On Saturday night before a crowd of 6,163, the UMass Lowell River Hawks (4-4-0, 1-2-0) played the back end of a home and home weekend with the #1 hockey team in the country the Boston College Eagles (7-1-0,2-0-0). This past Monday, the Eagles were awarded the spot for the first time since March 15, 2021. They are one of six Hockey East schools that were a part of this week’s USCHO poll. The Eagles arrived at Tsongas Center winners of six of their first seven games. Saturday night began a three-game road trip for BC. Next weekend they are in Maine.
Over the years, this has been a tough matchup for the River Hawks. The series between the two schools stands at 45-70-11. BC is 2-1-1 at Tsongas Center in their last four trips. Five of the last six meetings have been decided by a goal or less. The starting goalies for the game were, for BC, freshman Jacob Fowler, and for the River Hawks Luke Pavicich. The first power play of the night went to BC. River Hawk defenseman Mitchell Becker went off for cross-checking at 4:38. Although the Eagles did not score on the PP, they did put pressure on Pavicich during it, getting four shots on goal. The River Hawks went on the power play as Eagles defenseman Charlie Leddy was sent off at 7:32 for holding. The River Hawks put five shots on Fowler, and he was ready for all five. With 9:52 left in the first, the game was scoreless. Boston College went back on the PP as Brehdan Engum went off for a major penalty for kneeling at 10:31. It also carried a game misconduct. BC would score the game’s first goal on a 2-on-1 down low in the River Hawk end from Cutter Gauthier at 11:43. The goal was his eighth of the year. He took a pass across the crease from left to right from Gabe Perreault and beat Pavicich. Jack Malone also picked up an assist. The major power play ended when BC picked up a penalty. Andre Gasseau went off for cross-checking at 14:33. UMass Lowell would get a brief 5-on-3 as Aidan Hreschuk went off for tripping at 16:30. .With under a minute left in the first, the River Hawks tied the game. Jack Collins, from the low slot, rifled one past Fowler at 19:52 The goal was his first of the season, and the assist went to Jak Vaarwerk. The period ended 1-1. Shots on goal for the period was 13-8 in favor of the Eagles.
The second period began at even strength. BC went back on the PP as Collins for Lowell went off for high sticking at 2:34. It would become a 5-3 for the Eagles as the River Hawks were called for too many men penalty at 3:47. It did not take long for the Eagles to convert. Will Smith, from the left side of the River Hawks net, took a cross-ice goal-mouth pass from Perreault and put it in the back of the net for his fifth of the year. Perreault and Gauthier with the assists. Time of the goal was 4:04. 2-1 BC. Soon after the goal, UMass Lowell’s Nick Rheaume with speed entered the Eagles’ zone and went right to left only to be stopped by Fowler in front of the cage. UMass Lowell went back on the power play as Gauthier was called for interference at 9:03. This was the fifth power play of the night for Lowell but nothing came of it. Boston College added to their lead on even strength as Ryan Leonard, on an odd-man rush, tried to make a goal-mouth pass from left to right. Instead, the puck went off a River Hawks defenseman and into the net. The goal was unassisted at 13:23. 3-1 BC. For the sixth time, the River Hawks were on the power play as Drew Fortescue went off for interference at 14:56. The second period ended with the Eagles up 3-1. BC had a shot advantage of 22-17 after two.
As the third period began, the River Hawks knew they had work to do down by two goals. Through the first five minutes of the period, they pressed the attack only to have the Eagles defense turn them away. Pavicich may have come up with his best stop of the night when he robbed Gauthier in front of the net with his pads. Lowell got one back at 10:55 as Nick Rheaume got a rebound of his shot and lifted a backhander past Fowler. The assist went to Nick Granowicz. Lowell was on the attack looking for the tying goal. With four minutes left, BC was holding them at bay. With two minutes to go, Lowell head coach Norm Bazin pulled his goalie for the extra attacker. With a minute left the River Hawks buzzed around the Eagles net. They could not get a handle on the puck to score. With 44 seconds left, Lowell was around the net again only to be stopped. The period came to an end with Boston College holding on for a 3-2 win. Boston College finished the game with a 31-30 shot advantage. The game was decided on the power play. BC was 2-for-5 while the River Hawks were 0-5.
After the game, coach Bazin “liked the effort of his team” and for the second straight night, special teams were a factor in the decision. The Eagles scored twice on the power play with one of them being on a 5-on-3. Meanwhile, the River Hawks went 0-for-5. Bazin also thought his team “chased the game” at times which against a very good team is never a good idea. Eagles head coach Greg Brown thought his team “managed the puck better on Saturday night than Friday night.” He mentioned how his “special teams were huge over the weekend.” All in all, Coach Brown knew it would be a close battle with Lowell and the weekend did not disappoint. Lowell will look to get back on track with a weekend series with Boston University that starts next Friday night.
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