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 ESPNNH.com 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.