Quarterfinals Recap: UML Sweeps Maine, Earns Trip to the TD Garden

#6/6 Massachusetts-Lowell (24-10-2, 16-9-2 HE)
vs University of Maine (11-19-8, 7-12-8 HE)

UML_MEWhen: Thursday, March 14th at 7:00pm EST
Place: Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA
Final Score: UMass Lowell 4, Maine 2

Three Stars of the Game:
1 - Scott Wilson, F, UML (2 Goals, +1)
2 – Chad Ruhwedel, D, UML (2 Assists)
3 - Connor Hellebuyck, G, UML (24 Saves, W)

Box Score | Photo Gallery | Post Game Reactions

“UMass Lowell Tops Maine, Takes Series Opener”
For the second year in a row, the UMass Lowell River Hawks open the Hockey East quarterfinals at home, on a Thursday night. Last year, the River Hawks fell to the Providence Friars in the series opener. Things were different this year, as UMass Lowell beat Maine, 4-2, taking game one of the series.

Coming into Thursday night’s tilt, Maine has gone 14-1 against the River Hawks in postseason play. The Black Bears were looking to make it 15-1, and got the scoring started in the first period. Devin Shore fed Jake Rutt at 13:52 and Rutt put it past Connor Hellebuyck, giving the Black Bears the lead, 1-0. UMass Lowell was given more chances to score and took more shots, but were unable to get anything past Martin Ouellette.

UMass Lowell didn’t want to enter the third period trailing and have to fight back to win. Scott Wilson made sure that wouldn’t happen. The UMass Lowell forward tallied a pass from Derek Arnold and Chad Ruhwedel to even the score, 1-1. Once again the River Hawks were the more offensive team, but only were able to even the score in the second period.

The River Hawks lead all Hockey Hockey teams in third period goals this season and improved on the lead, Thursday night. Entering the third period, Maine was 3-6-1 on the season, when tied and Lowell wanted to take advantage of their inability to keep the lead.

Wilson netted his second goal of the game, 1:52 into the third period, giving UMass Lowell the lead, 2-1. Only 21 seconds later, Joseph Pendenza tallied, what would become the game-winning-goal, and gave the River Hawks a 3-1 lead with 17:47 remaining in regulation. Chad Ruhwedel fired a shot on net from point, on a Riley Wetmore pass. However, Josh Holmstrom tipped the puck in front of the net and changing the angle enough to put it past Ouellette. With 48 seconds remaining in the third and Maine’s goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, Devin Shore netted a power play goal moving the Black Bears within two goals. However, there just wasn’t enough time on the clock and in the end, UMass Lowell came out on top, 4-2.

Maine came out strong in the first period, but UMass Lowell just took what they did incorrectly in the first and made changes. The improvements are what saved the game for the River Hawks. (Originally posted for InsideHockey.com)

UML_MEWhen: Friday, March 15th at 7:0opm EST
Place:  Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA
Final Score: UMass Lowell 2, Maine 1 (OT)

Three Stars of the Game:
1 – Derek Arnold, F, UML (GWG, +1)
2 – Martin Ouellette, G, Maine (35 Saves)
3 - Connor Hellebuyck, G, UML (18 Saves, W)

Box Score | Photo GalleryPost Game Reactions

“UMass Lowell Tops Maine in OT, Advances to the Garden”
LOWELL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell River Hawks beat the University of Maine, 2-1, and advance to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time, since 2009. It took an extra period, but in the end the River Hawks tally a overtime goal and the quarterfinal series, 2-0.

Maine senior captain, Joey Diamond had a difficult time keeping himself out of the penalty box this season and it didn’t change on Friday night. Diamond was whistled for a five-minute major penalty after charging, UMass Lowell goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck at 8:59 in the first period. With the man-advantage, the home team was unable to net a goal.

The Black Bears tallied the game’s first goal for the second night in a row. Devin Shore scored, what would be Maine’s final goal of the season, at 7:51 in the second period. With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, Diamond saw his last action in a Maine uniform. The senior forward was whistled for a five-minute major and a game disqualification after kicking Joe Houk.

Diamond accumulated 52 penalty minutes over Maine’s last four games. His DQ from Friday night’s game, was just par for the course during his career in Hockey East.

UMass Lowell started the third period with 3:04 remaining on Diamond’s major penalty. The River Hawks once again were unable to get anything started on the power play and wasted another man-advantage chance. However, 56 seconds after Maine’s penalty expired, UMass Lowell got on the board. Michael Fallon stuffed a rebound off a Scott Wilson wrap around shot. With 16 minutes remaining in regulation, the Black Bears and River Hawks were even, 1-1.

After the third period expired, with neither team scoring a goal, they were headed to overtime. Derek Arnold would become the hero of the game, netting the game-winning-goal only 1:50 into the overtime period. After Martin Ouellette made the initial save, he was pulled out of the crease and taken out by Mark Nemec, opening up the goal for Arnold. The goal went immediately under review and after roughly seven-minutes in front of the replay, it was signal as a goal and the crowd of 5,399 went crazy.

Maine was able to kill off 16 minutes of penalties and didn’t allow a single power play goal. The Black Bears penalty killing was outstanding and Ouellette stood on his head.

The UMass Lowell victory sends them to the TD Garden in Boston, Mass., next weekend. The Rive Hawks beat Northeastern University and advanced to the finals in 2009, only to fall to Boston University in the Championship. (Originally posted for InsideHockey.com)

Justin Soderberg covers Hockey East for Inside Hockey, as well as the UMass Lowell River Hawks for View from 123. In addition he covers the Boston Red Sox, NHL and UFC for RantSports.com. Follow him Twitter: @thegreatjustin

Justin Soderberg has covered the UMass Lowell River Hawks and Hockey East for over two years. Soderberg also contributes to Boston Bruins coverage for Inside Hockey. Follow him on twitter: @JMSoderberg