There are wins, and there are complete wins. Tonight was a complete win.
With Thatcher Demko back between the pipes, the top ranked Eagles controlled the Riverhawks and came away with a strong 3-0 victory over one of the best teams in the country.
It wasn't that BC absolutely peppered UML goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with shots, or that they had the puck in the offensive zone the entire game. It was that the Eagles took three maroon and gold flags and planted one each in the offensive zone, the neutral zone, and the defensive zone.
Goal #1 (PPG, GWG) -- 13:01 of the 1st period: John Gaudreau (Patrick Brown)
BC 1, UML 0
No scoring through the first several minutes of the game, as Lowell was doing a pretty good job of locking down BC's chances, for the most part. It wasn't until Jake Suter of UML took an interference penalty that BC was able to get on the board.
Brown and Gaudreau do a little give and go along the wall before Gaudreau goes to the goal line and decides to throw it on net. Perhaps Hellebuyck was expecting Gaudreau to go behind the net like he usually does, because Gaudreau saw a little opening and managed to find it with the shot to give BC a quick powerplay goal and the 1-0 lead.
On to the second period we would go when the Hockey East officials made themselves known with a really questionable 5+Game call on Isaac MacLeod. MacLeod decked a Lowell player, and it was certainly a penalty as I don't even think the guy had the puck, but the 5 minute penalty and ejection was a bit excessive. But the league has zero tolerance for head hits, and the refs must have thought there was contact, because down the tunnel MacLeod went.
Fortunately, BC's top ranked penalty kill showed up in a big way, killing not just the 5 minute major without allowing Lowell to have any real grade-A chances, but also the first 30 seconds or so of a Matty Gaudreau hooking penalty. Kevin Hayes would draw a penalty on a breakaway to put the teams at 4 on 4.
No scoring in the second, which was certainly Lowell's best period, but the third period was all BC.
At 8:44pm, I tweeted this:
Starting to get to the point where it's late in the game & BC isn't at their usual 4 GPG pace and you wonder what's up. Then they score 6.— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) February 22, 2014
And at 8:45pm, this happened:
Goal #2 -- 3:15 of the 3rd period: Adam Gilmour (Scott Savage, Chris Calnan)
BC 2, UML 0
Okay, really nice goal. Savage does a really nice little dipsy-doodle around an over-aggressive Lowell player, and fires a shot in on net. Gilmour makes the kind of deflection you write home to mama about and poor Hellebuyck never had a chance.
And just to toot my own horn even further, this is what happened at 8:48pm:
Goal #3 -- 5:08 of the 3rd period: Austin Cangelosi (Patrick Brown, Steve Santini)
BC 3, UML 0 -- FINAL
Okay, so it wasn't 6 goals. But I still called the BC offense hitting its stride in the third period about 30 seconds before it happened.
Cangelosi has really good hands. We knew that before he even got to campus thanks to this. I don't know how well it comes across in the GIF, but his forehand-to-backhand move was just blisteringly quick. The GIF looks like it speeds up when he puts the puck in the net, but that's really how fast it happened. He had the whole side of the net to shoot at.
So 3-0 final and Lowell just never really got going. They aren't exactly a run-and-gun team and once they fell behind you could tell that it would take something against the run of play for them to come back. BC just beat them.
Thatcher Demko faced 33 shots but, again, wasn't really tested save for a few scattered Riverhawk opportunities. The shutout (his second of the season) lifts him up into 1st place among qualifying goaltenders in all of college hockey in GAA, and into 3rd (just 0.003 back of first) in Save %. As a team, BC is up to 4th in the nation in goals allowed, and with the 1 for 3 night on the man advantage, 6th (!!) in the nation in powerplay efficiency.
Gaudreau extended his point streak to 27 games, and briefly got to play on the same line as his brother in the waning minutes of the game in Matty's first game back on the ice since Holy Cross. It must have been a great feeling for the Gaudreaus.
On to tomorrow night where BC and Lowell will face off once again, this time at Tsongas. A win for BC tomorrow would be even bigger than tonight, with road games counting more in the Pairwise. We'll see you right back here.