Weekend Recap: UML Wins First Ever Hockey East Regular Season Title

UMass-Lowell won their first ever Hockey East Regular Season title in Saturday's win over PC. (Photo: Justin Soderberg)

UML won their first ever Hockey East Regular Season title in Saturday’s win over PC. (Photo: Justin Soderberg)

#6 Massachusetts-Lowell (22-10-2, 16-9-2 HE)
vs #17 Providence College (15-12-7, 13-8-6 HE)

UML_PCWhen: Friday, March 8th at 7:00pm EST
Place: Tsongas Center, Lowell, MA
Final Score: Providence College 3, UMass-Lowell 0

Three Stars of the Game:
1 - Jon Gillies, G, Providence (31 saves, SO Win)
2 – Ross Mauermann, F, Providence (GWG)
3 - Tom Parisi, F, UML (Goal, Assist)

Box Score | Photo Gallery | Post Game Reactions

“UMass-Lowell Shutout by Providence”
LOWELL, Mass. — Freshman goaltender, Jon Gillies stopped all 31 shots fired at him, leading his Providence College Friars to the 3-0 shutout victory over UMass-Lowell on Friday night. For only the third time this season, Connor Hellebuyck gave up three goals on his way to his second loss this season and his first since Oct. 19, 2012. The Friars win puts them in a two-way tie for first place in the Hockey East standings with these same River Hawks. Whichever team wins Saturday night’s game, wins the regular season title and will be the first for either team.

Providence sophomore, Ross Mauermann tallied a period only goal at 12:50, putting the Friars up, 1-0. Having the lead heading into the second period has been winning trend for the Friars. Providence was 10-1-4 in this situation, however the River Hawks had won three straight contests when trailing after one.

Mark Jankowski fired a slap shot from just above the left circle, which Hellebuyck deflected to the stick of Kevin Hart, who netted the games second goal and putting the Friars up with 13:44 remaining in the second period, 2-0. UMass-Lowell forward, Scott Wilson was slashed by Steven Shemanski, while on a breakaway, giving the River Hawks a 5-on-3 opportunity at 10:13. UMass-Lowell was unable to convert on the power play, which the team wasn’t able to do all night, going 0-for-5.

Although the River Hawks were able to get five Grade-A chances off against Providence’s outstanding rookie goaltender, the River Hawks were unable to convert. Tom Parisi put the game away for the Friars with a third period goal at 5:49, which in the end sealed the deal for Providence, 3-0.

The River Hawks didn’t come out fast, strong and physical against the Friars, which has been a key success to the teams recent winning ways. Coming into tonight the River Hawks were 17-2-1 in the teams last 20 games.

The Friars managed to block 19 shots on the night, while Gillies stood on his head in net. With the win, the season series moves to 1-1-0. (Originally posted for InsideHockey.com)

UML_PCWhen: Saturday, March 9th at 7:0opm EST
Place:  Schneider Arena, Providence, RI
Final Score: UMass-Lowell 4, Providence College 1

Three Stars of the Game:
1 – Josh Holmstrom, F, UML (GWG, Assist)
2 – Scott Wilson, F, UML (Goal, Assist)
3 - Tim Schaller, F, Providence (Goal)

Box Score | Photo GalleryPost Game Reactions

“UMass-Lowell Tops Providence, Wins Hockey East Regular Season Title”
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The UMass-Lowell River Hawks win their first Hockey East regular season title in school history with Friday night’s win over Providence College, 4-1. Prior to this season, only New Hampshire, Boston College, Boston University and Maine had every clinched the regular season title. The River Hawks win moves them up to a fourth place tie with Boston College in the national Pairwise rankings.

Getting out to an early lead was the game plan for the River Hawks and thats just what they did. Senior Captain, Riley Wetmore tallied a chip shot power play goal, over Jon Gillies, on a pass from Scott Wilson and Derek Arnold, putting UMass-Lowell up, 1-0. Providence and UMass-Lowell had even opportunities to score in the first period, however the River Hawks were able to tally a goal, while Providence wasn’t.

After an uneventful second period, Providence got on the board only 19 seconds into the third. Tim Schaller’s goal even the score at 1-1 and putting the Friars right back into the game. In such a close game, a quick goal for Providence could’ve pushed the momentum in their favor, however at 6:41 in the third period Josh Holmstrom tallied what would be the game-winning-goal. UMass-Lowell was leading 2-1 with under 15 minutes remaining in the regular season. Wilson would add a power play goal roughly four minutes later, pushing the River Hawks lead to 3-1. With 13 seconds remaining, the Friars on the power play and their goaltender pulled, the River Hawks sealed the deal with a Christian Folin empty-netter.

Providence College had 10 power play opportunities during the game and couldn’t capitalize on any of them. “I’ll give credit to [UMass-Lowell's] penalty kill” said Providence head coach Nate Leaman when asked why his power play struggle tonight, “We weren’t ready to go.” The Friars need to be ready to go next weekend when the face off against New Hampshire in the quarterfinals.

“To be the first team other than BC, BU, UNH and Maine to win the regular season title, its an exciting day for our guys, we will let them celebrate for a couple hours before we start thinking about the first round matchup” said UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin. The River Hawks welcome Maine into the Tsongas Center on Thursday for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs, a Maine team that beat the River Hawks, 2-1, in the season series. (Originally posted for InsideHockey.com)

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