Notre Dame was the lowest seed at TD Garden for Hockey East’s championship weekend, but you could have easily made the case that the Fighting Irish were the favorites to win it all. They entered Friday’s semifinals with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games, including three wins over regular-season champion Boston College in the last three weeks. And they had given up just 1.50 goals per game during that stretch.
So much for that theory. UMass-Lowell ripped the Fighting Irish to shreds Friday night, scoring two goals in the first and two more in the second en route to a 4-0 win. The second-seeded River Hawks advance to Saturday night’s conference championship game, where they will have a chance to win their second straight tournament title. They will take on the winner of Friday night’s second semifinal between Providence and New Hampshire.
The River Hawks dominated the game’s first 10 minutes and finally got on the board with 9:47 left in the first. Sophomore defenseman Christian Folin, who is widely considered the top undrafted player in college hockey, took a pass at center point from A.J. White and fired a shot that deflected in off Notre Dame defenseman Kevin Lind‘s skate.
Lowell struck again 3:41 later. Junior defenseman Zack Kamrass made a nice defensive-zone play to break up a centering pass, allowing senior forward and Foxboro native Derek Arnold to take off on a 2-on-1 the other way. Arnold held down the right wing before snapping a shot high glove on Steven Summerhays (18 saves).
Notre Dame came out with a strong first couple shifts in the second, but then a David Gerths boarding penalty three minutes in shifted the momentum right back to Lowell. It took the River Hawks just nine seconds to capitalize on the power play, as freshman forward Evan Campbell collected the rebound off a Scott Wilson shot and flipped it into the yawning net.
The River Hawks put the game out of reach with 6:39 left in the second on another power-play goal. Kamrass skated into the left circle and threw a centering pass to the front that ricocheted off Stephen Johns‘ skate and through Summerhays’ legs.
Sophomore goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for Lowell to pick up his fifth shutout of the season. The Jets draft pick was named the Hockey East tournament MVP last season, and he currently leads the country in both save percentage and goals against average.
Check back later for more.
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