Final, UMass Lowell 1-0: And it’s over, UMass Lowell survives a furious, last-gasp effort by the Terriers to win its first Hockey East tournament championship in dramatic fashion.
Behind another stellar performance by goalie and tournament MVP Connor Hellebuyck, the River Hawks continue the best season in school history and will likely be a No. 1 seed when the national tournament opens next week.
As one run continues, another comes to a close tonight, as — barring a near-miracle bid from the national selection committee — Boston University head coach Jack Parker has now coached his final game for the Terriers.
He retires as the third-winningest college hockey coach of all time.
Third period, 17:15, UMass Lowell 1-0: Maguire heads to the bench. BU will make one final push.
Third period, 15:39, UMass Lowell 1-0: Norm Bazin takes a timeout with 4:21 separating his River Hawks from the first conference title in school history.
If the score holds, Arnold will be the hero of another playoff game. The Foxboro native scored the game-winning goal in overtime to clinch UML’s quarterfinal series against Maine.
Third period, 11:09, UMass Lowell 1-0: Goooooal!
Derek Arnold has put Lowell up for the first time tonight. Arnold, Scott Wilson and Chad Ruhwedel made a 3-on-2 rush into the BU zone, with Ruhwedel’s initial shot deflecting off Wilson’s skate and behind the net. Maguire slid to his right to stop Ruhwedel’s bid and was unable to get back in position in time, leaving an open net for Arnold to punch in the game’s first score.
Third period, 9:57, 0-0: Since Wright rung iron, the period has progressed without a hitch — and without a goal. Both teams are doing a nice job of limiting quality chances in front of the net — something the River Hawks struggled to do in the second.
Third period, 3:25, 0-0: Evan Rodrigues sends a slap shot off the post for BU then Wright, fresh out of the penalty box, follows suit on the opposite end of the ice. The atmosphere is electric at the Garden as both teams search desperately for the game’s first goal.
Third period, 1:12, 0-0: The third period is underway, and after killing off the remainder of Ruikka’s penalty, the Terriers will go on the power play themselves when Colin Wright is called for boarding.
Second intermission, 0-0: The Terriers and River Hawks have now played 40 minutes of scoreless hockey.
UML will again come out of the locker room up a skater after BU’s Ryan Ruikka was penalized for tripping with 1:20 to play in the second.
The way this game is going, one goal may be all a team needs, making every shift a crucial one. The goalies needed to work a little harder in the second, but both have remained flawless. Maguire saved 15 shots in the period to bring his total to 21 and Hellebuyck stopped 18 for a total of 26 on the night.
Second period, 16:38, 0-0: Wasn’t I just saying we haven’t seen a case of embellishment all weekend? Well, we now have our second case in less than five minutes.
BU’s Garrett Noonan made contact with UML’s Joseph Pendenza after the whistle and then crumbled to the ice when Pendenza gave him a shot to the face. The refs assessed matching penalties on the play: two minutes to Pendenza for roughing and two minutes to Noonan for embellishment.
The extracurricular activity is definitely ramping up as the game wears on; nearly every whistle is followed by a bit of pushing and shoving.
Second period, 12:05, 0-0: Derek Arnold is whistled for diving — a call that does not sit well with the River Hawks supporters in the arena. It’s the first time we’ve seen embellishment penalized this weekend. The Terriers can’t capitalize on the man advantage, though, as the UML penalty kill holds steady.
Second period, 10:01, 0-0: The intensity is finally starting to pick up on in all three zones. Ryan Santana was almost able to hammer the puck past Hellebuyck in the UML end, BU’s Jake Moscatel leveled River Hawks captain Wetmore into the boards in front of his own bench, and a nice feed from Terrence Wallin to Kamrass in front of the BU net almost resulted in the game’s first goal.
But, alas, the zeros remain.
Second period, 5:47, 0-0: Zack Kamrass is sent to the box for interference and BU will have its first power play of the night.
Second period, 2:57, 0-0: Ryan McGrath almost earned himself a spot on SportsCenter with a backhanded shot attempt from the left face-off circle that was smothered by Maguire.
But A.J. White, who scored Lowell’s first goal in last night’s 2-1 win over Providence, gave the River Hawks their best scoring chance yet when he tried to wrap the puck around the net past an out-of-position Maguire. The goalie managed to recover just in time to get a pad on it, though, and we remain scoreless.
First intermission, 0-0: Twenty minutes in, the scoreboard shows a pair of goose eggs.
BU was on the offensive for much of the opening frame but was unable to put one past Hellebuyck. The freshman netminder didn’t need to make any spectacular saves, but he stopped everything that came his way.
The performance of the game’s other first-year goalie cannot be overlooked, though. Playing in his first conference tournament, Maguire has made 40 or more saves in each of BU’s three postseason games — winning all three. He has six saves so far tonight.
UML will have 30 seconds remaining on its power play when we return.
First period, 18:30, 0-0: The River Hawks have struggled to put shots on net tonight, continuously sending pucks off the high glass behind Maguire.
They’ll be on the power play for the remainder of the first, though, after O’Regan wrestled Ryan McGrath to the ground in front of the BU net to earn the game’s first penalty
First period, 12:26, 0-0: Still no score here at the Garden, but BU has been taking control of the tempo. The Terriers have a 7-3 edge in shots and seem to put pressure on Hellebuyck on every shift.
UML head coach Norm Bazin will try to calm his defensemen down during this television timeout. BU’s extended pressure seems to be getting to the Lowell blueliners a bit, as Derek Amlong smacked his stick into the boards in frustration on his way to the bench.
First period, 6:45, 0-0: This first period is humming right along, as the teams played more than six minutes before a long BU pass was touched up for icing to stop the clock for the first time. Both team have moved with ease through the neutral zone, but neither Hellebuyck nor Maguire has been tested yet.
First period, 0:00, 0-0: Referee Scott Hansen drops the puck and we are underway.
A quick update on the starting lineups: sophomore Zack Kamrass will join Ruhwedel in Lowell’s top defensive pairing to open the game. Kamrass has played in all 37 games this season, totaling zero goals and 10 assists.
Let’s play some hockey!
6:40 p.m.: The River Hawks are undefeated in three meetings with the boys from Agganis Arena this season, outscoring BU 10-4 over three regular-season wins.
Their status as a top seed — UML’s first such honor in school history — also bodes well. Since the Hockey East tournament began in 1985, the No. 1 seed has gone 14-6 in 21 appearances in the championship game.
But tournament history between these two squads heavily favors the Terriers. BU has won eight of nine postseason meetings with the River Hawks, with Lowell’s only win coming in a 2008 quarterfinal series they would go on to lose.
6:15 p.m.: We’re just about an hour from game time here at the Garden, so let’s take a moment to delve deeper into a matchup that, surprisingly, we’ve seen twice before on this stage.
This is just the third Hockey East finals appearance for UMass Lowell, but the River Hawks’ opponent in both of the previous two was Boston University.
Tonight’s tilt will be a study in contrasting styles. Lowell boasts the conference’s top goaltender — statistically — in Connor Hellebuyck while the Terriers feature a high-powered offense that embarrassed Parker Milner, last year’s NCAA Tournament MVP, with six goals last night in a rout of Boston College.
Four BU skaters rank in the top 10 in Hockey East in scoring, with freshman sensation Danny O’Regan leading all Terriers in points with a 16-22–38 stat line. O’Regan skates on a potent second line between leading goal scorer Matt Nieto and sophomore Evan Rodrigues, who lit the lamp twice last night.
Taking the ice first for the Terriers will likely be the top line of sophomore Cason Hohmann between senior captain Wade Megan and junior Sahir Gill, with the defensive duo of seniors Sean Escobedo and Ryan Ruikka in front of freshman netminder Sean Maguire.
The River Hawks will send out senior captain Riley Wetmore centering between junior Derek Arnold and freshman Ryan McGrath, with freshman Greg Amlong and junior Chad Ruhwedel on the blue line and Hellebuyck in net.
8 a.m. ET: The Jack Parker farewell tour will continue for at least another day.
Parker’s Boston University Terriers scored five consecutive goals to take down three-time defending Hockey East champion Boston College in the conference semifinals Friday night, setting up a matchup with No. 1 seed UMass Lowell in Saturday night’s title game.
River Hawks freshman Connor Hellebuyck and his Providence counterpart, Jon Gillies, put on a goaltending clinic in the first semifinal, with Lowell edging the Friars 2-1 to clinch a spot in the Hockey East finals.
The championship game will be a rematch of the 2009 title game won by the Terriers. Neither team has returned to the finals since that day four years ago, and Hellebuyck and the River Hawks will be looking to cap off their first regular-season championship with their first conference tournament title.
Puck drops at 7 p.m., but be sure to check back in throughout the day for up-to-the-minute updates from TD Garden.
Photo via Twitter/@evanmlips
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