CHESTNUT Hill, Mass. – Senior forward Joe Gambardella notched three points (two goals, one assist) to pace the No. 5 ranked UMass Lowell hockey team as the River Hawks earned a 4-1 road victory at No. 14 Boston College Thursday night in Hockey East action at Conte Forum.
With the win, the River Hawks improve to 21-9-3 overall (13-7-1 HEA), while the Eagles drop to 18-13-4 overall (13-5-3 HEA). With a victory tomorrow night, the River Hawks would clinch a first-round bye and host the quarterfinal round in the Hockey East playoffs for a sixth straight season.
BC's Austin Cangelosi tied the game at 1-1 just 25 seconds into the third period, but Gambardella put the River Hawks back in front 2-1 with a point-blank wrister just three minutes later for his 16th tally of the year. Junior forward C.J. Smith and Gambardella added an insurance goal each at 13:15 and 16:31 respectively in the third frame to close out the win for the River Hawks. Smith's goal marked his team-leading 18th goal of the season for the River Hawks.
Gambardella finished the night with a game-high five shots on goal and a +3 plus/minus rating. He has tallied 122 career points and moved past Elias Godoy (121 points) for 25th on the all-time scoring list with his three-point effort.
Junior blueliner Chris Forney got the River Hawks on the scoreboard first with two minutes left in the period on a blast from the high slot on the power play for his third goal of the season.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period as UMass Lowell held a slim 10-9 shot advantage.
Freshman UML netminder Tyler Wall finished the night with 28 saves while BC counterpart Joe Woll recorded 20 stops for the Eagles. Wall's 20 wins ties Connor Hellebuyck's rookie record from 2012-2013.
UMass Lowell went a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play.
The River Hawks conclude the Hockey East regular-season on Friday, Feb. 24 against Boston College on Senior Night. Game time from the Tsongas Center in Lowell is set for 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on NESN and nationally on American Sports Network.