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BC, Lowell tie 2-2 in game with playoff implications

No. 16 UMass Lowell controlled the early part of the game, but No. 10 Boston College stormed back in what turned out to be a fitting 2-2 tie on Friday night at Kelley Rink. The Eagles remain two points ahead of the River Hawks in the second position in Hockey East.

BC freshman defenseman and 2015 NHL Draft prospect Noah Hanifin assisted on both Eagle goals.
BC freshman defenseman and 2015 NHL Draft prospect Noah Hanifin assisted on both Eagle goals.
Matt Dewkett

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Entering the final two weeks of the Hockey East regular season, points are (always) at a premium.

No. 16 UMass Lowell and No. 10 Boston College found that out once again on Friday night at Kelley Rink, going forward and back en route to a 2-2 overtime stalemate in the team's second and final meeting of the regular season.

"It was a tale of two cities, just about," BC head coach Jerry York said after his team held a 39-24 shooting advantage. "The first two periods, at least a period and a half, was all Lowell. They controlled, they had the puck all the time and the better scoring opportunities."

With the tie, BC keeps its stake on second place in the league standings with 25 points and holds a two-point edge on the third-place logjam of Providence and the River Hawks.

Despite York's assessment, the Eagles took a 1-0 lead on a great bang-bang play at the 5:45 mark of the first. Freshman Noah Hanifin let a beautiful shot from the point go from the left side, setting up sophomore Adam Gilmour for the tip-in out front of the net for his 16th goal of the season.

It took UML the better half of the second period to tie the game, but it had some golden opportunities in the build up to junior Adam Chapie's tenth goal of the season at 13:24.

Just before the midway mark, junior Robert Francis set up sophomore Evan Campbell with a pass at the side of Thatcher Demko's crease but the BC sophomore goaltender made a great pad save to send it into the corner and keep his team ahead.

Chapie took a beautiful backhanded pass across the ice from sophomore defenseman Michael Kapla for the one-time shot past Demko, leveling the score for the River Hawks.

Sophomore Joe Gambardella put the River Hawks ahead with a shorthanded goal at the 3:40 mark of the third. Chapie was credited with the only assist on Gambardella's ninth marker of the season and fourth point in two games, dropping off the puck for an easy tap-in goal in front.

"I thought we did a better job of getting pucks behind their defensemen (in the latter half of the game) and pursuing it. ... It got a little bit better as the game went on," UML head coach Norm Bazin said. "When you come into Boston College and you're down 1-0 after one period and come back to get a tie, that's a pretty good point."

The Eagles dominated the third period, putting 14 of their 17 total attempts on goal for a 14-4 advantage and scored to knot the score and send the teams into an extra period.

"We really came on strong through the third and OT and created what Lowell created in the first half of the game," York said, "so it was like a tale of two different games for both teams."

Ian McCoshen and the Eagles were quick to tie the game 4:02 into the final frame. The sophomore defenseman ripped a bomb past UML junior Kevin Boyle immediately off a faceoff on the right side of the offensive zone.

Boyle left his net wide open for a golden opportunity in the final nine minutes of regulation, but quickly recovered back to his post to deny opportunities by both BC sophomore Chris Calnan and senior Michael Sit to keep the game tied.

The teams headed to overtime where the Eagles held control once again, outshooting the visitors 6-2. Boyle made arguably his best save of the night to salvage a point for UML, denying BC senior Destry Straight's backhanded less than two minutes in.

Both sides held the fort and took a point away entering the final week of the regular season. BC faces Harvard in Monday's Beanpot consolation game at TD Garden before heading to Notre Dame for a two-game series, while Lowell is off until entertaining Vermont for a pair at Tsongas Center next weekend.

It's officially that time of year when the competition is ratcheted up a bit and the points mean that much more. Bazin has begun to get the feeling.

"It was a prelude to playoff style hockey," Bazin said. "It was a tight game. Every puck seemed to be contested heavily ... and I liked our compete level."