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.