INSIDE HOCKEY » Hockey East Get Inside! Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:15:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UMass Lowell falls short of Frozen Four Mon, 31 Mar 2014 01:48:24 +0000

WORCESTER, Mass. – It just wasn’t in the cards for the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Sunday evening as the Boston College Eagles topped the River Hawks in a tight, hard fought Northeast Regional Final.

The River Hawks fall just short of making a return trip to the Frozen Four and end the season a bit earlier than they wanted to. The bright side; the program is shaping up to be one of the top programs in the country. The Eagles will make their 24th appearance in the Frozen Four.

UMass Lowell came up on the bad side of what was a back-and-forth game. The Eagles got out to the first lead of the game on a Kevin Hayes goal at 7:03 in the first period. Of course, a goal that was assisted on by Johnny Gaudreau and defenseman Michael MathesonMichael Kapla and the River Hawks responded with under two minutes remaining in the first, evening the score heading into the second period.

The River Hawks and Eagles traded goals in the second and third period, but the Eagles got the last laugh as Ian McCoshen received a great pass from Teddy Doherty and placed the puck in the back of the net stick-side. The just under nine minutes remaining in the game wasn’t enough for the River Hawks to return the favor.

UMass Lowell played ‘Lowell style hockey,’ but was matched up against a tough Boston College opponent. This weekend, against Minnesota State and Boston College, was two of the toughest, most evenly matched games the River Hawks had played all season long.

“Systematically I wouldn’t change to many things, I thought we played well,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin. “I thought that was one of the better hockey games we played in the last three or four. However, we came out on the short end. It was the third period that did us in.”

The season boiled down to just a single period, the third period. Whoever won the third period would continue their season and fight for a national title. Entering Sunday night, the two schools had identical records when tied heading into the third period, 4-2-1 and in the end the Eagles got the better result.

Four goals in a single game is an odd sight for River Hawk fans. Connor Hellebuyck gave up four goals for only the second time this season, the last coming against Providence College on Jan. 24. The Winnipeg Jets’ prospect finished an outstanding season with a 18-9-2 with nation’s best 1.79 goal-against average and .941 save percentage. Hellebuyck will likely finish the season with the top spots in both GAA and save percentage.

Falling short of their season goal of winning a national title by only three games is felt hard by Joe HoukDaniel FurlongShayne ThompsonJosh HolmstromJoseph PendenzaDerek Arnold and Doug Carr. All of which are seniors and have played their final game in a UMass Lowell uniform. Most of those seniors are the final remaining players from the 2010-11 five-win team that was part of the program turn around and won back-to-back Hockey East titles to complete their collegiate careers.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of the group that it was,” said River Hawks’ captain and senior forward Holmstrom. “Coming back after my freshmen year was obviously tough, but the class was the right class to go about it. There is a lot of strong guys in [the locker room]. It’s great group of guys to be a part of.”

Holmstrom will look to follow his brother Ben Holmstrom and sign professionally to continue his playing career. Ben currently plays for the Adirondack Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

Four of the seven seniors are from Massachusetts and may have played their final game, for the near future, in the state. The only four local kids on the River Hawks squad.

“I’m very, very proud of the senior class who battle back from a real adverse situation in their first season to come back with three excellent years,” said Bazin. “Right now it’s hard to swallow, but in time they’ll realize that they were part of some pretty good teams.”

UMass Lowell completes their 2013-14 season with a 26-11-4 record, 11- 6-3 in Hockey East play. Best of luck to all the seniors.

This post is cross-posted with VIEW FROM 123

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UMass Lowell squeaks past Minnesota State Sun, 30 Mar 2014 03:53:44 +0000

WORCESTER, Mass. – The UMass Lowell River Hawks kept their season alive on Saturday night as they defeated the Minnesota State Mavericks at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., 2-1.

The River Hawks renewed their rivalry with a former Division II rival Mavericks team on Saturday night. The River Hawks were once again able to top the Mavericks, as they did in 1979 to win the Division II National Title, when the Mavericks went under the name Mankato State.

Following a questionable charging penalty on Ryan McGrath, the River Hawks found themselves down a man for the first time in the game. Halfway through the penalty kill, Joseph Pendenza blocked a shot on his own blue line creating a breakaway for himself. Pendenza skated the length of the ice and backhanded a shot through Cole Huggins five-hole, giving the River Hawks a 1-0 lead.

“We practice a lot on getting that long stick on that d-man for the penalty kill,” said Pendenza. “I just went out their with a long stick and he ended up shooting it into my body. I just went on a breakaway. I had to escape the goalie one way and just put it in the five-hole.”

The River Hawks continued with their success at scoring first, playing with the lead in the first period and taking that lead into the second period. UMass Lowell improved to 20-2-3 when scoring first and 19-0-3 when leading after one period of play.

“Going into every game its a key to get off on the right foot,” said Pendenza. “It was good to get the goal and take the weight off our shoulders and start playing our game. Anytime you can get the first goal it’s huge.”

Zack Kamrass would give the River Hawks a two-goal lead on an empty net goal with 40 seconds remaining and nearly sealing the victory for Lowell. However, the Mavericks tallied their first goal and only goal with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. It was the first goal scored on Connor Hellebuyck in 201:45, halting his shutout streak at two games.

Hellebuyck once again showed why he is one of the best, if not the best, goaltender in the country. The Winnipeg Jets prospect stopped 35-of-36 shots fired at him by the Mavericks, allowing only the late third period goal by Zack Stephan. Although Hellebuyck’s shutout streak has come to an end, it took a power play and extra attacker for the Mavericks to get one past the sophomore goaltender. Hellebuyck’s last goal allowed was in second period of game three of the quarterfinals against Vermont.

The River Hawks will face the Boston College Eagles on Sunday afternoon in the Northeast Regional Finals for a chance to make a return trip to the Frozen Four. Puck drops at 5:00 p.m. eastern, also at the DCU Center.

This post is cross-posted with VIEW FROM 123

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Repeat Hockey East Champs! Sun, 23 Mar 2014 05:34:52 +0000

BOSTON – The UMass Lowell River Hawks defend their 2012-13 Hockey East title and win their first ever back-to-back Hockey East Championships after defeating the New Hampshire Wildcats, 4-0, at the TD Garden on Saturday night.

Sophomore forward A.J. White notched the River Hawks first goal at 12:12 in the very first period, giving the River Hawks the lead they wanted. The River Hawks entered Saturday night with a 18-2-3 record when scoring first this season. Senior forward Josh Holmstrom notched the River Hawks second goal of the first period at 15:28 and sent the River Hawks to the locker room with a two-goal first period lead, something UMass Lowell has been comfortable with this season. The River Hawks entered Saturday night with a 17-0-3 record when leading after one.

Connor Hellebuyck stole the show for not just the second night in a row, but for the fourth straight Hockey East tournament game at the TD Garden. The sophomore goaltender owns a shutout streak of 230:01, 129 straight saves, at the TD Garden dating back to last season’s semifinal win over Providence College. The Winnipeg Jets’ prospect dominated the game, earning himself the Hockey East tournament MVP award for the second straight year. A feet that had previously never been accomplished.

Hellebuyck improves his record at the TD Garden to 4-0 with three shutouts, 0.25 goals-against average, .993 save percentage, two Hockey East titles and two Hockey East MVP awards in four appearances. The Commerce, Mich. native becomes the first person to earn back-to-back shutouts in the semifinals and finals during the Hockey East tournament in it’s 30-year history.

“Connor’s stellar,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin. “There’s no question that you don’t win a championship without a good goalie. He’s provided us with great goaltending all year. Doug Carr has had an exceptional season also. It’s just that we’ve got Connor. We feel either one of them can give us a great start, and Connor’s been carrying the ball here lately.”

The River Hawks become the fifth Hockey East school to win back-to-back championships, the last came in 2010-2012 when Boston College won three straight. The Lowell Chiefs won back-to-back Division II National titles in 1981 and 1982.

UMass Lowell invites River Hawk fans to join the team at the Sage Bank Pavilion at the Tsongas Center at 11:30 a.m. eastern to take in the NCAA Selection Show. The show will be aired live on ESPNU and streamed live on The River Hawks receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, they just need to know where to go.

This post is cross-posted with VIEW FROM 123

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New Hampshire tops Providence in semifinals Sat, 22 Mar 2014 05:17:48 +0000

BOSTON – It has been seven years, but the New Hampshire Wildcats will make a return trip to the Hockey East finals on Saturday afternoon to battle the UMass Lowell River Hawks after defeating the Providence College Friars, 3-1, on Friday night.

Following a scoreless first period, the Wildcats were able to tally three goals in the second period, highlighted by a short-handed bid by Kevin Goumas. The senior forward added a second goal with less the one second remaining in the second, giving New Hampshire a three goal lead heading into the final period.

The Friars NCAA tournament hopes are nearly guaranteed, New Hampshire’s hopes lie solely in winning the Hockey East Championship. With this, the Wildcats seemed to have more of a fight in them as they showed up on Friday night and clearly the Friars did not.

UMass Lowell and New Hampshire will face each other for the third time this season and the first time ever in the title game. This season, UMass Lowell swept the Wildcats in two regular season games. The River Hawks are facing a team other than Boston University for the first time in their history, having lost to the Terriers in 1994 and 2009 and taking the title in 2013. New Hampshire looks for their third title in eight appearances, last title came in 2003.

The Wildcats will square off against the River Hawks in the Hockey East title game on Saturday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. and broadcasted live in New England on NESN, nationally on NBC Sports Network. Tune into the ESPN New Hampshire pre-game show with Justin Soderberg and Matt Perrault live from the Harp in Boston from 5:30-6:30 p.m. eastern on AM 900 and 1250 and the ESPN Radio app.

Justin Soderberg is a Northeast Hockey Reporter covering college hockey for Inside Hockey and View from 123. Soderberg additionally contributes to Boston Bruins coverage for Inside Hockey. Follow him on twitter: @JMSoderberg.

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Hellebuyck sets school record, UMass Lowell advances to finals Sat, 22 Mar 2014 03:29:58 +0000

BOSTON – The UMass Lowell River Hawks will look to defend their Hockey East Championship title on Saturday night after shutting out the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 4-0, in the semifinals at the TD Garden.

UMass Lowell continued a trend under Head Coach Norm Bazin of winning when scoring first and taking the lead into the second period. Christian Folin fired a slap shot which deflected of the Fighting Irish’s Kevin Lind and into the net at 10:13 of the first period and giving the lead to start the game.

The River Hawks entered Friday night with a 17-2-3 this season when scoring first and 16-0-3 when leading after the first period. In Bazin’s three seasons with the River Hawks, including Friday night, UMass Lowell is 54-7-2 when scoring first and 47-2-4 when leading after the first period.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up his fifth shutout of the season and 11th of his career. The River Hawks net-minder stopped all 35 shots fired at him by the Fighting Irish and improved his season record to 16-8-2 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Hellebuyck’s 11 career shutouts sets a new UMass Lowell River Hawks record, surpassing former River Hawk Carter Hutton.

The Winnipeg Jets’ prospect has a 3-0 record at the TD Garden his career with a 0.33 GAA and .991 save percentage. Hellebuyck has stopped 105-of-106 shots fired at him.

Derek Arnold, Evan Campbell and Zack Kamrass also tallied goals for the River Hawks.

UMass Lowell improved to 3-0-0 agains the Fighting Irish and allowed only a single goal against.

The River Hawks will face the New Hampshire Wildcats on Saturday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. eastern at the TD Garden in the Hockey East finals. UMass Lowell will look to win back-to-back championships for the first time in school history and the first time in Hockey East since Boston College won three-straight from 2010-12.

Tune in from 5:30-6:30 p.m. eastern on ESPN New Hampshire as Justin Soderberg will be co-hosting the River Hawk Pre-Game show from the Harp in Boston with Matt Perrault. Listen on 900 or 1250 AM, the ESPN Radio app or

This post is cross-posted with VIEW FROM 123

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River Hawks fight back to topple Catamounts Sat, 15 Mar 2014 04:05:42 +0000

LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell stage a third period comeback to topple the University of Vermont Catamounts in the first game of the Hockey East quarterfinals, 3-2, taking a one-game lead in the series (1-0).

The Catamounts and River Hawks traded goals in the first period from Brady Shaw and Scott Wilson respectively. Wilson’s first period goal was his first since January 18 against Boston University, having missed eight games in the process due to an undisclosed injury. The Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick would also add an assist later in the game.

UMass Lowell came out strong on Friday night, but fell into a lull in the second period. However, the River Hawks escaped the period surrendering only a single goal, Shaw’s second of the game, in what could’ve been a much worse 20 minutes.

“[We're] playing a good opponent who had a little bit more urgency in the second period,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin about the second period struggles.

UMass Lowell returned from the locker room in third period with a sense of urgency and a will to win. Evan Campbell evened the score for the River Hawks at 11:17 in the third period, giving UMass Lowell hope in a comeback win.

The River Hawks did just that.

UMass Lowell found themselves on a power-play following a interference penalty on Michael Paliotta with only 1:52 remaining in regulation. Adam Chapie would capitalize only 35 seconds into the man advantage, giving the River Hawks the 3-2 lead over Vermont.

“I tried to make a pass across ice to [Zack] Kamrass, but it hit a skate,” said Chapie on his game-winning goal. “Luckily it went right to [Scott] Wilson, I went to the net and Wilson gave me a great pass. I was just trying to hit the net, luckily it went in.”

Chapie tallied his fifth game-winning goal of the 2013-14 season and his seventh of his short Hockey East career. The River Hawks move to 13-2-3 on the season when Chapie scores a point.

“Usually you have to play three great periods in the playoffs to escape with a win,” said Bazin. “We feel thankful that we escaped with two points and now we got to certainly remedy some of the lulls and make sure we play three periods tomorrow.”

The River Hawks and Catamounts will square-off in the second game of this best of three quarterfinals series tomorrow, Saturday, March 15 at 7:15 p.m. eastern, once again at the Tsongas Center. Join fellow River Hawk fans at the DCU Fan Fest prior to the start of game-two at the Tsongas Center starting at 4:30 p.m. eastern!

A UMass Lowell win, on Saturday, advances the River Hawks to the Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. next weekend. A River Hawk loss forces a game-three on Sunday afternoon.


This post is cross-posted with VIEW FROM 123

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Northeastern Effort Wasted in Painful Beanpot Loss Mon, 17 Feb 2014 20:50:41 +0000

In the second period of Monday night’s Beanpot championship game, Northeastern was trailing Boston College, 1-0, when a rebound off Husky Mike Gunn’s shot from the left side of the net bounced across the crease to an open Mike Szmatula at the back door. With nothing but empty net in front of him, Szmatula attempted to bury the rebound only to hit post instead.

It was those types of unlucky bounces that made the heartbreaking difference for Northeastern, who watched BC score three times in the final 5:30 of the game to win the Beanpot championship, 4-1. The win marked a program-record fifth consecutive Beanpot championship for BC.

For Northeastern, who has not won a Beanpot championship in 26 years, the loss signaled the latest painful chapter in their beleaguered Beanpot history. For much of those 26 years, there was a joke that the Beanpot was the BU Invitational and the consolation game was the NU Invitational. From 1990 to 2008, Northeastern played in 15 of the 19 consolation games. But since 2009, Northeastern competed in four of six Beanpot championships only to fall short every time.

Monday night’s Beanpot championship was Northeastern’s cleanest game of those four opportunities. For the first time in 12 years, Northeastern did not take a single penalty in the game. Husky goaltender Clay Witt matched BC’s Thatcher Demko save-for-save through the first 54 minutes of play.

“Our guys really worked hard, battled hard,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “We come in here facing a team that’s No. 1 in the country and four-time defending Beanpot champions who are playing really well — they’re undefeated in 14, 15 games – and we gave everything we could.

“I’m happy with the way our guys competed and battled and prepared themselves for this game. That’s the part that stings the most. You walk out of here with a little bit of hurt because you didn’t get the job done.”

In the first period, Northeastern thought it potted the first goal of the game when Ryan Belonger flipped a rebound past Demko, but the net was knocked off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. Two minutes later, BC got on the board when senior Kevin Hayes beat Witt five-hole to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

With five minutes and change left in regulation and the game tied, 1-1, Northeastern thought it had BC right where it wanted the Eagles.

“We had a chance to win, and when you’re under five, six minutes left, those are the situations when, if we’re going to win as an underdog, that you want to be in, a tie game with only four or five minutes left in the game,” Madigan said.

But that was when the back-breaker came off what seemed like a lucky bounce for the Eagles. BC was cycling in the offensive zone, and senior Patrick Brown was camped out in the low slot when, while falling, he managed to deflect an Isaac MacLeod shot from the point past Witt to put the Eagles up, 2-1.

The Huskies visibly deflated after that goal. They started to force passes and plays in the neutral and offensive zones and seemed to turn the puck over seconds after getting their sticks on it. It was a stark difference from the composed Northeastern team of the previous 54 minutes.

And with Northeastern on its heels, the Eagles swooped in. The Huskies pulled Witt with 1:31 left in the game, and 15 seconds later, BC junior Johnny Gaudreau made it a 3-1 game with an empty-net goal off an NU defensive miscue.

Witt returned to his net, and BC added insult to injury when Brown put away a wrister top shelf 26 seconds after Gaudreau’s goal to give the Eagles the 4-1 win.

So for the 26th time, the Huskies return to Huntington Avenue empty-handed, and for the fourth time in six years, an effort that brought them tantalizingly close to that ever-elusive pot of beans just wasn’t enough.

As Red Sox fans often claimed between 1918 and 2004, there’s always next year. Northeastern will at least earn a rematch against the Eagles in the Beanpot when the Huskies take on BC in the first round next February. On this second Tuesday of February, however, Northeastern fans are likely hoping that at the very least, that game will not have nearly as painful of an ending as they experienced Monday night.

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Photo Gallery: Beanpot- NU and BC Tue, 11 Feb 2014 03:44:50 +0000

Boston College beat Northeastern University 4-1 during the championship game of the Beanpot Tournament Monday night in Boston. Tonight’s win marks the fifth consecutive Beanpot title for the eagles.

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Photo Gallery: Beanpot- Harvard and BU Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:43:04 +0000

The Harvard Crimson beat the Boston University Terriers 6-2 in the consolation game of the Beanpot Tournament Monday night in Boston.

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BC, Northeastern Shine in Beanpot Semifinals Tue, 04 Feb 2014 18:17:01 +0000

It’s the first Monday of February, and everyone in the Boston area knows what that means: It’s Beanpot time.

The semifinals of the 62nd Beanpot featured no surprise victors, as Northeastern and Boston College advanced to the championship game by 6-0 and 3-1 wins, respectively. This season will mark the third time in four years in which BC and Northeastern face off in the Beanpot championship.

The evening game was the better of Monday’s two matchups. It featured long-time rivals Boston University and BC, and while BU played with a depleted roster this season, the Terriers came out with plenty of fight against a more skilled BC squad.

“[The Eagles] have more talent right now,” said BU coach David Quinn. “They’re the measuring stick right now. They’re the premier program in college hockey and everyone’s trying to catch them.”

While the Eagles – ranked second in the nation — did not dominate play in the first period, they took advantage when it mattered most. The Terriers put the Eagles on the power play 3:51 into the first period, and the Eagles cashed in 13 seconds later when freshman forward Ryan Fitzgerald slipped BC’s first shot on net past BU goaltender Matt O’Connor.

The Terriers kept up with the Eagles throughout the period but struggled in the opening minutes of the second as a blown defensive play left BC senior forward Kevin Hayes wide open at the backdoor. He converted to put the Eagles up, 2-0, 1:20 into the frame.

The Eagles had a chance to extend their lead when BU defenseman Doyle Somerby checked Hayes face-first into the boards at 11:33 in the second period. Somerby earned a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his actions.

But what looked like five minutes of possible doom for BU morphed into opportunity. The trailing Terriers played some of their best hockey during the kill and even managed to garner some shorthanded scoring chances.

“BU took the momentum right away from us on that five-minute situation,” said BC coach Jerry York. “They had great chances, better than we did, so we kind of weathered the power play. Usually you think you have a power play and you want to do something, but we get out of that 0-0 and we were very fortunate in that regard.”

Still, BU’s best attempt on those opportunities ended in a botched 2-on-none in which neither sophomore Danny O’Regan nor Nick Roberto could manage a decent shot on net.

BU cut BC’s lead in half in the third period when freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon beat BC goaltender Thatcher Demko on a shot from the high slot. The Terriers continued to pressure BC throughout the period, but BU did not have the manpower or puck luck necessary to beat the Eagles. BC secured its win with a Johnny Gaudreau empty-net goal with 30.5 seconds remaining in the game.

“You need a little luck,” Quinn said. “You need great goaltending, you need to be thorough and you need a little bit of luck. I thought we had two of the three.”

The afternoon game was significantly less competitive than BU vs. BC, as Harvard flat-lined at the Garden against Northeastern. The Huskies dominated the Crimson from the drop of the puck on, scoring two goals per period to coast to a 6-0 win. Harvard has not made it to the championship game of the Beanpot since 2008.

“We didn’t play well in any facet of the game,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “I think that they outplayed us all over the ice and outcoached us for that matter. We didn’t do a good enough job getting to what we were trying to do and getting to our game plan, and quite frankly, we lost battles all over the ice.”

Part of the problem for Harvard on Monday afternoon was staying out of the penalty box. The Crimson took 16 penalties and handed Northeastern 10 power plays. The Huskies scored on three of those man-advantages.

Northeastern also saw its young players blossom on the big stage, as four of its six goals came from freshmen or sophomores. Freshman Mike Szmatula led the way for the Huskies with three points off a goal and two assists in the afternoon.

Northeastern will need Szmatula and the rest of its roster to continue to step up next week as it attempts to stop Boston College from winning a program-record fifth consecutive Beanpot. The Huskies, of course, have not won a Beanpot in 26 years, the longest current drought of any of the four schools.

Despite their 6-0 win on Monday night, the Huskies said there’s room for improvement this week before they attempt to end their Beanpot drought next Monday.

“You need goaltending, you need special teams and you need disciplined hockey, which I didn’t think we were very good at today,” said NU coach Jim Madigan. “So those three characteristics need to come together to win a Beanpot championship.”

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