CHESTNUT HILL, Mass — Boston College senior Brian Boyle has definitively found the remedy for a scoring streak and it goes by the name Massachusetts-Lowell.
Boyle, who entered the game against the River Hawks with 11 career goals in eight game but had struggled to scored of late, netted two goals on Saturday night including the game-winning goal with just 43 seconds remaining in regulation as the Eagles nipped Lowell, 4-3.
It’s not the first time that the 6-foot-7 Boyle has broken the hearts of the River Hawks. Exactly one year ago, he scored all four goals in a 4-3 overtime win at Lowell. So when the red light flashed in the closing second of Saturday’s game, it was no surprise whose stick was responsible.
“I’ve gotten good chance against [Lowell],” said Boyle, seemingly befuddled to find a reason for his dominance against the River Hawks. “Luckily I’ve been able to score.”
Boyle’s game-winner capped a two-goal comeback for the Eagles after they fell behind, 3-1, early in the second.
“This was a difficult game for us to play,” said BC coach Jerry York, who admitted his team struggled after an emotional win over archrival Boston University on Friday night. “Lowell is a lot better than their record indicates.
“I thought our club got banged around in the second period and we should a lot of composure to get back in the game.”
As has happened on plenty of occasions for BC this season, goaltender Cory Schneider (26 saves) provided a spark to his team midway through the game. After BC surrendered three goals early in the frame to fall behind, 3-1, Schneider made four key stops during a Lowell power play around the eight minute mark. Before the frame ended, Boston College would score twice to even the game at three.
“That really was a momentum change,” said York. “That could’ve really changed the game.”
The opening period saw both Lowell and BC struggle to muster offensive chances, with each team putting seven shots on goal. The Eagles were the only team to get on the scoreboard, though, when Boyle netted his 11th goal of the season at 10:27.
When two Lowell defenders converged on Nathan Gerbe near the blueline, he dished a pass that sent Boyle in alone. Making a quick move to his left, Boyle buried the puck between the legs of Lowell goaltender Nevin Hamilton (29 saves) to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Out of the gates in the second, Lowell’s offense exploded. The River Hawks scored more goals in a 4 minute, 1 second period (three) than they have in 19 of their 26 games this season.
Jeremy Hall evened the score at one at 1:36, taking a Mike Potacco pass from behind the net and one-timing in glove side on Schneider.
At 3:21, Ian Schaser game Lowell the lead finishing a two-on-one with Mark Roebothan with a shot top shelf inside the right post. At 5:37, Nick Monroe scored his second goal of the year and third of his career firing a shot five-hole on Schneider.
After the goal, York called timeout in an attempt to settle his team down, but Lowell kept charging. A power play after BC’s Brock Bradford was whistled for contact-to-the-head high sticking at 6:23 seemed a prime opportunity for Lowell to put a nail in the BC coffin, but Schneider made numerous key stops, the best on Jeremy Dehner at the right post to keep it a two-goal game.
The momentum the Eagles got from that kill translated quickly onto the scoreboard. Joe Rooney scored his tenth goal of the season firing a shot top shelf on Hamilton at 10:44. At 17:47, Matt Greene netted the equalizer after a River Hawk defenseman attempted to glove a shot from the left wing and instead pushed it right onto Greene’s stick.
At the eight minute mark of the second, Lowell held a 14-9 lead in shots on the game, but by period’s end that advantage and all the momentum had swung BC’s way.
In the third, each team had their chances. With the game looking headed to overtime, a Lowell player knocked down the puck with a high stick at center ice, forcing a draw in the Eagles offensive zone.
According to Boyle, BC ran a faceoff play that worked to perfection. Gerbe drew the puck to Brett Motherwell at the point. He got the puck back to Gerbe who had found open space at the right faceoff dot. Gerbe’s immediate shot was saved but Boyle used his size to gain position on the Lowell defenders and just enough leverage to lift the winning goal over Hamilton’s right arm to send the 4,819 in attendance at Kelley Rink into a frenzy.
While the victory helps BC finish a tough three-game-in-four-night stretch with two wins, it adds to mounting frustration for Lowell on the other side, now winless in its last 19 games (0-17-2).
When asked if his team’s ability to stay with the nationally-ranked Eagles was a moral victory, Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald said his club is “so far beyond that” point.
“This is like a hitter who is in a slump,” added MacDonald. “You have to find a way to break out of that.”