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Saturday thoughts: So that’s what a tie feels like

February 15, 2009

Well Jerry York certainly put the fear of God into the Eagles during the second intermission.

After playing five periods of dreary, dismal, uninspired hockey, Boston College came out guns ablaze in the third period, outshot Lowell 11-4 and scored twice to force the 4-4 win and salvage a point from an otherwise abysmal weekend.

Except it shouldn’t have happened. Lowell was in firm control of the game, and indeed the entire weekend, prior to that fateful period, leading 10-2 on aggregate and, of course, 4-2 in the game. Johnny Muse had been mindbogglingly bad all weekend and the Eagles offense was often heard from but rarely seen. But the problem was that the River Hawks let their rivals for home ice hang around, and it cost them a two-point swing.

Scott Campbell, who, along with his CPR linemates comprised the three best players on the ice, scored the fastest goal in school history, just 11 seconds in and Lowell looked unbeatable once more. But BC tied it 7:30 later before Mike Potacco put the ‘Hawks up again before the break.

Nick Schaus added a goal in the second (his ninth career point in nine games against BC), but Cam Atkinson scored two minutes or so later to once again pull his team within one. And once again, Mark Roebothan staked Lowell to a two-goal lead before the end of the period.

But that was it for Lowell, and BC shifted into the fourth or fifth gear it had been sorely lacking for the entirety of this series and, indeed, the season. BC’s top line of Joe Whitney, Cam Atkinson and Brock Bradford more or less took over the game, creating a number of neutral-zone turnovers and winning far more faceoffs (ratio-wise) than it had the rest of the game. The Eagles also did a phenomenal job of creating traffic in front of the net and it directly led to Carl Sneep‘s goal to cut it to 4-3.

BC was pouring it on at this point, and Lowell had no answer at all. Some have questioned Blaise MacDonald‘s decision to sit on his timeout Lowell continued to create zero chances, and with good reason. The build to Bradford’s game-tying goal with 3:19 to play included Lowell taking a pair of penalties to only help BC solidify its momentum late in the period and force the issue.

Obviously Lowell held on for dear life for the remainder of regulation and even outplayed BC in overtime but couldn’t hammer home the game-winner, unfortunately. The end result of the last 25 minutes, after the prior 100 minutes of dominating the Eagles, is that Lowell dropped to a point back of UNH for the final home ice spot and stayed just two points ahead of BC. They did, obviously pick up five of six points from BC and picked up the tiebreaker, but the dropped point really hurts considering how the Wildcats fared and the fact that they own the tiebreaker over our ‘Hawks.

It’s just too bad that Lowell couldn’t shut ‘er down. Interestingly — to us at least — Lowell has both allowed and given up 31 goals in the third period, which incidentally is almost as much as in the first two periods combined (35), but here’s the problem: Lowell’s shooting percentage in the third period is a pretty good 11.4 (meaning the opposition’s save percentage is .886, .005 lower than the opponent total), but the opponents’ third-period shooting percentage is an absurdly high 13.4, and thus Lowell’s third-period save percentage is an abysmal .864, a full .050 lower than the ‘Hawks’ season average. That means, essentially, that every 20 third-period shots, an extra goal goes in on average. We don’t think we have to tell you that’s gonna cost you more games than it wins you when Lowell plays as many one-goal games as it has this year.

So that’s a cause for concern, eh?

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