UMass Lowell is back on top of Hockey East. After coming up short in the conference title game each of the previous two seasons, the River Hawks captured their third Hockey East championship in the last five years Saturday night at TD Garden with a 4-3 win over Boston College.
The victory serves as the exclamation point on a remarkable run for a program that was nearly cut just 10 years ago. Since Lowell alum Norm Bazin took over behind the bench in 2011, the River Hawks have made five Hockey East championship games after only reaching two prior to that, they’ve won two regular-season titles after never having won that before, and they reached their first-ever Frozen Four in 2013. Now they’ve won three Hockey East tournaments after never having won it before, and they’re heading to their fifth NCAA tournament in six years after making it just three times pre-Bazin.
Saturday’s championship game looked like it had a chance to be a barn-burner at the first intermission, as Lowell and BC were tied 2-2 after an exciting opening frame. But the River Hawks had other ideas. They took control starting around the middle of the second period, got a two-goal lead before the intermission, and held on to the finish line despite BC’s desperate comeback bid in the third.
After failing to convert on their first two power plays, while also allowing a shorthanded goal, the River Hawks capitalized on their third man advantage at the 10:05 mark of the middle period when John Edwardh followed up a Joe Gambardella shot and flipped the rebound past BC goalie Joseph Woll.
Then Lowell struck again just a minute and a half later when Gambardella settled a puck in the left circle and beat Woll short-side over the shoulder. The Eagles played desperate in the third, as they obviously needed to, and registered 12 of the period’s first 14 shots on goal.
Freshman goalie Tyler Wall made some big saves to maintain the lead (and finished with 38 saves in the game), but BC finally broke through with 2:45 to go when Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald whacked a puck through his legs from the right side of the net that banked off Wall and in.
The Eagles nearly tied the game with 40 seconds to go when Fitzgerald ripped a shot from the point that hit the crossbar and stayed out. That close. But instead of forcing overtime, the Eagles saw their season come to an end, as they are not high enough in the Pairwise rankings to make the NCAA tournament.
Lowell opened the scoring just 1:06 into the game when C.J. Smith collected a bouncing puck in the neutral zone, skated in and sniped the top corner. The River Hawks got a chance to extend the lead a minute later when they went to the power play. They got some good looks and just missed on a couple cross-slot passes that wouldn’t settle, but they couldn’t find a goal.
A minute after Lowell’s man advantage ended, the Eagles went to the power play, and they took advantage just 10 seconds into it when Austin Cangelosi tipped in JD Dudek’s shot from the left point.
The River Hawks started to take a little bit of control through the middle part of the period and nearly made it 2-1 when Michael Kapla rang a shot off the post. They continue to pressure and then did retake the lead at the 12:06 mark when Smith set up Chris Forney for a shot from the point that beat Woll through heavy traffic.
The Eagles had a great chance to tie the game a few minutes later when they ended up with a 5-on-3 for 1:39. They got a couple decent looks, but Lowell managed to get the kill. Then the River Hawks got a power play almost immediately after, and it felt like a major momentum swing was right around the corner.
Instead, things swung in the other direction. BC freshman forward Graham McPhee made a terrific play to poke the puck away from Smith on a breakout, then raced in on a breakaway and beat Tyler Wall on the backhand. It was just the second goal of the season for McPhee, and it was the Eagles’ 11th shorthanded tally of the season, tying them with Harvard for first in the country.
The River Hawks didn’t let the game get away, though. They regrouped at the first intermission and stifled BC in the second while scoring twice themselves. Lowell now waits to find out if it will be a one- or two-seed in the NCAA tournament. That will be decided by other results around the country Saturday night.
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox left fielder, who had five hits in the Sox win in Baltimore.
Hour 4. Bradford joins the show to defend the fact that he attends Ortiz’s charity event for free. Alex doesn’t think it was unethical to out Hernandez.
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.
Hour 2. The guys talk discuss Hernandez’s gay lover with Reimer. Reimer says there aren’t a lot of straight guys looking to experiment. Bradford tells Mut he paid for his wife to attend the Ortiz charity event.
HOUR 3 - ESPN layoffs continue. One time Fauria didn't know Sage Steele's name so he called her "Rashard." ESPN has pretty much decided to punt on hockey. Marcus Smart responds to Jimmy Butler. Glenn dreams of the Celtics adding Gordon Hayward in the offseason.
HOUR 4 - The guys kept us updated on the wave of ESPN firings. Paul was blocked by Pete Abe. Fauria still hates Dan Dakich. Will Gerald Green be a factor, again, tonight? The lawyer for Kyle Kennedy (Aaron Hernandez' rumored gay lover) Larry Army gave a press conference.
Some house cleaning is being done at ESPN as reports of employee cuts begin to come out. And how pissed/not pissed should Matt Barnes be?
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
The article didn't actually reveal anything that wasn't already public record, but the Globe "expose" on Brady and his relationship with the Best Buddies charity certainly has everybody around here talking about it.
We spend some time talking Sox as news of the rain cancellation comes down. A few more thoughts on the spat in Baltimore and Dustin Pedroia, plus David Price takes to twitter for his "media session".
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are in after a Reimer Wednesday edition of K&C to recap a virtuoso Kirk Minihane off-the-rails performance
Buck and Reimer debate over whether it’s appropriate to speculate about Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality. Buck says his sources don’t corroborate what Michele McPhee and the Daily Mail have reported about the disgraced ex-NFL star’s love life. Reimer disagrees with the Boston Globe's assertion that there's a homophobic element to the Hernandez story.
Buck and Reimer share their coming out stories and discuss the different ways they decided to reveal their sexualities. Buck waited until more than 30 years into his career, whereas Reimer announced he was gay during his second appearance on WEEI. On that note, Buck presses Reimer on whether he's exploiting his sexuality to further his career.
Hour 4. Crazy Al calls in for the second day in a row. A terrible caller tries to make a point. The Arkansas inmates had interesting last meals. Tomase’s epic acceptance speech.More from this show
Hour 1. In a wild opening segment, Kirk and Gerry lash out at the Globe and Joe Sullivan. Reimer weighs in on Cyd Ziegler’s Hernandez take. Michael Holley thinks the Globe would do the same story on Ortiz as they did on Brady and Best Buddies.More from this show