The Boston College Eagles hockey team scored a much-needed victory over the Merrimack Warriors on Sunday, tying them at the top of Hockey East once again. Their work is far from over as the UMass-Lowell River Hawks come to Conte Forum tonight.
This game was originally scheduled for Friday, February 8, and was also supposed to be Jerry York Night, but it got Nemo’d. Now, as it finally gets played, Boston College needs a victory in the worst way, but they’re hardly alone.
The River Hawks are a good hockey team coming off of a good week. How good? Last week, three of the four Hockey East awards had to do with tonight’s visiting team, including Player of the Week, Co-Rookie of the Week, and Team of the Week. UML earned that honor by having swept the sinking Boston University Terriers in a home-and-home series. An award also went to Parker Milner, the Boston College goalie who ended up as the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. If you had 43 saves in a critical road win, chances are you’d win that recognition, too.
Make no mistake: this game is huge for both teams. If one knew nothing else about either of these two teams, the standings themselves would tell the tale:
|BC||28 pts||5 games left|
|UNH||28 pts||4 games left|
|Providence||28 pts||4 games left|
|Merrimack||27 pts||5 games left|
|UMass-Lowell||26 pts||5 games left|
The top five in the conference are all within two points of each other. If UML beats the Eagles tonight on BC home ice, there will be a four-way tie at the top of Hockey East with each team having four games left to play. Meanwhile, if BC is able to win or even tie, they will take sole possession of first in the conference. The problem with tying is that BC has an extra game in hand over the two teams with whom they are tied at 28 points. This is that extra game, so the Eagles will want to take maximum advantage with two points.
Boston College swept a home-and-home with UMass-Lowell early in the season, but that was October and these teams have been through a lot since. UML is definitely playing better hockey now than they were then, while BC has not recovered from their mid-season swoon as fully as we would have liked. It’s going to be a dogfight.
The puck drops at 7pm.