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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Lowell Wins Hockey East Tournament

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UMass Lowell Hockey Logo

The annual March ritual that was the Hockey East tournament at TD Garden came this year with the guarantee of a new champion. This was due to Boston University Terriers’ pair of gritty, hard-fought, well-deserved wins in the quarterfinal round over defending tournament champions Northeastern University Huskies. Both games ended in 3-2 scorelines, with the Terriers overcoming 2-0 deficits to the Huskies in both games.
Joining the Terriers were Notre Dame University Fighting Irish, looking to win the tournament in their last season in the league before jumping to the Big Ten hockey conference against arch-rival Boston College Eagles, who hadn’t won the tournament since 2012, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Riverhawks, who sought to regain the tournament crown. After winning it in 2013 and 2014, they had to settle for runner-up to the Terriers and Huskies in the following two years.
The first semifinal, UMass Lowell versus Notre Dame, saw the Riverhawks punch their ticket to the final with a delightful 5-1 romp of the Irish as five different Riverhawk skaters scored and capped Notre Dame’s brief four-year Hockey East tenure with a thud. The second semifinal game, the famed BC-BU rivalry, lived up to the hype, as the Eagles built up a 3-0 lead before withstanding a furious Terrier surge to earn the 3-2 victory. Ryan Fitzgerald scored two of the Eagle goals.
The stage was set for a high-stakes showdown; Boston College’s place on the outside looking in regarding pairwise rankings meant that winning was the only way they could reach the NCAA tournament for the eighth consecutive year.
The championship game couldn’t have had a better start for the Riverhawks, with C.J. Smith scoring a top-shelf shot past Eagles goaltender Joseph Woll just 66 seconds into the first period. The Eagles would answer, however, four minutes later, with Austin Cangelosi tipping JD Dudek a shot from the blue-line for the power play tally. Chris Forney and Graham McPhee traded goals for their respective teams to complete the first period scoring, with both teams tied at two after 20 minutes.
Midway through the second period, the Riverhawks went on what would be the key offensive outburst that would decide the outcome. John Edwardh started by pounding a power play goal off a rebound past Woll at 10:05 of the second period. Then Joe Gambardella followed just 1:32 later, ripping a top left corner shot over the blocker of Woll for what proved to be the game winner. Though Fitzgerald would pot the third Eagle goal with 2:45 left in the third period, Woll pulling for the extra attacker, Boston College could get no closer, as the Riverhawks secured their third Hockey East tournament championship. Tyler Wall stopped 38 Eagles shots, and Smith earned tournament MVP honors.
With the victory, the Riverhawks punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in the last six years, the only miss in that span coming in 2015. They will play in the Manchester, New Hampshire regional, joined by their opening round opponent Cornell University, as well as Notre Dame and Minnesota State University.
They will look to embark to their second Frozen Four in Chicago this year, after reaching their first one back in 2013, when they lost to that year’s national champions the Yale Bulldogs. Coincidentally, that 2013 campaign also began in Manchester. They hope to seek their first national title as a Division I team, after winning national championships on the Division II level in 1979, 1981, and 1982.