantage in shots, but was unable to gain an advantage on the scoreboard. The Eagles did not generate much offense, but Milner continued his recent hot play, a trend he spoke of afterward.
“I don’t know if I’m on a roll, but it’s good to get back on track,’’ Milner said. “I felt my first two games were pretty weak, so to have two strong ones, it feels pretty good.’’
The second period was a completely different story from the first. BC managed to control play for long stretches and tested River Hawks goalie Doug Carr on several occasions. Like Milner in the first period, however, Carr proved up to the test and did not allow BC to gain the advantage. What was noteworthy, however, was the continued dominance of BC’s penalty kill. Through the first two periods, the Eagles were left shorthanded on four occasions, which they killed off without much issue each time. Through the first four games of the season, the Eagles have allowed only one powerplay goal and have looked dominant when on the kill. This key aspect has not escaped the notice of head coach Jerry York, who spoke about the team’s shorthanded play in the early part of the season.
“I thought our PK was excellent,’’ York said. “They blocked shots and made plays and controlled the play very well in our offensive zone.’’
The final period was much more balanced, with both teams getting a handful of chances during the frame. The Eagles were finally able to break the scoreless draw just 3:17 into the period when Whitney took a pass from Johnny Gaudreau and beat Carr with a low shot from the high slot. The goal came off of a perfect breakout play and some great passing by Gaudreau and Pat Mullane. Whitney spoke of the goal after the game, praising his teammates for putting him in a great spot to score.
“It was a great play all around, a clean breakout by our D,’’ Whitney said. “We had a three-man rush, maybe a four-man rush because [Patrick] Wey jumped in at the end, but Johnny Gaudreau just has eyes in the back of his head and saw me coming late and gave it to me.”
After the goal, Lowell upped the pressure and kept BC back on their heels. The River Hawks fired numerous shots on Milner, but nothing went in. With around a minute to play in the game, Lowell pulled Carr and continued to pressure BC with an extra attacker. Despite a number of late chances that just missed, the Eagles were able to hold onto the lead and escape Lowell with a hard-fought victory. York spoke on the importance of the victory, which comes against a highly ranked opponent, and added that he thought it showed just how far his team has come already in the young season.
“I felt really good about the club because we played a solid road game against a very good team,’’ York said. “That’s the measuring stick, and we thought it would be a good measuring-stick weekend for us.’’
UMass-Lowell outshot the Eagles 38-20 in the game, including an 11-5 advantage in the third period. Gaudreau’s assist gives him a point in every game so far in the season, and Whitney’s goal was his team leading third on the year.