After a strong performance last weekend against Providence, the Boston College men’s hockey team dropped a tough one on Friday night, falling 3-1 to UMass Lowell.
The River Hawks got off to a fast start, scoring just 2:32 into the first period. After Christopher Brown was sent off for interference, Lowell’s power play struck quickly, as a wicked wrist shot beat a partially screened Joe Woll over his blocker side shoulder. The rest of the period passed without any more scoring, but BC never really seemed to get into the game over the first 20 minutes. Their best chance came on Lowell’s second power play of the night, when a great effort by Chris Grando set up Graham McPhee in the slot, but the shot went wide of the cage. The Eagles were outshot 10-6 in the period and only a few timely saves from Joe Woll kept the deficit at one.
After 16 minutes of some low event hockey, Jack McBain got the Eagles on the board on a play that seemed to come out of nowhere. Jesper Mattila picked off a Lowell breakout pass near center ice and started BC on the quick counter. McBain ended up with the puck on the wall near the hash marks, and fired a low shot that beat Lowell goalie Tyler Wall. Oliver Wahlstrom provided a perfect screen for McBain’s fourth goal of the season and second in three games. A late BC power play opportunity provided some half chances on net, but Wall made the stops he needed to and the teams stayed tied at one after two periods.
Lowell retook the lead just under five minutes into the third period. Michael Karow failed to clear a puck after some zone time for the River Hawks and a quick pass and one timer later it was a 2-1 game. Lowell wouldn’t give up this lead, as BC had a power play chance and some time with an extra skater after pulling Joe Woll late, but never really managed to put any real pressure on their opponents. An empty net goal iced things for the River Hawks, and BC dropped the first game of their weekend series.
If this game felt familiar, it’s because it’s the same one that BC has lost several times over the course of this season. Once again, the Eagles took their time getting into the contest and failed to produce much of anything in terms of legitimate scoring chances. The second line of Jack McBain-Christopher Brown- and Oliver Wahlstrom continued to be a bit of a bright spot in the second half of the season, with McBain’s goal making it five games in a row where a member of that line scored. But in the end, their contribution was all the Eagles got. Julius Mattila’s continued absence on the first line has become noticeable in recent games, as David Cotton and Logan Hutsko haven’t been able to find the same chemistry with JD Dudek as they had with him. They’ll have another chance tomorrow night, when the Eagles travel to Lowell to finish up this weekend series.