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 NCAA.com. The River Hawks receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, they just need to know where to go.
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