Last year, Boston College men’s hockey forward Logan Hutsko played in just nine games with the U.S. National Team Development Program before suffering a season-ending injury. Hutsko joined the Eagles looking to get back into the groove he had while setting records at Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in high school.
It’s clear he’s found that groove.
Hutsko scored twice on Friday night against Massachusetts Lowell, tallying the game-winner with 6.8 seconds to go in overtime to down the River Hawks (16-13, 10-9 Hockey East), 3-2, and snap a two-game BC losing streak. Head coach Jerry York praised the freshman afterwards, noting the growth he’s had as the season progressed.
“We’ve seen continued improvement,” York said. “He’s been a good player right from the start. He’s regaining his strength and he’s become a key player for us.”
Backed by an impressive effort from goaltender Joseph Woll, the No. 18 Eagles (14-12-3, 14-6) gained valuable points in the Hockey East standings. Entering Friday night’s play, just seven points separated the first seven teams in the standings.
Woll had 31 saves in the win, out-dueling Lowell’s Chris Hernberg. Hernberg finished with 35 saves, denying the first four shots in overtime before Hutsko broke through.
David Cotton gathered a puck behind the net as the clock ticked down, then fed it into the low-slot where Hutsko was waiting. The freshman buried it, sparking a jubilant scene for a BC team that had suffered setbacks against Connecticut and Northeastern in the week prior.
“There’s such a fine line between winning and losing,” York added. “I think tonight, the win could of been because Joe Woll made some unbelievable saves, and it could’ve been because of the heads-up play by Dave Cotton there with six seconds left.”
The first period was a back-and-forth affair, with the play constantly shifting from one end of the ice to the other. Both teams managed double-digit shot totals, but neither could find the back of the cage. That’s not to say that they didn’t have quality chances.
BC’s Julius Matilla nearly scored on the penalty kill after Graham McPhee went to the box for cross-checking, and the forward scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone and flung a shot on net. Later, River Hawks forward Nick Marin slipped behind the Eagles’ defense and had a wide-open breakaway, but Woll stood tall for the stop.
Lowell came out firing in the second period, taking five of the first eight shots. Woll was called upon twice in tough situations, denying Ryan Lohin in both of them. Lohin, who finished with a game-high six shots, couldn’t finish a breakaway after a McPhee turnover around center ice and then saw his rebound effort batted away minutes later.
Then, River Hawks forward Nick Master lined up an entering Hutsko and leveled him, just to the left of his bench. The hit left Hutsko prone on the ground, and a minor scrum ensued amidst loud boos from the Kelley Rink crowd. Master was handed a boarding penalty and ejected from the game, which lifted the Eagles.
The ensuing five-minute power play set up the game’s first goal, as Connor Moore’s shot from the right point made its way through traffic and was knocked in by Aapeli Räsänen, who shielded Hernberg.
BC struggled to keep its foot on the gas, however, and the River Hawks made it pay. Ryan Dmowski had the answer, taking a pass from Marin and striding down the right side, unleashing a wrister that went up and over Woll’s right shoulder.
Under two minutes later, a hooking penalty on Moore gave Lowell the lead back. Tommy Panico was left open on the doorstep of the goal when the River Hawks had the one-man advantage, and Charlie Levesque slid a puck right through the low slot where he easily converted.
Cotton and Hutsko had an answer at the start of the third, though. The freshman finished off Cotton’s pass from behind the end line following a turnover, just under two minutes into the period. The final 18 minutes were tension-filled, but neither team really had a legitimate scoring chance—both finished with single-digits in shots for the first time.
In what York described as the “home-ice advantage,” the Eagles came out firing in overtime and clearly had all of the momentum. Hernberg held strong, but Hutsko finally broke through with just under seven seconds to go.
The win was crucial for BC in the standings, as—paired with a Northeastern loss—it now has a two-point edge on Providence and three points on the Huskies. With a Beanpot date against Harvard on the other side of the weekend and just four games left afterward, the Eagles are looking to take the momentum of an overtime thriller and ride into a 16th Hockey East regular season championship.
Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor