Eagles Still Have the Ability to Soar on Ice
LOWELL -- Maybe UMass Lowell can convince Boston College it’s no longer a Hockey East member when the teams meet twice this weekend.
Boston College, picked No. 1 in the Hockey East preseason coaches poll, is 8-3-2 in league play and in third place. The Eagles are coming off an impressive 4-1 win over Providence.
Out of league, however, BC is a head-scratching 0-8.
UML head coach Norm Bazin is expecting a tough challenge from the Eagles when they tangle Friday (7 p.m.) in Chestnut Hill and Saturday (7 p.m., NESN) in Lowell.
“They’re still a very, very talented team,” Bazin said. “They have three NHL first-round draft picks.”
Bazin said BC’s roster is stacked with talent from top to bottom. UML will have to pay special attention to junior forward David Cotton, a powerful 6-foot-3, 189-pound forward from Parker, Texas who played at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham.
Cotton leads the Eagles with 22 points in 21 games and his play jumps off the tape, Bazin said. Cotton leads Hockey East with 10 goals in 13 league games.
BC leads the all-time series 65-40-9, but UML has won five of the last seven meetings.
UMass Lowell (13-8-1, 7-4-1 HE), meanwhile, has won five straight games and is 5-0 in 2019.
Goaltenders Tyler Wall (2.23 GAA) and Christoffer Hernberg (2.77 GAA) have played well since the break. Wall’s coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over Vermont.
On the other end of the ice, BC’s Joseph Woll is superb. Woll leads HE with a 1.53 goals against average.
RED-HOT LINE: Bazin continues to praise the line of Ryan Dmowski-Connor Sodergren-Nick Marin.
Dmowski leads UML with six clutch goals, meaning he has either tied the game or given UML the lead six times. Senior Connor Wilson is second on the team with four clutch goals.
“Ryan has been on our best line the last two weeks,” Bazin said.
Dmowski has scored a goal in three straight games and notched the winner against Vermont on Saturday following a terrific backhand pass from Sodergren, a Tewksbury native.
PENALTY SHOT: In a rarity, a UML defenseman was awarded a penalty shot Saturday.
Mattias Goransson was just out of the penalty box when the puck squirted to him near center ice late in the first period. He was hooked by Dallas Comeau before he could get off a quality shot on goal. The referee asked Bazin if he wanted to take the penalty and go on a two-minute power play or accept the penalty shot.
Before he could answer, he saw Goransson at center ice ready to take the penalty shot, a laughing Bazin recalled.
“I said, ‘There’s your answer,’ ” Bazin told the ref.
Unfortunately for Goransson, who had scored earlier in the period, he was stopped on a forehand attempt by Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas.
“I was happy for him. What a nice memory, whether you score or not,” Bazin said.
LOOSE PUCKS: The River Hawks are ranked 18th in the latest U.S. College Hockey Online poll, the first time they’ve cracked the top 20 since November 2017. ... UML recruit Owen Cole has been named the Central Canada Hockey League’s Player of the Week. The Dunnville, Ont., native scored four goals and four assists in four games last week. He has 53 points, placing him third in the CCHL scoring race. But he leads the league by averaging 1.36 points per game. He’s expected to arrive in Lowell in 2020. ... Junior forward Colin O’Neill has played in a team-high 71 straight games. ... Hernberg and junior forward Ryan Lohin have been nominated for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Fans can vote until March 10 at midnight at www.hobeybaker.com .
Follow Barry Scanlon on Twitter@BarryScanlonSun