Hard Work Pays Off For Hero Lombardi
Hat Trick Lifts BC to Hockey East Title
by Cara Spilsbury/CHN Reporter
BOSTON The adage has been said many times and many ways, sometimes as a trite motivational tool or a rallying cry for the weary. But at Saturday's Hockey East season finale, the moral of the story was clear: Hard work certainly does pay off.
Just ask Matt Lombardi.
After scoring three goals all season and seven in his career at Boston College, the senior had a hat trick and an assist in the Hockey East Championship, including the game winner, to lead the Eagles to a thrilling 7-6 overtime victory over Maine.
After the game, Lombardi was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
“Tonight was full of surprises,” said Boston College coach Jerry York. “Sometimes the hero jumps out of obscurity to win the MVP. Matt has worked really hard these last four years and it was nice that he could get rewarded like that.”
Saturday’s heroic performance was the forward’s first multi-goal game. He is only the second player in championship history to score a hat trick.
In the post-game press conference, Lombardi was the main attraction, fielding question after question, even as his name plate at the microphone misidentified him as “Lomardi.”
“It was a timely game to have a hat trick,” he said, flashing a smile. “It feels great, but it feels great to share this with my teammates.”
The last time Lombardi had a hat trick was as a senior at the Governor’s Academy (then known as the Governor Dummer Academy). He had trouble remembering any other details.
“It’s been a while,” he said.
On this Eagles squad, alternate captain Lombardi is known as a tireless grinder, often the last one to leave the gym. Recently, he’s been taking time before practice with assistant coach Greg Brown to fine tune his shooting skills.
“He’s a special kid,” said captain Matt Price, Lombardi’s linemate and roommate. “He’s the hardest worker on the team. He’s someone who we all look up to.”
“His skill level is improving daily,” said York. “He was a player who had to claw and dig to play Division I hockey, and I think it’s important for all our players to see how well he’s progressed through his career.”
Within seconds of their exhilarating win, Lombardi was thrust into Superfan stardom. When he was announced as the tournament’s MVP, the BC student section began rabidly chanting his name.
But Price said that, for Lombardi, his glint of personal glory Saturday night was a thrill that paled in comparison to the Eagles’ ninth Hockey East Championship.
“It was great getting to see how happy he was, but I think the hat trick was gravy,” Price said. “He would have been just as happy to have a win regardless of who scored the goals.”
It's off to the NCAAs for Boston College, as a No. 1 seed. For Maine, it had a strong season, coming back off a couple of lean years, but this hopes of reaching the NCAAs came to an end with the loss.