WORCESTER, Mass. - Boston College will head back to its 11th Frozen Four since 1998 and 24th in program history after outlasting second-seeded UMass Lowell, 4-3, in the NCAA quarterfinal round on Sunday night at the DCU Center. Freshman defenseman Ian McCoshen dialed up the game-winning goal at 11:16 of the third period on a great play from sophomore Teddy Doherty at the top of the zone.
With the victory, the Eagles will face off against Union on Thursday, April 10, in the national semifinal game. Boston College will look to avenge last year's 5-1 loss to the Dutchmen from the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Likely suspects Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold anchored the offense early while first-year forward Ryan Fitzgerald scored a lucrative goal to tie the game up in the third period.
Hayes logged a goal and two assists while Gaudreau chipped in a pair of assists to finish the Northeast regional with an eight-point performance (3-5-8). For his heroics, the Carneys Point, N.J., native was tabbed the tournament's Most Outstanding Player of Northeast Regional. Arnold scored his 14th of the season at 17:34 of the second frame.
Freshman Thatcher Demko steered aside 29-of-32 River Hawks' attempts to anchor Boston College's trip to the Frozen Four. BC tested UML goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with 29 shots and slipped four past him. Hellebuyck had surrendered only two goals in his last four starts.
Boston College struck first after killing off a swarming Lowell power play early on in the first period.
Sophomore Michael Matheson, who was called for interference at 6:32, made the outlet pass to Gaudreau in the neutral zone. Gaudreau zipped through the middle of the ice and brought the puck down in front of Hellebuyck. With patience, Gaudreau baited Hellebuyck and connected with Hayes on the near post with the slick backhand feed for the 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first period.
The River Hawks responded with 1:52 remaining in the opening frame, capitalizing on a Fitzgerald boarding call at 16:47.
UMass Lowell controlled the puck throughout the duration and Michael Kapla found the back of the net with a long-distance rip from the top of the zone. A.J. White set a tough screen on Demko, blocking his view of Kapla's shot through traffic. Kapla kept it low and found the back of the net at 18:08.
Arnold and Gaudreau joined forces with a few minutes to go in the second period and take the 2-1 lead.
Hayes provided Gaudreau with the puck on the right circle and he let loose a great chance on Hellebuyck. The puck caromed quickly to the slot and Arnold made the heads up play by kicking the puck to his stick and burying the wrister at 17:34.
With only 1:16 left in the second, Josh Holmstrom responded with a goal in tight to force a 2-2 draw as the teams skated into second intermission.
Scott Wilson blasted the puck into the crease from up top and Holmstrom pounced on the ricochet and beat Demko before he could shift over.
Lowell came right out of the chute to start the third period and capitalized off its late goal in the second.
Evan Campbell applied heavy the heavy forecheck and managed to induce a turnover on rookie Scott Savage. Campbell had a tight angle on the net, but carved in and beat Demko short side 43 seconds into the frame to take a 3-2 lead.
Fitzgerald responded almost immediately with a beautiful five-hole attempt on Hellebuyck 21 seconds later to button the game back up, 3-3.
Senior Patrick Brown and rookie Austin Cangelosi worked the puck loose to Fitzgerald in the slot. With two River Hawks in his face, Fitzgerald brought the disc to his backhand and slid it through Hellebuyck for the equalizer.
Once the teams settled into the third following the early onslaught, BC's blue line made a great play to reclaim the lead, 4-3.
Hayes dug the puck out of the near corner and managed to get it up to Doherty at the top of the right circle. Doherty took a couple steps towards the net before discovering McCoshen had a wide-open look on the left dot. Doherty linked up with McCoshen for the one-timer and he buried the dish at 11:16 which stood as the deciding goal to send the Eagles to Philadelphia.
UMass Lowell pulled Hellebuyck with a minute left to go and gained the zone, but BC's defense plugged the middle and kept Demko out of harm's way.
Boston College and Union will square off at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, April 10, for a chance to play for the national championship. North Dakota is on the other side of the Frozen Four bracket and awaits the winner of the Minnesota / St. Cloud State matchup.