If Boston College’s 1-0 win over UMass-Lowell on Friday night was the calm, Sunday’s matinee was the storm as the Eagles exploded for a season-high six goals in a 6-3 victory over the River Hawks in front of 4,226 at Conte Forum.
Junior Kevin Hayes scored two power-play goals to help the Eagles to an early lead they did not relinquish.
“A real good start propelled us to victory,” said BC coach Jerry York. “I thought it helped playing at home . . . despite the approaching hurricane, we got a good crowd.”
The Eagles struck early when Bill Arnold took a pass from Teddy Doherty and popped it past River Hawks goalie Doug Carr (23 saves) on the right side for a 1-0 lead 4:23 into the game.
Late in the first period on the power play, Doherty blasted a shot from the point that sailed over the net and took a friendly hop toward the right side, where Hayes knocked it home to put BC ahead, 2-0.
Hayes’s second goal on the man-up advantage came five minutes into the second, from Arnold and Michael Matheson, and with a 3-0 lead it looked as if the Eagles were about to run away with it.
“It’s a little easier when you get out to a quick start,” said Arnold. “It’s important for our team to make sure that we come out fast and at least get some shots on net and pop a goal in and just go from there.”
The River Hawks finally got one past BC goaltender Parker Milner (25 saves) when Michael Colantone shot one high on the left side at 7:40 of the second for his first career goal, ending Milner’s 158-minute scoreless streak.
Lowell pulled within one at 11:14 on another high shot from the left side, this time off the stick of Derek Arnold on the power play for his first goal of the season.
Undeterred, the Eagles continuously pushed the play into the Lowell zone, eventually springing a three-on-one break led by Matheson, who found Johnny Gaudreau for his third goal of the season to make it 4-2.
The Eagles had a goal disallowed a minute later when it was determined Doherty kicked the puck into the net, but he collected an assist shortly thereafter when his pass from the point was deflected over Carr’s shoulder by Destry Straight with three minutes remaining in the second period.
“We lost 42 percent of our scoring from last year,” said York. “The top two lines are going to have to be scoring threats for us. I think [the second line] really stepped up for us.”
Lowell put some early pressure on the Eagles in the third period, coupled with some untimely penalties by BC. Lowell’s Scott Wilson scored his first goal of the season on a power play at 4:39 of the period.
Halfway through the third, Lowell gained a five-on-three advantage but could not capitalize as the BC penalty killing (2 for 9) came up with key clears to keep the River Hawks at bay.
“We lost to a good hockey club,” said Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “I thought we lacked execution at critical moments of the game. There’s a lot of hockey to be played, we’re going to get better here in the next couple of weeks.”
After dropping their season opener to Northeastern, the top-ranked Eagles have won four straight to put them at 4-1-0 on the season and in Hockey East. The No. 11 River Hawks fell to 1-3-1 overall and 0-2-1 in Hockey East.
Craig Forde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @BeyondFenway