LOWELL, Mass. — Paced by a five-goal second period and the play of rookies Chris Bourque and Peter MacArthur, No. 15 Boston University downed Massachusetts-Lowell, scoring the game’s final six goals in a 7-2 road victory.
MacArthur and Bourque combined for three goals and three assists and dominated on the ice, connecting twice on power-play tallies in a game where special teams played a major role.
“We’re getting real good play out of all of our freshmen but certainly [MacArthur and Bourque] are something special,” said BU head coach Jack Parker, whose team improves to 5-1-0 in Hockey East (6-3-0 overall) and is one win shy of equaling its entire league win total from a season ago. “I think they’d be good without each other. But it’s almost like they’re Frick and Frack and they can really help each other.”
On the night, Boston University was an impressive 3-for-7 on the power play, which included a key goal 15 seconds into the middle period that saw BU explode for five goals. At the same time, BU killed off all four Lowell attempts with the man advantage.
“We won the power-play game tonight and that’s real important in this day and age,” said Parker. “It was always important before but it’s really important now.”
Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald, though frustrated, found one glaring place to blame for the loss: goaltending. Starter Chris Davidson allowed six goals on just 19 BU shots, including five on nine shots in the second period.
“We outchanced [BU] grade-’A’ wise over two period and we were down, 6-2,” said MacDonald. “I’m going to go way out on a limb and say their goalie was a little bit better than ours.”
MacDonald felt that, besides goaltending, he was happy with the way that the game went and his club’s fight.
“In this league, if you don’t get great goaltending you have no chance,” MacDonald added.
The River Hawks territorially controlled the first period, despite only holding a 12-10 lead on paper in shots on goal. For much of the opening minutes of play the River Hawks carried the play to BU, partially thanks to two early Terrier penalties.
As the second of those man-up situations expired, though, the River Hawks struck. Kim Brandvold’s shot from the left point appeared to deflect in front of BU goaltender John Curry (25 saves), going through his five hole for the 1-0 Lowell lead at 8:04. The goal kept Lowell perfect — 8-for-8 — in scoring the opening goal of the game this season.
BU evened the game on the power play. Bourque made a nifty play at the point to keep the puck in, deflecting it to Brian Miller along the left boards. Miller fed MacArthur in the high slot, and he fired a quick shot through the legs of Davidson at 12:49 to knot the game at one.
Just 1:11, later, though, Lowell answered when Ben Walter’s blocked shot at the right post came right back to him, enabling him to lift a shot over a sprawled Curry to regain the lead at 2-1.
The second period opened with BU on a 5-on-3 advantage thanks to two hooking calls in the closing minutes of the first on the River Hawks. That led to Bourque evening the game on a wrister through a screen just 15 seconds into the frame and David Van der Gulik giving BU its first lead when he was left alone in the slot at 1:46.
“The [5-on-3] goal was a huge goal,” said Parker. “But Van der Gulik coming back right after, that was the biggest goal of the game. That kind of settled [things] and we took off in that period.”
The Terriers did indeed, exploding for three more goals before the frame was complete.
The Bourque-MacArthur combo connected once again at 11:04 of the second to open up a two-goal lead. MacArthur did most of the work, moving from the right wing to the net and pulling Davidson out of position with his shot. Bourque, crashing the net, swatted the puck into the empty net for a 4-2 lead and the rout was on.
BU added two more goals before the frame would end, one from Kenny Roche on a feed from MacArthur at 14:47 and the fifth and final goal of the period by John LaLiberte with 1:56 remaining for a 6-2 lead through two.
It also spelled the end of the night for Davidson, who was replaced by rookie Peter Vetri (seven saves) to start the third.
In the third the only offense came in the closing minute, though the most critical factor wasn’t the goal itself but the cause. Lowell’s Bobby Robins was assessed a five-minute major and game disqualification for excessive roughing when he cross-checked Sean Sullivan in the throat. The penalty will carry with it a one-game suspension to be served in Saturday night’s rematch at Walter Brown.
The ensuing faceoff, with Lowell still questioning the call, found the puck dropped before any of the River Hawk players even near the faceoff dot. Terrier rookie Pat Percella then walked in alone on Vetri and stuffed a shot between the legs for the 7-2 final.
The two teams will rematch on Saturday night at Walter Brown Arena, a place Lowell has won just four times in 30 attempts.