BOSTON (AP) — Boston College checking winger Matt Lombardi has picked a great time to become a goal scorer.
The senior, playing in his 141st college game, capped a hat trick with only the 10th goal of his career — his fourth in two games — 5:25 into overtime, lifting BC to a wild 7-6 victory over Maine in the Hockey East championship game Saturday night at the TD Garden.
“It’s kinda not my area of the game to focus on,” said Lombardi, who had never scored two goals in a college game, but did have the winner in the quarterfinal-elimination win over Massachusetts. “It’s always nice — just kind of a timely game to have a hat trick in.”
Maine forced OT with a Joey Diamond goal with 27.3 seconds left in regulation. But Lombardi, who also had an assist in the second multipoint game of his career, walked out from behind the net and stuffed the puck under Dave Wilson, the third-string goalie who had come off the bench to lead the Black Bears through the first two rounds of the tournament.
The Eagles have won three of the last four and four of the last six Hockey East titles. Boston College, which has won a league-best nine titles overall, secured a spot in the NCAA tournament, which it won two seasons ago.
NCAA tournament selections will be released Sunday. BC will be one of four No. 1 seeds and is expected to open play in nearby Worcester.
Lombardi said he remembered his last hat trick, which came in his senior year in high school in the Boston area.
“It’s been awhile,” he said.
But he had been working with BC assistant coach Greg Brown lately on the shooting part of his game, and it seems to be paying off.
“Sometimes the hero jumps out of obscurity to become the (tournament) MVP,” BC coach Jerry York said.
Boston College never trailed, but failed to hold three two-goal leads, including two in the third period.
“Maine was dynamic,” York said.
Diamond had two goals and an assist and Tanner House had a goal and two assists for the Black Bears (19-17-3).
“We felt if we could get by BC, we’d have as good a shot as anybody at winning the national championship,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead, whose fourth-seeded team saw its season end a goal short of the NCAA tournament.