LOWELL, Mass. — With many fans festooned in Halloween costumes, Parker Milner played trick-or-treat on the near-capacity crowd, stopping all 38 shots to lead Boston College over Massachusetts-Lowell 1-0.
The River Hawks outshot BC 38-20, but could not solve the senior netminder.
The blanking marked Milner’s second consecutive shutout and the sixth of his career. He also recorded back-to-back shutouts during last year’s Northeast NCAA Regional, earning Regional Most Outstanding Player honors.
“It was a playoff-type game, a 1-0 game, in October,” BC coach Jerry York said. “It was a goaltending duel. I felt really excited about how we competed and how we played against a very good, national-type team.
“It was a good measuring stick for both of us, two teams that expected to be good and two teams that are good.”
Steve Whitney scored the game-winner off a nice pass from Johnny Gaudreau at 3:17 of the third period. After passing to Pat Mullane, who then moved the puck to Gaudreau, Whitney curled into the high slot where he took a pass from Gaudreau and put the puck past Carr’s blocker.
“Johnny Gaudreau just has eyes on the back of his head,” Whitney said. “He saw me coming late and gave it to me and there was a screen in the front of the goalie.”
BC now stands at 3-1-0 while Lowell falls to 1-2-1. The teams were projected to finish one-two in league preseason polls.
Lowell came out swarming, claiming a 12-4 first-period shot advantage, and continued to outshoot the top-ranked visitors in each period, but failed to convert. The River Hawks enjoyed the only four power plays of the contest, but failed to generate shots in the last two.
The dearth of scoring continued a disturbing trend that began in the season opener against Vermont, when the River Hawks had to settle for a 1-1 tie despite putting 39 shots on net. In their four games, the 11th-ranked Hawks have totaled only five goals.
“Every team goes through this,” UML coach Norm Bazin said. “We’re just going through it early in the year.
“We’re going to have to find a way to manufacture offense, but we’ve had some chances and we’re playing some very good hockey teams. That’s the number one team in the country and we almost outshot them two-to-one. So there are a lot of positives to take from the game.”
Goaltender Doug Carr finished with 19 saves in the loss.
Despite the offensive struggles, the River Hawks came close to getting the equalizer in the closing seconds after pulling Carr. Josh Holmstrom put the puck on net and Joseph Pendenza was positioned at the left goalmouth to swat it but couldn’t redirect it to force overtime.
The two teams complete their weekend home-and-home series at BC on Sunday at 4 p.m.