There's no question that Boston College hockey coach Jerry York fully respects the opposition that his squad faces throughout the Division I ranks. But there's little doubt that York expected more of his No. 3 Eagles on Thursday night in the opening round of the 47th annual Great Lakes Invitational.
Instead, the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines played spoiler, ruining Boston College's hopes of bidding 2011 bon voyage on an upbeat note by grounding the Eagles, 4-2, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The Eagles (12-7-0; 9-4-0 Hockey East) put themselves in a hole early, spotting Michigan (10-8-3; 5-6-3 CCHA) a 2-0 lead in the opening stanza. Wolverine David Wohlberg potted his 8th of the season at the 1:31 mark, and Luke Moffatt added a power-play tally at 16:50.
The Eagles clawed their way back into the game in the second period, led by senior captain Tommy Cross. The Bruins' draft choice lit the lamp at 6:50, with teammates Patrick Wey and Destry Straight collecting assists. At 11:42, BC knotted the game, 2-2, when Paul Carey found the back of the net for the sixth time this season.
Less than four minutes later, however, Michigan's A.J. Treais took a feed from Luke Glendening and put the puck past BC freshman goaltender Brian Billett to give the Wolverines a 3-2 lead going into the third.
Glendening came up big again in the final period, burying an empty-net goal at 19:46 to seal the win for Red Berenson's squad. Billett finished with 25 saves for the Eagles, while Michigan's Shawn Hunwick backstopped the Wolverines' win by stopping 23 BC shots.
As a result of Thursday's loss, the Eagles will play Michigan Tech (9-10-1; 6-7-1 WCHA), which came up on the wrong end of a 3-1 score against Michigan State, in the tournament's consolation game on Friday.
UMass 5, Cornell 2
In other college hockey action on Thursday, the UMass Minutemen (6-7-4; 2-6-3 HE) took as huge step toward respectability by upsetting ECAC power Cornell (7-4-1; 6-1-1 ECAC), 5-2, in their opening round match at the Florida College Classic in Estero, FL. No. 13 Cornell, leads the ECAC Hockey standings, but had no answer for Donald "Toot" Cahoon's Minutemen, who followed the lead of sophomore Conor Sheary (two power-play goals) to trip up the Big Red. Sheary's first goal came with 12:34 left in the middle stanza, negating the 1-0 lead that Cornell's Nick D'Agostino gave the Big Red at 17:49 of the first. Sheary's strike snapped Cornell goaltender Andy Illes' shutout streak of 156 minutes, 36 seconds. But UMass was just getting warmed up. Minuteman Mike Pereira gave UMass a 2-1 lead just 32 seconds into the third, and Steven Guzzo but them up 3-2 with the eventual game-winner with 11 minutes left. Sheary notched his second of the game at 15:23, and T.J. Syner added an empty-netter for the final 5-2 margin. On Friday, the Minutemen will take on Hockey East rival Maine, which beat Clarkson, 6-1, in the tournament's championship game. It could be a great final – the last time these two squads met, on Nov. 18, they played to a 2-2 stalemate.
UMass Lowell 7, RPI 2
In Storrs, CT, the No. 17-ranked UMass Lowell River Hawks (11-5-0; 7-4-0 HE) delivered a statement game, throttling the Rensselaer Engineers (3-14-0; 1-6-0 ECAC), 7-2, in the opening round of the Toyota UConn Hockey Classic. Lowell got on the board quickly, with Joseph Pendenza converting a Matt Ferriera feed at the 43-second mark. Lowell closed out the first period up 3-0 on goals by Stephen Bucco and the eventual game-winner by David Valloraini (who finished the night with a goal and two assists, becoming the 40th player in school history to surpass 100 career points). RPI's Ryan Haggerty made it a game at 3-1 with his fourth goal of the season at 4:35 of the second, but the River Hawks scored the next three goals to put the game out of reach. Meanwhile, Lowell goaltender Doug Carr turned away 23 shots to improve to 10-2-0 on the season. On Friday, Lowell lines up against Connecticut in the championship game.