For the 24th time in program history, Boston College Eagles hockey is heading to the Frozen Four.
They achieved this record-tying feat by defeating their conference rivals, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks, by a 4-3 score at the DCU Center in Worcester on Sunday night.
|BC||Kevin Hayes||12:57 1st||Gaudreau, Matheson||UML 0||BC 1|
|UML||Michael Kapla (PP)||18:08 1st||Arnold, McGrath||UML 1||BC 1|
|BC||Bill Arnold||17:34 2nd||Gaudreau, Hayes||UML 1||BC 2|
|UML||Josh Holmstrom||18:44 2nd||Wilson, Folin||UML 2||BC 2|
|UML||Evan Campbell||0:43 3rd||Unassisted||UML 3||BC 2|
|BC||Ryan Fitzgerald||1:04 3rd||Brown, Cangelosi||UML 3||BC 3|
|BC||Ian McCoshen||11:16 3rd||Doherty, Hayes||UML 3||BC 4|
Boston College came out in the first period and still looked to be on cruise control from their easy win over Denver in the first round on Saturday. Not that the River Hawks dominated play, but the Eagles made a number of mistakes which stemmed from lazy passing and lack of awareness. More than once did a puck hit a player in the skates and he did not know where it was.
Nevertheless, the Eagles got the first goal — but UMass-Lowell got it right back. This would happen again in the second period, despite having been a better period for the Eagles than the first. Both teams prevented the other from getting long surges of momentum in their direction, making the plays they needed to keep the game relatively even.
The punch/punch-right-back theme carried into the third period, in what had already become an intensely physical game. Less than a minute into the final frame, Lowell took the lead on a score that Eagles goalie Thatcher Demko seemed to lose. Just 21 seconds later, however, Boston College would tie the game right back up as Ryan Fitzgerald found the back of the net.
With the whole DCU Center on pins and needles, Boston College broke through for the game-winning score minutes later thanks to Ian McCoshen. For the remainder of the game, unlike the first two times they had scored to take the lead, the Eagles did an excellent job of controlling the puck and giving the River Hawks little with which to work in their offensive zone. This played a part in UMass-Lowell not pulling the goalie until later than they had intended: Boston College kept finding the puck and winding it deep. On the other end, Demko also wisely covered up most pucks that came his way, even if he was the only one in the vicinity.
The Eagles did not bring their best efforts to Worcester on Sunday, but even without it, they beat a legitimately good team. Boston College and UMass-Lowell both played hard, physical games, and a tap of the stick is in order for the River Hawks, who gave their Hockey East compatriots everything they could handle.
In person, it was an electrifying game with nearly equal representation of Boston College and Lowell fans (though the Lowell fans were admittedly the louder fanbase). Watching it live was a nerve-wracking experience, but not one that any attendees of a maroon and gold persuasion will soon forget. This comeback win was an instant classic.
Boston College will face the Union Dutchmen in the national semifinal on April 10.