Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Dominant Third Period Pushes UMass Lowell Past BC

When No. 16 Boston College men’s hockey overcame a two-goal deficit against No. 20 UMass Lowell in less than two minutes during the second period, revenge for last season’s heartbreaking double-OT elimination in the Hockey East Tournament Semifinals seemed imminent. UMass Lowell had scored two early goals, but BC fought back to tie it at two apiece.

Another dominant third period from the River Hawks (5–1–3, 3–0–1 Hockey East), however, handed the Eagles (6–5–1, 4–3–0) a disappointing 4–2 loss.

The Eagles trailed the River Hawks for much of the first period, which saw nearly four minutes of four-on-four play following matching penalties. BC put up just four shots on goal in comparison to the River Hawks’ 15.

In the 14th minute of the game, UMass Lowell netted its first goal of the game, as Andre Lee redirected a shot inside the left post off a faceoff win for his fourth tally of the season. 

“I thought Lowell really played dominant in the first period … got us back on our heels,” BC head coach Jerry York said in his postgame press conference.

The Eagles came out visibly stronger after a disheartening first period, and UMass Lowell goaltender Owen Savory barely stopped BC captain Marc McLaughlin’s shot in the first minute of the second period.

While the Eagles’ play looked to be picking up, a total of five penalties characterized the second period as both teams’ power-play units capitalized on scoring opportunities. Just minutes after a tripping call on BC led to a scoreless power play for the River Hawks, a facemask penalty on McLaughlin sent UMass Lowell right back to the one-man advantage, and Ben Meehan found the net from the wing, past goaltender Eric Dop, to extend the River Hawks’ lead to two. 

Despite an unsuccessful power play, the Eagles took advantage of their momentum to respond in the 12th minute of the second period. Nikita Nesterenko cruised the puck directly in front of the net and UMass Lowell defenders pushed him into their goaltender in a frenzy. 

With Savory obstructed, Trevor Kuntar easily netted the rebound for his fourth of the season. As officials reviewed the goal for goalie interference, a familiar feeling of anticipation ensued until the officials confirmed the sophomore duo had put the Eagles on the board to bring the score to 2–1. 

After a boarding call on the River Hawks minutes later, the newly energized Eagles were on the hunt for the equalizer on the one-man advantage. Less than a minute into the power play, Brandon Kruse and Jack McBain centered the puck to McLaughlin, who quickly fired a one-timer to score and tie the game at two apiece. 

McLaughlin’s fourth power-play goal of the season broke the tie for the league lead and places him fifth nationally in power-play goals. Meanwhile, Kruse’s seventh assist of the season ties him for the league lead in assists, and both he and McBain place second for most points in the league.

Coming into the game, the Eagles were 5–1–0 when scoring on the power play. As the shorthanded Eagles prevented any scoring by the River Hawks and were then awarded with a power play of their own in the opening minutes of the third period, a comeback win appeared hopeful. 

But in the fifth minute of the third period, the River Hawks regained their lead. Nearly identical to the opening goal, Lee tipped another point shot off a faceoff win to record his second of the night. Four minutes later, Carl Berglund redirected Ryan Brushett’s shot on the power play to re-extend the River Hawks’ lead to two.

Despite pulling Dop for an extra attacker for the final two minutes, the Eagles could not net their final attempts at equalizing the score, and were outshot 37–26. Faceoffs were also in Lowell’s advantage, as the River Hawks not only won 39 of the 63, but scored on two of them.

Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Staff

November 14, 2021