Massachusetts-Lowell won its seventh game in the month of February Friday night at Tsongas Arena, 3-1, over Boston College, and showed everyone that they are peaking at the right time and will be a factor as Hockey East moves to the postseason next weekend.
Junior Jake Kamrass had a goal, his 13th of the season, and an assist for the River Hawks.
The victory comes a night after Lowell had beaten BC in Boston and moves the River Hawks into a first-place tie with BC for the regular-season title, both with 29 points. The final standings will not be determined until the league completes play Saturday night. Boston University would reach that number with a win over Notre Dame tomorrow and Notre Dame could get to 30 points by sweeping BU.
“It’s nice that we have a chance to finish first, but our goal is to be the winner at the end of the entire season,” UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin said. “But, finishing first in the regular season would be a thrill for our kids.”
Boston College rebounded from Thursday’s loss with a tough, determined opening period, but wasn’t able to score on River Hawk goalie Tyler Wall.
“They came in and threw the kitchen sink at us,” Bazin said. “But we showed our maturity in the second and third periods.”
Boston College was intent on getting the puck deep in the Lowell zone, dumping it deep at the first pressure and forcing the play down low.
“You have to get the puck out (of your own zone) and then get it in,” BC coach Jerry York said. “I like the way our team played; we showed a lot of moxie and grit and I am encouraged by how we played.”
Senior John Edwardh opened the scoring for Lowell with just 19 seconds gone in period two, a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot off a nice pass fom the corner by Dylan Zink.
Ryan Lohin padded the lead at 10:02 of that period, dunking the puck from a scramble in front of BC goalie Joseph Woll. By this time, Lowell was controlling play, cycling very effectively and regularly sending bodies to the net. Lowell was winning all the battles now.
Boston College wasn’t giving up, however. Top scorer Colin White found the puck at his feet in his favorite spot, just outside the crease, and he roofed it past Wall.
Edwardh could have given his team a cushion after being hauled down on a breakaway three minutes later, bur his penalty shot attempt died harmlessly in Woll’s pads.
Kamrass’ insurance goal at 10:04 capped the night for Lowell, driving home the puck off one of those effective cycles.
Boston College and Lowell offer interesting contrasts of style and makeup. BC lost a dozen players from last year’s team through graduation and defections to the pros. The new lineup came into the season firing on all cylinders, scoring goals in bunches and installing themselves at the top of Hockey East. Now, they move on to the playoffs and as York said, both his team and Lowell will be a factor in the weeks ahead.
“I know Jerry talks about the ‘trophy season,'” Bazin said after Thursday’s game. “But UMass Lowell likes playing for trophies too.”
Final Hockey East seeding and byes won’t be officially determined until Saturday night, but both teams will be ready.
Hockey East roundup
No. 13 Notre Dame 3, at No. 6 Boston University 1
Notre Dame broke a 1-1 tie with goals in the second and third period to beat host Boston University 3-1 at Agganis Arena. Jake Evans scored twice and goaltender Cal Petersen stopped 37 shots for The Irish. The victory put Notre Dame within a point of first place in Hockey East with just a game at BU tomorrow remaining in the regular season.
Northeastern 5, at Maine 4 (OT)
Northeastern got an overtime goal from Nolan Stevens and the Huskies beat Maine 5-4 in Orono. Leading scorer Zach Aston-Reese scored twice for Northeastern and also assisted on the winning goal. Dylan Sikura had two assists for the winners.
No. 10 Providence at Massachusetts
Providence got two goals and an assist from Jake Walman and the Friars beat Massachusetts 6-2 in Amherst.
Connecticut at New Hampshire
Connecticut scored four unanswered goals and the Huskies beat New Hampshire 5-2 in Durham. Kasperi Ojantakanen had two goals and an assist for the winners.
No. 15 Vermont 3, Merrimack 1
Vermont scored a goal in each period and beat visiting Merrimack 3-1 in Burlington. Ross Colton and Brian Bowen scored power-play goals and Craig Puffer scored at even strength for the Catamounts.