LOWELL, Mass. — Behind a monstrous offensive effort by the line of Jeff Giuliano, Krys Kolonos and Chuck Kobesew, the Boston College Eagles walked past the UMass-Lowell River Hawks, 6-1, Saturday at the Tsongas Arena to give Eagles coach Jerry York his 600th career win.
One night after the Eagles top line of Brian Gionta, Ales Dolinar and Mike Lephart combined for 10 points, the Giuliano-Kolonos-Kobesew combination struck for nine, notching four goals and five assists.
“If one line isn’t clicking one night, it’s good to see that the other can come through,” said Kolonos, who, like Kobesew, finished the night with two goals and two assists. “It boggles my mind to think that both lines might click on the same night and both get nine or 10 points.”
York, who downplayed his 600th victory, was happy to escape the weekend with two Hockey East wins, following up Friday night’s 6-3 victory over Northeastern with Saturday’s domination.
“I bear light of personal milestones,” said York, “but I did tell the guys before the game that 600 wins is a lot of Zambonis.
“But to get a sweep [of a weekend] in Hockey East is key. They’re very hard to get.”
York noted that injuries have put his club through a battle of adversity and he’s pleased at the way it has responded.
“We played tough without three top guys in our lineup,” said York, referring to injuries to offensive-minded freshman Ben Eaves and defensemen Brooks Oprik and J.D. Forrest. “To see the team respond without those players is a good feeling.”
On the other side of the coin, the loss for the River Hawks continues their struggles against Boston College. The Eagles have won the last 12 meetings between the clubs, with Lowell’s last victory in the series coming on Jan. 3, 1997.
River Hawks coach Tim Whitehead was unavailable for comment after the game. It was reported that he held an extended team meeting, and with good reason.
After opening the season with wins against Connecticut and then-No. 11 RPI, the Hawks have dropped their first four league games. It’s only the second time since joining Hockey East that Lowell has opened the season with four league losses. The other occurrence was the 1987-88 season, when the Hawks began the season 0-4 in Hockey East, but came back that year to reach the Hockey East semifinals and qualify for the NCAA tournament.
The Eagles grabbed an early lead off the stick of Kolonos, as he and Kobesew connected for the first of their four tallies. The sophomore took a pass on the right wing from Kobesew, moved toward the faceoff dot and beat a moving Jimi St. John (26 saves) at 5:20 to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Before the end of the frame, the Eagles struck again. Rookie Justin Dziama muscled his way to the front of the net from the right wing side. Controlling the puck, Dziama fired a shot on St. John that the goalie stopped, but Dziama picked the puck from the scrum in front and fired it past St. John to extended the Eagles’ lead at 18:47. It was the first goal of Dziama’s career.
Even though the Eagles held a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes, territorially, the play was even. The Eagles ended up on top in shots on goal, 11-9.
Early in the second period, the Eagles extended their lead. At 1:04, Kobesew ‘s pass across the slot was blocked by the Hawks defense, but came right back to the rookie, who backhanded it over St. John’s left shoulder for the 3-0 lead.
Kobesew looked to be in position to net his second of the game at 7:56, but a spectacular sliding save but St. John kept the puck out of the net and kept the Eagles lead at three.
Late in the second, though, penalties got the best of the River Hawks. In what became a parade of Hawks to the box, penalties were whistled on Tom Rouleau at 16:54 for a cross check, Yorick Trielle at 17:31 — a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind — Brad Rooney at 18:28 — a double-minor for cross checking and roughing — and Josh Reed at 19:14 for cross-checking.
The result was four minutes and 25 seconds of continual power play for the Eagles, three minutes and six seconds of which was five-on-three.
During that time, both Kolonos and captain Brian Gionta netted power-play tallies to give the Eagles a 5-0 lead through two periods.
The overflow of penalty time ran over into the third period, during which BC extended the lead to 6-0 thanks to a Kobesew tip in past St. John at 1:45.
The BC power play finished the night 3-for-11 while stopping the Lowell power play on all nine opportunities.
As seconds clicked away, thoughts turned to whether Scott Clemmensen (19 saves) could notch his first shutout of the season and 11th of his career. His 10 career shutouts is already the best ever in Eagles history.
But Lowell’s Ken Farrell out answered that question, finally getting Lowell on the board at 9:42 of the third. The transfer from Iona has 19 collegiate points, but the goal was his first point since joining the River Hawks last season.
The win gives the Eagles a perfect 3-0 record in Hockey East (7-1 overall), the first time the Eagles have started with three league wins since the 1990-91 season.
The Eagles now will play a non-league game at home on Tuesday night against Yale before traveling next Friday to Notre Dame to play the Irish in the Eagles’ lone game of the weekend. Things don’t get much easier for Lowell, as Boston University will come to town next Friday before the River Hawks travel to Merrimack next Sunday afternoon.