The Eagles’ spark was ignited a little too late in last night’s game against UMass Lowell. A slow start proved costly for the Eagles -- their late game push was only good enough for a 2-2 draw.
The last time these two teams met was for the season opener; the Riverhawks took that one 5-2. BC and Lowell currently sit in second and third place in the Hockey East, respectively.
Prior the game, BC honored its seven seniors: Brad Barone, Brian Billett, Danny Linell, Michael Sit, Quinn Smith, Cam Spiro and Destry Straight in their last regular season home game.
This game was a must win for both teams, and with the race to the playoffs being so close, as expected, this was a close one.
With a slightly delayed start, due to senior night festivities, the game began with both teams fighting hard. Lowell seemed to have the advantage in the first few minutes of the game, getting some close shots off early. But 5:45 into the first, it was the Eagles’ Adam Gilmour who found the back of the net off a tip from Noah Hanifin and Alex Tuch.
Things started to look bleak as Tuch went off 11:14 into the first for tripping. Judging by their penalty kill from the past few games, the following two minutes were not expected to be pretty. The Eagles really stepped up their penalty kill last night and were able to kill off the colossal number of penalties awarded to them.
Their power play, on the other hand, was easily sub-par. The Eagles went on the power play 17:39 into the first and really struggled to make something of their man advantage. They had a few good chances, but overall, the power play was a bit sloppy.
The second period began with Demko coming up big with some game-saving stops. While he didn’t face an immense amount of shots, the ones he did face were pretty close; he was standing on his head for the Eagles, easily robbing Lowell of a goal or two.
It seemed as though penalties were not falling in BC’s favor at all last night: halfway through the second, Smith went off for interference and they were back on the disadvantage. As soon as they killed off Smith’s call, they were back to four men within seconds.
Lowell didn’t tie it up until the Eagles were back at full strength, however. Seconds after returning to full strength, Lowell struck on a beautiful one timer that Demko couldn’t have seen coming.
As the second went on, the tension on the ice only grew stronger. What began as a chippy game started to become even more quarrelsome as obvious calls were missed. Frustration became amplified.
With five minutes remaining in the period, a scrum, that was bound to happen, broke out behind the net, sending six players into the penalty boxes. There were so many players in each box that they could barely fit in the small space.
With two seconds left in the period, Ian McCoshen was called for roughing and added to the laundry list of the Eagles’ penalties.
The Eagles began the third how they ended the second -- and how they spend most of the time in their games -- a player down. Although they were on the disadvantage from the get-go, the Eagles did not relent. Smith nearly scored the go-ahead short handed goal on the penalty kill but was robbed by Boyle at the last second.
The Eagles’ penalty kill was outstanding last night, considering how many they had to kill off (8).
When the Eagles finally went on the power play 2:40 into the third, they were all over the place. Lowell shot one home to take the lead off a shorthanded goal halfway through the power play. However, less than thirty seconds later, the Eagles were back on the board thanks to McCoshen’s power play goal.
That tying goal was the catalyst for the Eagles' domination in the third. They were not going to relent, now matter how hard the Riverhawks were fighting back. The final twenty minutes of the game belonged to BC.
The third period, post-game-tying-goal play was probably the best out of the Eagles in recent weeks. They were connecting passes on ice, gliding the puck through defenders, and weaving through Lowell players on the way to net.
"The first two periods, at least a period and a half, was all Lowell. They controlled the play," said York. "The last half of the game, we really came out strong and created what Lowell created the first half of the game."
But this game belonged to the goalies. Boyle came up with a huge save on a potential empty net goal for the Eagles; Demko was making huge saves on what many believed to be game ending goals. The Eagles’ hearts were in this one, and you could really feel that in the final minutes. "Every single game is a battle till the end," said Captain Mike Matheson of Hockey East play.
Both teams fought till the final minutes of regulation and through overtime. The Riverhawks had their chances and so did the Eagles; both Thatcher Demko and Kevin Boyle played outstanding games, keeping their teams in the contest.
This game was all about the net minders. Sure, certain players shined on the ice, but the dark horse saviors of the game were Boyle and Demko.
With two regular season games remaining, the Eagles are looking to regroup in preparation for their Notre Dame double header. "It's a really tight race in Hockey East, it seems to always come to the last two, three games of the year," said Matheson. These games are all must wins, as each team is looking to amass as many points as they can heading into the playoffs.
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