BOSTON, Mass. – For the first time in history, the UMass Lowell River Hawks win the Hockey East Championship. Saturday night, Derek Arnold tallied a wrap-around goal on Sean Maguire, giving the River Hawks a 1-0 win over Boston University. The Terriers’ loss marks Jack Parker’s final game as head coach at Boston University. UMass Lowell will advance to the NCAA National Tournament.
Much like Friday night’s semifinal game between UMass Lowell and Providence College, Saturday night’s game was a duel of freshman goaltenders.
Boston University started freshman goaltender, Maguire. The Powell River, BC native was riding a five-game win streak heading into the Hockey East Championship game. Over those five games, he posted a 1.60 goals against average and a .950 save percentage with two shutouts. Of course had no choice in starting the freshman net-minder with Matt O’Connor out due to injury and their third string goalie, Anthony Moccia hasn’t played all season. However, he would’ve been the choice, if there was an option. Although Maguire ended up with the loss, the goaltender played well enough to win. He surrendered only a single goal on 29 shots from UMass Lowell.
Norm Bazin decided to switch from Doug Carr to Hellebuyck around Valentines Day this season. Since coming into the game as a starter, he has gone 12-1-0 with three shutouts and posting a 1.31 GAA and a .952 save percentage. Saturday night, the goaltender stopped all 36 shots the Terriers fired at him and earning only the fourth shutout in Hockey East Finals history. The last time there was a shutout in finals was back in 2009, Boston University beat UMass Lowell, 1-0. During the tournament, Hellebuyck posted a 4-0 record with a 0.99 GAA and a .966 save percentage, including Saturday night’s shutout. Hellebuyck capped off one of the best Hockey East seasons, if not the best, for UMass Lowell goaltender in history.
Hellebuyck was selected to the All-Tournament Team, as well as awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Additionally, Chad Ruhwedel, Matt Grzelcyk, Scott Wilson, Danny O’Regan and Evan Rodrigues were all named to this year’s team.
In front of a crowd of 13,738, Coach Jack Parker of Boston University coached his final game, after 40-years of coaching. His players would’ve like to extend his career with a win, but were unable to top UMass Lowell.
UMass Lowell will be heading to Manchester, N.H. next weekend for the first round regional game of the NCAA Tournament. Sunday night, the River Hawks will find out who they will battle against to fight their way to the Frozen Four and a National Title.
Justin Soderberg is a Hockey East writer for InsideHockey.com. Follow him on Twitter, ‘Like’ him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. In addition, Justin covers the UMass-Lowell River Hawks at viewfrom123.com.