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The future of the Men’s hockey season is starting to look grim if Thursday night’s game against UMass Lowell is any indicator of what lies ahead. The 4-1 loss is only the ninth occasion the Eagles have given up four or more goals this season. The Eagles are now 0-4-2 since their last win against UNH, and they’ve fallen out of the NCAA tournament bubble. On top of this, BC no longer controls its destiny in the Hockey East.
After last night’s affair, BC’s special teams have dropped to 46th in the nation. While the Eagles did get off shots some shots on the power play, they failed to create rebounds or find a skater to take advantage of opportunities in front of the net. “It’s been disappointing for us on the power play this year,” Jerry York said. “We’ve got to get rebounds, we have to get screens in front and bodies in that grade A area.”
In the last minutes of the second period UMass Lowell took a 1-0 lead when Austin Cangelosi went to the box for roughing. Cangelosi redeemed himself later by scoring an equalizer only 25 seconds into the third period, giving a new hope to the unravelling Eagles. The senior dumped the puck off the boards and it skidded into the face-off circle where Matthew Gaudreau took his shot. The blast bounced off UMass Lowell goalie Tyler Wall, and Cangelosi was waiting to tap in the rebound.
Unfortunately, this hope was short lived. The Riverhawks cashed in an opportunity created by a sloppy Eagles turnover just three minutes later to take the lead again. At 13:15, yet another painful turnover by the Eags’ D-line made the game 3-1. Lowell then added insult to injury in the last minutes of the period: Connor Moore couldn’t keep up with Lowell star Joe Gambardella on a break away, tripping him in the process. Gambardella recovered and continued past him toward the Eagles' goal. He bounced a shot off Woll and then fielded his own rebound to find the back of the net, extending the margin to 4-1 with 3:30 remaining and filling the exits with disheartened fans.
“We’re holding our sticks a little too tight,” commented York, “We need to get our resolve back and our composure offensively.” Most troubling is that BC may now need to win the conference to make the NCAA tournament — an almost insurmountable feat for a team expecting to go into trophy season and win it all. As it stands, York’s men are barely showing signs of life at the end of the regular season.
Still, the head coach remains positive and focused on winning. From his perspective, there is no easy path for anyone to the Frozen Four in Chicago this year. “I never thought it was going to be a linear line from October to Chicago without any bumps and dips,” York said. “We’ve put ourselves in a situation where we can a trophy in the last week of the season. Now we have to close it.”