On Friday night, the number one ranked college hockey team in the country, the Boston College Eagles (19-4-1) came to Tsongas Center to meet the UMass Lowell River Hawks (7-17-2,3-11-1) before a sold-out crowd of 6,421. UMass Lowell came into the game trying to snap a four-game losing streak. The Eagles are riding a four-game winning streak, in which they have scored 20 goals. Back from injury, the River Hawks started Henry Welsch (4-7-2, 2.19 GAA, .928). Welsch had not played a game in four weeks. Also returning to the River Hawks lineup was RW Dillian Bentley who had missed the last four games. Boston College started Jacob Fowler (18-4-1, 2.25 GAA, .924) in goal.
It would take all of 5:55 for BC to get on the board. Jack Malone was able to take the puck from Ben Meeham, skate up the right wing on a 2-on-1, and beat Welsch in the 5-hole for his seventh of the year. The Eagles can score 5-on-5 and they can do it when on the power play. River Hawks defenseman Mitchell Becker went off for interference at 8:33 . Seconds later the Eagles put home their 25th power-play goal of the season. Gabe Perreault off a cross-ice goal mouth pass from BC center Will Smith made it 2-0 Eagles. The secondary assist went to Ryan Leonard. Halfway through the first period, the River Hawks were already down 2-0. At 14:28 BC went back on the power play as River Hawks LW Matt Crasa went off for tripping. This time the River Hawks killed off the man-advantage. UMass Lowell got a chance on the power play as Eagles RW Colby Ambrasso was sent off for hooking at 16:04. The BC penalty-killing unit has only allowed nine PP goals this season. They would keep that number as they took care of the penalty. The first period ended with the Eagles up 2-0 shots on goal 8-6 in favor of Boston College.
UMass Lowell brought some life back into the building courtesy of their first goal of the night. Filip Fornaa Svensson had his fourth of the season at 4:38. The goal was set up by TJ Schweighardt who kept the puck in the BC zone at the right point and fed Svensson who beat Fowler low to the left-hand side with a wrist shot from the high slot right side. 2-1 BC. The Eagles went back on the power play for the third time in the game at 5:03 as River Hawks LW Nick Rheaume went off for slashing. The Eagles scored their second power-play goal of the night as Eamon Powell beat Welsch from the left side of the circle. The goal was his second and gave the Eagles back their two-goal lead at 3-1. The assists on the goal went to Smith and Perreault. BC started to flex their offensive muscle as the period went on. They made it 4-1 at the 15:16 mark on a goal off the stick of Cutter Gauthier, his 20th of the year. He took a pass from Powell and beat Welsch with a wrist shot from just outside the left faceoff circle in the River Hawks zone. BC would kill off another River Hawks power play chance at 16:25 of the second period. They would head off to the locker room with a 4-1 lead. Shots were 9-8 BC for a two-period total of 20-17 BC.
The Eagles got a great opportunity to put the game away at the 4:24 mark of the third. Ben Meeham picked up a five-minute major for Direct contact to the head. His night would be over on that call. The River Hawks would not only take care of the major penalty but get a power play of their own. Jacob Bengtsson went off for kneeing at 8:44. The River Hawks did nothing with the chance. UMass Lowell was (0-for-7) on the PP. BC added to their lead on a goal from Gauthier, his second of the night and his 21st of the year. The assists went to Andre Gasseau and Oskar Jellvik. The time of the even-strength goal was 13:15. 5-1 Boston College. At this point head coach Greg Brown decided to make a goaltending switch as Jan Korec replaced Fowler. The Eagles made it 6-1 on a goal from Ryan Leonard, his 14th of the year Perreault picked up the assist for his third point of the night (2G, 1A). The game ended as a 6-1 Boston College win. Shots in the third were 8-8, BC had a 24-23 shot advantage.
Boston College head coach Greg Brown liked the way “his team held focus.” He thought his “power play had a couple of good looks” and he was most impressed with the fact that the Eagles “did not let the game get away from them.” Boston College has the Beanpot on Monday night with a first-round matchup with the #2 Boston University Terriers.
River Hawks head coach Norm Bazin thought “BC was too much to handle tonight.” He thought his team had a good week of practice to get ready for this game. Overall, he feels his team needs to get better in all phases of the game. Maybe that starts next Friday night, when the River Hawks host Vermont.
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