LOWELL, Mass. — It was hot versus cold, and cold won.
Boston College came into its home-and-home weekend series against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell having won four straight, including the Beanpot over archrival Boston University. UMass-Lowell, by contrast, had lost three straight to fall one game below .500 in Hockey East action, four points out of home ice.
Momentum, however, meant nothing as the River Hawks seized the lead three minutes into the game on a Scott Campbell goal, took it for good with a Patrick Cey tally in the second, and iced the 4-1 win with two empty-net goals.
“Getting on the scoreboard early, or any time, is big in this league,” said UML coach Blaise MacDonald. “We came out and established ourselves in the first period, getting pucks deep and taking the body.
“I liked the way we were taking it to the net. We were working for some dirty goals. These guys deserved this win.”
Power plays dominated the game, leaving it without flow for long stretches. Other than the empty-netters, all the goals and 25-of-61 shots came on the man advantage.
“We were 1-for-7 and they were 2-for-8, said BC coach Jerry York. “That was the one goal difference. We didn’t test [Carter] Hutton enough. Give Lowell credit. This is the second time they’ve beat us this year. Our hat’s off to them, but we’ve got one more game against them tomorrow. Points are at a premium now in the league.”
With the win and a loss by Massachusetts, Lowell now sits within two points of fourth place and playoff home ice while holding a game in hand over the Minutemen.
“This was huge coming off three straight losses,” said Chris Auger, who assisted on the Campbell and Cey goals while also excelling on the penalty kill. “The weeks drag on when you’re not winning, so coming here tonight and winning in front of our home crowd was great. We showed them we’re playing with pride.”
The River Hawks opened the game with a bang. Literally. As he cut in to the net, Paul Worthington ran over BC goaltender John Muse, after which a teammate rifled the puck into the open net. Unfortunately for Lowell, the goal was disallowed and Worthington assessed a charging penalty.
The Hawks killed that penalty, however, and seconds later went on a power play themselves. It took Campbell only 31 seconds to cash in. The junior got a step on his defender along the left wing, angled in toward the net, and stuffed the puck in short side.
More power-play opportunities for both teams arose but without further scoring.
BC came out strong at the beginning of the second period. Paul Carey forced a nice Carter Hutton stop. Then Cam Atkinson had a chance to make Hutton pay for straying from the crease but couldn’t thread a sharp angle shot from the goal line into the open net.
At the 8:05 mark, however, Joe Whitney scored a power play off the faceoff. Whitney took the puck at the point, moved to the center, and fired a shot along the ice through a Ben Smith screen that Hutton never saw.
On another BC power play, Auger put on a penalty-killing clinic, tying up the puck in the Eagles zone for 25 or more seconds.
The River Hawks retook the lead eight minutes later off a flurry in front of the net on Cey’s power-play goal.
Empty net goals at 19:35 and 19:59 by Riley Wetmore and Michael Budd, respectively, iced the game.