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GOAL BY GOAL: Boston College Hockey's Heroic Penalty Kill Leads The Way In 3-1 Win Over Lowell

Eagles clinch the #1 seed in Hockey East

BC Athletics

No White? No Calnan? No problem.

BC Hockey has had plenty of practice this season playing with a short bench. Like, a lot of practice. It seems like the Eagles have been missing at least one regular skater in every game in the second half.

But the Eagles' depth shined without two of its top players and once again managed to pull out a gutty win, this time in one of the most important games of the season. With Friday's 3-1 win over UMass-Lowell, BC has clinched a share of the Hockey East regular season title, and more importantly, the top seed in the Hockey East tournament.

As has been the case all season, penalties were the story for BC once again. Regardless of what we may think of the refereeing, the Eagles allowed seven Lowell power plays but kept the Riverhawks out of the net on every one of them.

The combination of a short bench and an exhausted penalty killing unit meant that BC had to really dig deep in the second half of the game, and they came through.

Boston College Goal #1: 3:38 of the 1st period
Ryan Fitzgerald (Matty Gaudreau, Chris Brown)

BC 1, UML 0

The key to the game for BC was always going to be to score early. Lowell came into the game with the 2nd best team defense in the country, and you got the feeling down two skaters that BC could wear down a bit down the stretch.

They got the right bounce early on to get off on the right foot. Just a few minutes into the game, Matty Gaudreau makes it all happen on his own. He rips off a shot right from the slot that Kevin Boyle can't handle.

While Boyle and a Lowell defenseman get tangled up a little bit, Gaudreau is coming in looking for his own rebound. The puck is bouncing around like a superball, and he just manages to get enough stick on it to bloop the puck on net. Fitzgerald The Elder gets a stick on it as it goes past Boyle and gets credit for the goal.

It's probably lucky that Gaudreau didn't get good wood on it, because Boyle may have made the save.

Boston College Goal #2 (GWG): 9:28 of the 1st period
Teddy Doherty (Alex Tuch, Zach Sanford)

BC 2, UML 0

Both of these goals were pretty similar. You've got a great shot from a good shooting lane, this time from Tuch at the top of the faceoff circle, and an Eagle going hard to the net looking for a rebound.

Tuch's shot is great, but follow Doherty on the whole replay. He bulldozes his way through a defenseman to get where he needs to be, and it has the added bonus of pushing the Riverhawk defender into Tuch's shooting lane for a partial screen and possibly even a partial block.

Doherty's right out in front when the puck finds his stick, and he finishes to put BC up by two.

You cannot say enough good things about Teddy Doherty. We are going to miss him terribly next year.

UMass-Lowell Goal #1: 13:41 of the 1st period
Adam Chapie (Unassisted)

BC 2, UML 1

BC didn't have nearly a perfect night, but this was one of the only really glaring defensive breakdowns of the game. Austin Cangelosi -- who we can't get on too badly because he's surged into the role of one of BC's most important players this season -- gets a little too casual trying to clear the puck out of his own end.

Credit to Lowell who put good pressure on to force the turnover, but Cangelosi has at least one good outlet to get out of trouble and just makes the wrong move. He tries to chip the puck past Adam Chapie and gets burned for it.

Chapie wins the race to the puck and takes a quick turnaround shot that beats Demko to cut Lowell's deficit in half.

2-1 was how the score would remain for much of the rest of the game. A parade of Eagles to the penalty box took away any flow the game might have developed, and BC was chasing the game for the last 40 minutes. Incredibly, BC not only went 7 for 7 on the penalty kill, but they really choked off any chances Lowell hoped to have.

Consider that in the third period, BC was on the penalty kill for 6 minutes, and only allowed 6 shots the entire frame. That's how you lock down.

Boston College Goal #3 (ENG, SHG): 16:48 of the 3rd period
Ryan Fitzgerald (Ian McCoshen, Thatcher Demko)

BC 3, UML 1 -- FINAL

In the end, BC was a bit lucky to ice the game a little early thanks to a head scratching decision by Lowell head coach Norm Bazin to pull the goalie on a BC penalty with 3:31 left in a one goal game.

Rather than taking advantage of the full 2 minutes of power play and then pulling the goalie for the last minute and a half -- essentially guaranteeing yourself an extra skater for the whole rest of the game -- Lowell opted for the 6 on 4 advantage with way too much time left. All it took was one well placed shot from behind his own blue line for Ryan Fitzgerald to seal the deal and give BC the win.

The #1 seed is crucial for the Hockey East tournament. Thanks to reseeding, BC will always play the lowest remaining seed in any round of the tournament. So while BC is lined up to play the winner of the #8 vs. #9 octofinal, all it takes is one upset for BC to be playing someone possibly much weaker. In this conference, you take any advantage you can get on your way to the Garden.

There's still so much to play for in Saturday night's regular season finale. St. Cloud, #2 in the Pairwise and #1 in RPI, lost to Minnesota-Duluth at home putting the top 4 seeds (including BC) all within striking distance of #1 overall.

White will be out again on Saturday, and probably Calnan too, so it'll be another grind for BC to keep pace with the rest of the top 4. But with a two week break up ahead thanks to a bye through the octofinals, there's hope that BC might finally get healthy for the stretch run.