Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Boston College men’s hockey has an opportunity to clinch the No. 1 spot in Hockey East. The Eagles currently lead Providence by two points, with each playing a UMass for two games this week: Providence will face UMass Amherst, while BC takes on UMass Lowell. Since BC beat and tied Providence in its two head-to-head matchups this season, the Eagles just need two points this weekend to finish at the top of the standings.
To do so, they’ll take on one of the better teams in the conference in UMass Lowell, a group with the third-most overall wins in Hockey East, and is currently vying for UMass Lowell for a first-round bye and home ice in the conference tournament.
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED:
UMass Lowell was the biggest kryptonite for BC hockey in 2014-15. After losing in the opening game of the season in 2014 5-2 to the River Hawks, BC tied UMass Lowell in the second matchup of the season, 2-2. After Adam Glimour scored in the first period, goalie Kevin Boyle put up a solid performance for the rest of the game, saving 37 total shots.
Demko gave up a goal in the second period to tie the game, and UMass Lowell pulled ahead three minutes into the third period with a shorthanded goal. On the same power play, Ian McCoshen found the back of the net, equalizing a score that wouldn’t be broken in overtime.
- Man-Difference — The Eagles struggled on the power play early on in the year, at one point ranking as low as 38th in the country. Since January, however, the team has refocused on taking advantage of its man-advantage, rising up to ninth in the country entering the weekend. Recently, this has included a 14-game stretch during which BC has scored 17 power-play goals, representing a level of consistency that will be important in the upcoming playoffs. Meanwhile, on the other end of the ice, BC almost always remains in control. BC has killed 87.1 percent of the penalties it has accrued this season, putting it fifth in the country.
- Guys in goal — When is Demko not a key for BC? The all-time single-season shutouts leader bounced back after giving up eight goals in two games against Merrimack to surrender just two goals in two games against Vermont last weekend. But while its offense will surely challenge Demko more than Vermont, UMass Lowell’s strength is greatest with its defense. Anchored by junior goalie Nick Ellis, UMass Lowell has surrendered just 59 goals this season, the fewest in Hockey East (BC has given up 60 in as many games). Ellis has the ninth-best save percentage in the nation at .932, still lower than Demko’s .938. But BC will still have to put up a strong offensive performance this weekend.
- For that performance, start with Austin Cangelosi, who has been on fire the past two weekends. He has put up a goal in each of the last four games, as well as three assists. This has come toward the end of a great comeback season for Cangelosi, who after an impressive freshman campaign of 10 goals and 16 assists in 40 games, slipped to six goals and 14 assists last season. This season, however, Cangelosi currently sits at fourth in BC in scoring, tallying 16 goals and 15 assists in 32 games.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff