Hellebuyck sets school record, UMass Lowell advances to finals

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 ESPNNH.com.

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