LOWELL — It’s not often that a player is presented with an opportunity to redeem himself during the course of a game.
Colin Wilson got that chance Friday night, and he made the most of it in explosive fashion to spearhead the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team’s 6-4 victory over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell at Tsongas Arena.
With just under six minutes remaining in regulation, the sophomore forward slid an ill-advised pass from his own half-boards toward senior forward Jason Lawrence in the slot. The puck never reached his linemate, however, as it was intercepted and led to UML senior forward Mike Potacco’s go-ahead tally at 14:29 to put the River Hawks on top, 4-3.
Instead of dwelling on the miscue, the 19-year-old bore down and orchestrated a late-period surge that ranks among the defining moments of this young but already memorable season.’
‘I was playing pretty sound until my turnover that got them the goal,’ Wilson said. ‘I thought I started off a little bit slow, but after that turnover I knew I had to get the team back in it.’
At 17:46 of the third period, he fought off a defender along the UML half-boards and zipped the puck over to Lawrence in the slot, where the winger passed to senior forward Chris Higgins for a tap-in at the goalmouth to tie the score.
But with 14.5 seconds left in the game, Wilson took matters into his own hands. After gathering an entry pass from senior forward Brandon Yip at the point, he held the puck with the intention of dishing it off before unleashing a high wrist shot past the blocker side of Lowell freshman goaltender T.J. Massie.’ ‘ ‘ ‘
Higgins capped the stunning comeback with an insurance goal that came just 0.6 seconds before the contest’s end, assisted by none other than Wilson, who matched a career-high with four points to up his season totals to a team-best five goals and seven assists.
Of course, the night would not have been complete without a fight from the physical Wilson, who got mixed up with UML’s Ben Holmstrom 25 seconds into the third. As he skated toward the penalty box to a chorus of boos, Wilson encouraged the charged-up Lowell faithful to continue chanting by moving his ear forward. It was a gesture befitting of an NHL player, something Wilson could be as soon as next year.’
After watching his star center lead the Terriers to victory for the sixth time in seven tries this season, BU coach Jack Parker referenced two of the greatest players ever to don the scarlet and white. While not specifically mentioning Wilson’s name along with them, Parker’s thought process was clear.
‘We’ve had some unbelievably great games with Lowell,’ he said. ‘We’ve had so many games with them where it was 2-2 with three minutes to go or we’re losing 4-3 with two minutes to go like [Friday], and then a really good player for us just makes a great individual effort.
‘We aren’t playing well at all, and then all of a sudden Tony Amonte gets a goal or Chris Drury gets a goal. It must be very frustrating for Lowell to play as hard as they did, to go up 4-3 and then all of a sudden we get one, two and three and the game is gone. We snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat.’
The seventh overall selection by the Nashville Predators in this summer’s NHL draft, Wilson has done nothing but impress since returning to Commonwealth Avenue this fall. One year after wading through an up-and-down freshman season that ultimately produced 35 points and Hockey East Rookie of the Year honors, there’s no telling just how much an acclimated Wilson will impact the Terriers by season’s end.
‘I think he’s more comfortable and confident with his team and his environment,’ Parker said. ‘Now, he’s not worried about where he’s getting drafted because he’s already been drafted. He’s not trying to prove anything to anybody. He knows what the broader future holds for him.
‘He came back in great shape and with a great attitude, so there’s no reason for him not to dominate a lot of games.’