No longer among top six forwards, Boston University’s Lane embraces his role

Matt Lane moved to Boston University’s third line this season (photo: Melissa Wade).

BOSTON — Last season, Matt Lane skated on one of Boston University’s top two lines. He was, in the parlance, a “top six” forward.

This year’s influx of talented freshmen, however, most notably national scoring leader Jack Eichel, pushed Lane down to the third line.

On paper, a demotion. He was no longer “a top-sixer.”

Compensating for the apparent reduced role, however, the Terriers have rebounded from a 10-21-4 record to sit one game away from a national championship.

It’s a trade the junior has gladly made.

“Last year we struggled, [but] fortunately this year we got a lot of good players,” Lane says. “I prefer to be in this role, playing for the national championship, [than] be on a 10-20 team.

“I’m happy where I am right now. I’ve embraced the role the best I can. I’m just going to keep contributing here and hopefully finish this thing out, one more game.”

Yet to hear BU coach David Quinn talk, there’s been no demotion at all, no reduced role.

“People ask that a lot, but his role hasn’t diminished,” Quinn says. “He’s on the power play. He kills penalties.

“He’s a huge part of our team. He’s playing in key situations. If you look at his ice time, it’s probably less than last year because we have more depth, but he’s more important to our team this year than he was last year.

“He’s had a heck of a year. He’s a big reason why we’re in the situation we’re in.”