For the first time in 28 years, the Northeastern Huskies are the kings of Hockey East.
Junior forward Zach Aston-Reese scored the game-winning goal at the 11:03 mark of the third period Saturday night at TD Garden to propel Northeastern to a 3-2 win over UMass Lowell in the championship game of the 2016 Hockey East tournament.
The victory gave the Huskies, who entered the tournament as a No. 6 seed, their first conference title since 1988. They also were the lowest seed ever to hoist the Lou Lamoriello Trophy.
“It’s just a tremendous feeling,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan told NESN’s Adam Pellerin after the game. “I’m so proud and pleased for our young men who just worked real hard all season long.”
Adam Gaudette and Nolan Stevens also tallied goals in the win, while John Edwardh and Adam Chapie provided the scoring for the River Hawks.
Northeastern now will enter the NCAA Tournament as arguably the nation’s hottest team. Madigan’s club won just one of its first 14 games to begin the season but has lost just three times (including only once in regulation) in its last 23 contests.
“To come from 1-11-2 to having a run of 20-1-2 and to win it here, it’s just an unprecedented run,” Madigan told Adam Pellerin.
UMass Lowell goaltender Kevin Boyle, Hockey East’s Co-Player of the Year in the regular season, also took home tournament MVP honors after making 79 saves between the semifinal and final.
The River Hawks, who ranked No. 8 in latest USCHO.com national poll, will be joining the Huskies in the national tournament.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@hockey_east