By Brian Lombardo
LOWELL- In a win or go home game for the UMass Lowell River Hawks (19-12-5), Norm Bazin’s team showed up and put six goals past Jake Oettinger as the Boston University Terriers (15-17-4) dropped game two of the Hockey East Quarterfinal series.
Lowell came out and played like their season was on the line. They started the game as the hungrier team, and it showed as the River Hawks scored three goals in the first period.
The Terriers took a flurry of penalties in early in the first which lead to power play goals for River Hawks freshman defenseman Chase Blackmun and senior forward Ryan Dmowski.
Blackmun, a recipient of the Davis Drewskie Award for Wisconsin’s best high school defenseman, fired a point shot that snuck through traffic and found a way past Oettinger to break open the games scoring.
The Terriers found themselves trying to kill a five on three just minutes later. And as the first penalty expired and Chad Krys was making his way back into the play, Dmowski scored on a wrist shot from the high slot.
Then one minute and three seconds later, junior forward Kenny Hausinger beat Oettinger clean with a wrist shot from the faceoff dot.
Despite the scoreboard, BU did not get drastically outplayed in the first period. There were lapses in judgment for both teams, but down the stretch in the final five minutes, it seemed like the Terriers were the better team, and Shane Bowers even drew a penalty with less than 20 seconds left that gave the Terriers a power play to begin the second and carry over that momentum.
Wasting no time, Patrick Curry positioned himself on the left side of UML goalie Tyler Wall and it was enough to tip in a point shot from David Farrance. Getting the Terriers on the board, and fetching them all of the game’s momentum.
But for little use, Lowell responded as Dmowski scored his second goal of the game on the power play. Inside the Tsongas Center it felt a lot like this game was completely over, with the score reading 4-1 and the Terriers failing to capitalize on the momentum gained by the early power play goal.
The only thing that kept BU in the contest was Lowell’s lack of discipline.
At the 7:30 mark of the second, Anthony Baxter took an interference penalty for the River Hawks. Before UML could touch-up the puck, BU established possession in the attacking zone and Oettinger came off the ice for the extra attacker, while the extra man was on the ice, Cam Crotty connected on a wrist shot from the point. Which helped close up the gap on Lowell and give them a shot at cashing in on the ensuing power play.
Joel Farabee made the penalty hurt. With traffic in front of Wall, a strong screen was provided for Farabee’s shot from the slot. The goal was Farabee’s 15th of his freshman campaign.
Once again, Lowell responded quickly after it seemed BU grabbed all of the game’s momentum. This time it was Reid Stefanson who silenced the Terrier faithful in attendance.
To make matters worse, Logan Cockerill was whistled for a questionable slashing call at center ice. Giving the River Hawks their fifth power play of the game, after already having three power play conversions on the contest.
But this time playing a man down was no issue for the Terriers, and Farabee jumped a passing lane and had a breakaway in on Wall. After being stonewalled on a breakaway a few minutes early, Farabee left no doubt about this one, as he convincingly pull the puck to his forehand and snuck it past the outstretched leg of Wall.
That concluded a wild middle frame, that consisted of six goals (three on the power play, one short-handed, and one with an extra attacker on the ice) and the creation of a brand new hockey game with Lowell clinging to a 5-4 lead.
Scoring was not the story in the third period. A minute in, Nick Master beat Oettinger for what seemed like a backbreaking goal for the Terriers. From there on out it seemed like a hockey game between two teams that don’t like each other and will have to play again tomorrow.
That was a recipe for disaster: the third period consisted of eighty-one penalty minutes.
You read that correctly. Emotion got the best of both sides late in the third period with the game seemingly decided.
“We had our backs up against the wall, and we live to fight another day here tomorrow…no pun intended.” said Bazin post game, continuing with, “It’s some of the best emotion I’ve seen in a couple of weeks, and it’s nice to see it in playoff time.”
It all began with some pushing and shoving post whistle. Harmless stuff from two teams that play tough schedules and feel they deserve to move on and play for the Hockey East Title, which is understandable. With 32 seconds left, Lowell’s Mattias Goransson dumped BU’s Matthew Quercia in front of the net, which resulted in some pushing, so both were handed roughing minors.
Twenty-four seconds later, the game simply got out of hand. Lowell’s Lucas Condotta, who had been on the ice for two or three shifts in the entire game was on the ice for Bazin’s team with the BU net empty. After delaying the face-off twice for bumping a Terrier, he came across the ice and made a vicious run at Bobo Carpenter. Carpenter went down in a heap in front of the scorer’s table.
“A play like that is not needed in the game of hockey, especially college hockey.” said Terriers head coach Albie O’Connell.
The Terriers took great exception. Farabee stood up for his teammate and grabbed a hold Condotta mid-play. From there it was out of the referee’s hands. Scuffles broke out all across the ice, resulting in four roughing calls, and four game misconduct calls. Two for each team: Farabee and Dante Fabbro for BU, and Jon McDonald and Anthony Baxter for Lowell.
Condotta also received a game misconduct upon review for his hit from behind on Carpenter.
There will be a do or die game three tomorrow afternoon (3/17) at 4:05 pm.