Over the last few games, Boston University head coach David Quinn has felt more like Dr. Phil than a hockey coach. His team lost two demoralizing games to Merrimack College after being voted number one overall in the nation and winning eight in a row. Combined with losing Nikolas Olsson for an expected 4-6 weeks with a leg injury, and the week was tough for BU.
UMass Lowell was not doing much better, though. After an eight-game point streak, the 7th ranked River Hawks entered Saturday night with a three-game losing streak, highlighted by a spirit-crushing loss at home to Northeastern on Friday. Both teams were nationally ranked and came in looking for a victory to end their woes.
Lowell got an early jump. Charlie McAvoy extended his penalty streak to 3 games and Ryan Lohin scored to put Lowell up 1-0. Only 1:04 later, Gabriel Chabot created a turnover and drove the puck back to score and tie the game 1-1. After his goal, BU’s offense went cold. Lowell outshot the Terriers 14-6 in the first and Lowell’s chances were higher quality than BU’s. Alas, the period ended in a 1-1 tie.
The second period belonged to BU’s freshman goaltender, Jake Oettinger, he faced many grade-A shots and saved everyone in the second period. The most notable was at the end of a Lowell penalty when the River Hawks forced a turnover and John Edwardh had an incredible chance to score. Oettinger made the save of the year, making a full extension glove save that drew oohs, ahs, cheers, and bows from the thundering crowd at Agganis. Oettinger played his best game of the season, making difficult save after difficult save, keeping BU and Lowell tied after two periods.
The third period started with an even performance and plenty of hits both ways. After the ten minute mark, BU’s offense came back from the dead. Bobo Carpenter took a Clayton Keller pass and buried a shot from the right dot. 2:40 later, the roles reversed, with Keller putting home a Carpenter pass from the front of the right circle.
Lowell did not quit. C.J. Smith created a chance and scored backhanded through Oettinger’s five-hole. To top it off, Lowell went on the power play simultaneously. They were primed to tie the game, but it never happened. BU killed their fifth power play of the night, and Carpenter scored an empty netter to end the game, giving BU a 4-2 victory after a tumultuous week on Commonwealth Avenue.
Quinn praised his team’s performance in the third period and Oettinger’s play through the whole game. He admonished his team to be ready for a battle every night and was happy with the results of the game. Carpenter and Oettinger echoed their coach’s sentiments.
After a rocky week, BU looks to have turned a corner and will get some much-needed rest the next few days. They return to the ice on Friday night with a home game against the UMass Amherst Minutemen. Puck drops at 7:30 pm.
Lowell head coach Norm Bazin credited Oettinger for doing an incredible job in net and chastised his own team for not capitalizing on more chances.
“We couldn’t get that second goal and that came back to bite us in the ass.”
The River Hawks have lost four in a row and will look to improve their fortunes with a good game at Matthews Arena against the Northeastern University Huskies. Puck drops at 7:00 pm.