LOWELL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell River Hawks beat the University of Maine, 2-1, and advance to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time, since 2009. It took an extra period, but in the end the River Hawks tally a overtime goal and the quarterfinal series, 2-0.
Maine senior captain, Joey Diamond had a difficult time keeping himself out of the penalty box this season and it didn’t change on Friday night. Diamond was whistled for a five-minute major penalty after charging, UMass Lowell goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck at 8:59 in the first period. With the man-advantage, the home team was unable to net a goal.
The Black Bears tallied the game’s first goal for the second night in a row. Devin Shore scored, what would be Maine’s final goal of the season, at 7:51 in the second period. With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, Diamond saw his last action in a Maine uniform. The senior forward was whistled for a five-minute major and a game disqualification after kicking Joe Houk.
Diamond accumulated 52 penalty minutes over Maine’s last four games. His DQ from Friday night’s game, was just par for the course during his career in Hockey East.
UMass Lowell started the third period with 3:04 remaining on Diamond’s major penalty. The River Hawks once again were unable to get anything started on the power play and wasted another man-advantage chance. However, 56 seconds after Maine’s penalty expired, UMass Lowell got on the board. Michael Fallon stuffed a rebound off a Scott Wilson wrap around shot. With 16 minutes remaining in regulation, the Black Bears and River Hawks were even, 1-1.
After the third period expired, with neither team scoring a goal, they were headed to overtime. Derek Arnold would become the hero of the game, netting the game-winning-goal only 1:50 into the overtime period. After Martin Ouellette made the initial save, he was pulled out of the crease and taken out by Mark Nemec, opening up the goal for Arnold. The goal went immediately under review and after roughly seven-minutes in front of the replay, it was signal as a goal and the crowd of 5,399 went crazy.
Maine was able to kill off 16 minutes of penalties and didn’t allow a single power play goal. The Black Bears penalty killing was outstanding and Ouellette stood on his head.
The UMass Lowell victory sends them to the TD Garden in Boston, Mass., next weekend. The Rive Hawks beat Northeastern University and advanced to the finals in 2009, only to fall to Boston University in the Championship.
The River Hawks will have to wait until after the weekend to find out who they will face and at what time on Friday night. Maine travels back to Orono and will have to wait until next season, for another chance to play at the Garden. Additionally, Tim Whitehead’s job may be in jeopardy, only time will tell if he on the bench in 2013-14.
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.