UMass-Lowell gains Hockey East title game – Boston Herald
UMass Lowell advanced to its fifth straight Hockey East title match with a 5-1 semifinal victory over Notre Dame last night at the TD Garden.
The top-seeded River Hawks (25-10-3) will face Boston College, the winner of last night’s other semifinal, 3-2, over Boston University. Tonight’s final faces off at 7 p.m. at the Garden with the winner taking the Lamoriello Trophy.
UMass Lowell won the crown in 2013 and 2014 and has emerged as a Hockey East mainstay under coach Norm Bazin.
“I think the guys like playing here (in the Garden). There is no question it is an exciting time of year to be playing hockey,” said Bazin. “It shows stability, it shows a consistency within the program and the culture of responsibility and the guys were itching to come back this year.”
For Notre Dame (21-11-5), the loss concluded its four-year association with Hockey East. Notre Dame’s hockey team will compete in the Big Ten next season.
“We have been fairly successful in Hockey East but not to the point of winning a championship, but we’ve been close a couple of times, both conference wise and playoff wise,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson.
The River Hawks benefitted from another big night by the freshman class, which accounted for three goals and five assists. Freshman fourth-line center Ryan Lohin had a goal plus two assists and freshman goalie Tyler Wall gave up a fluke goal on the first Irish shot and then set aside the next 19.
“They have done a good job as a group class,” said senior center Joe Gambardella. “Basically they are sophomores at this point and they have done well producing for us all season.”
Irish defenseman Dennis Gilbert lofted a clearing pass from behind the blue line that was deflected by winger Jack Jenkins at the red line. The puck fluttered into the UMass Lowell zone and inexplicably bounced over Wall’s glove and pad at 7:00 of the first period.
The River Hawks’ freshman fourth line produced the equalizer just 25 seconds later. Lohin passed to winger Kenny Hausinger, who relayed it to winger Colin O’Neill in the high slot. O’Neill snapped a one-timer by ND goalie Cal Petersen.
UML went up 2-1 at 9:31 of the first on a slick move by Lohin at the crease. Defenseman Mattias Goransson, another freshman, fired a slap shot from the blue line that Petersen blocked but didn’t clear. Lohin secured the rebound, dragged it back, spun and tucked it behind Petersen inside the near post.
C.J. Smith and Michael Kapla scored in the second period for UML and Nick Marin put the cherry on top in the third period.
“Any time you are playing a good goalie on the other side you want to get traffic because they are tough to be on straight shots,” said Lohin. “You want to get in front of him and create chaos and I think we did a good a pretty good job of that.”