It was a better result if not a much better performance by the Boston College men’s hockey team on Saturday night, as they skated to a 4-4 tie with UMass Lowell as they closed out their weekend series. Four different players scored for the Eagles, but BC was unable to hold on to two different leads in the third period and were forced to settle for a tie.
The Eagles came out much stronger than Friday night, putting some dangerous chances on net in the first few shifts of the game. Just about 3:30 into the first, David Cotton took a big hit near the offensive blue line, drawing a 5 minute major for hitting from behind. Cotton looked shaken up and stayed on the ice for a bit, but eventually skated off under his own power and didn’t miss a shift. The BC power play took some time to get going, with the first four minutes being spent almost entirely retrieving pucks from their own end. They made the most of their chance, however, as Oliver Wahlstrom took a pass from Ben Finkelstein and fired a wrist shot into the back of the cage. It was Finkelstein’s first point as an Eagle and a nice bit of play from BC’s second power play unit that has struggled to this point of the season.
The Eagles killed off a penalty of their own before adding on to their lead late in the period. JD Dudek made a great backhanded pass to Logan Hutsko near the front of the net after a nice cycling play by the two players. Hutsko’s initial shot was stopped, but the rebound went right to David Cotton, who had half a net wide open to shoot at for his 15th goal of the season. It was a nice bit of chemistry from the first line that has struggled since losing Julius Mattila, and it sent BC into the break with a 2-0 lead after a very strong 20 minutes of hockey.
The River Hawks came out flying early in the second, and quickly cut the lead to 2-1. A long outlet pass beat the BC defense and lead to a breakaway. A perfect shot beat Woll up high and cut BC’s lead in half. It looked like Lowell was destined to tie things up just as quickly, as they dominated the Eagles for almost the entire period. Woll was much more active in the second period than the first, as the River Hawks were outshooting BC 13-1 at one point. Logan Hutsko gave BC their first real chance of the period when he used his speed to draw a penalty on a Lowell defenseman. For the second time on the night, some good zone lead to success for the BC power play, as Christopher Brown managed to slot home a puck from just outside the crease after some nice passing and a redirection from Hutsko. The River Hawks continued to threaten for the remainder of the period, but BC kept their two goal lead in tact headed into the third.
Lowell made it a one goal game just over a minute into the third. BC was unable to get a clear on a loose puck near their net and after some battling behind the net, an uncovered River Hawk gathered the puck and wristed it past Woll to make it 3-2. Just 1:12 later, Lowell tied things up when a wrist shot from the point beat a screened Woll. The River Hawks had BC on their heels at the start of the period, and Jerry York called his timeout to try and calm things down less than three minutes into the third. Lowell continued to carry the majority of the play after the timeout, but BC was at least able to stop some of the bleeding as Woll continued to make some difficult stops. With 5:11 to play, JD Dudek put BC back on the lead with a perfect shot up high after a great feed from Wahlstrom. This lead didn’t last either, as Graham McPhee took a bad penalty late in a scrum after a whistle in the offensive zone. Lowell converted for their first power play goal of the night to tie things at 4 with 2:01 left in the game and the teams headed to overtime.
Both teams had a few decent looks in overtime, with Lowell coming excruciatingly close to scoring with seconds left in the period. A desperation clear from Woll kept the puck out and BC escaped with a 4-4 tie.
BC left the weekend with just one point out of a possible four and it was probably more than they deserved. The Eagles were thoroughly outplayed for four or five of the six periods from this weekend and only some last minute heroics from their goalie spared them from a two loss series. They’ll have a chance to turn things around on Friday when they travel to Connecticut to take on UConn in their last game before the Beanpot.