Fast-starting Terriers End River Hawks’ Season
LOWELL -- The hardy River Hawks’ survival instincts, so sharp Saturday night when they scratched more life from their endangered hockey season, slumbered Sunday afternoon.
Game 3: BU 4, UML 1
No. 5 seed Boston University on Sunday pounced on No. 4 UMass Lowell in the first period, outshooting the River Hawks 13-3 and building a 3-0 lead. From there the Terriers skated to a 4-1 victory at the Tsongas Center in a surprisingly undramatic decisive Game 3 of this Hockey East quarterfinal series before 2,205 fans.
“I thought it was going to be a better game for everybody involved,” said UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “I didn’t like our first period. I didn’t like our start. It’s an awfully big hole to come back from three goals.”
The loss ends UMass Lowell’s season at 19-13-5 -- the River Hawks’ second straight season to end in the Hockey East quarterfinals at home following a streak of five consecutive appearances in the league title game (three titles).
Boston University (16-17-4) moves on to face No. 3 Northeastern in the 4 p.m. semifinal on Friday at the TD Garden. No. 1 UMass will face No. 7 BC in the 7:30 semi.
A Tsongas Center Slumber Party briefly livened when UML junior Kenny Hausinger scored his 13th goal of the season at 8:02 of the third period, assisted by senior captain Connor Wilson.
That cut BU’s lead to 3-1.
“We could have made it interesting if we got the next one,” said Bazin. “But it didn’t happen. And we’re sitting here talking about a 4-1 loss instead of making it a hockey game.”
BU’s Patrick Harper made it 4-1 with an empty-net goal off a generous feed from Logan Cockerill during a two-on-none break at 19:08. Harper, a junior from New Canaan, Conn, scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season, and added one assist. Cockerill, a sophomore from Brighton, Mich., had two assists.
BU won the series opener, 3-0, on Friday night. UMass Lowell rebounded for a 6-4 victory on Saturday.
The River Hawks on Sunday were without freshman forward Lucas Condotta, whose hit on BU senior Bobo Carpenter in the dying seconds of Game 2 on Saturday night drew a one-game suspension from Hockey East.
Carpenter suited up for the Terriers on Sunday and finished plus-two. After all the late-game hate on Saturday, only three minor penalties were whistled on Sunday.
“I thought the refs were terrific,” said BU coach Albie O’Connell. “They probably could have made a couple more calls each way. But they let the players decide it on the ice. It was unlike (Saturday night) when the refs got involved.”
Sticking to his goalie rotation, Bazin started senior Christoffer Hernberg, who had been in net during Friday night’s 3-0 loss. But after BU’s Harper made it 3-0 at 18:34 of the first period, Bazin lifted Hernberg (13 shots/10 saves) and turned to junior Tyler Wall (15 shots/15 saves).
″(Hernberg) is an excellent goalie. I’ll miss him because his mental makeup is extraordinary. However he wasn’t himself,” said Bazin.
Moments before he was pulled, Hernberg made two beautiful saves while holding off a dizzying BU power play. The penalty expired. BU retained possession of the puck. Tired River Hawks watched Harper wheel across the slot and score.
Bazin said pulling Hernberg “was also to shake up the team.”
“It was somewhat of a mercy pull at the time because I just wanted to shake things up before it got any worse in the first period,” said Bazin.
BU took control 3:28 into the game when junior defenseman Chad Krys (goal, assist) jumped into the rush and rifled a crossing pass from Harper into the open right side of the net.
A BU goal that would have made it 2-0 at 9:33 of the first period was waved off. Video review upheld the on-ice ruling of a high-stick deflection by Cockerill. The reprieve for the River Hawks was brief. BU made it 2-0 for real just two minutes, 32 seconds later when Krys’ long pass caught UMass Lowell up ice. Krys connected with freshman Joel Farabee, who buried his 17th goal of the season.
“We thought we had a good system, a good game last night, and we wanted to implement that (plan) tonight. And part of that was the start,” said UML senior captain Connor Wilson. “But we just dug ourselves a hole that is very tough to get out of in the playoffs.”
When asked if the contentious way Saturday night’s game ended had fueled BU’s spirited start on Sunday, O’Connell smiled and said, “I think you answered your own question.”
The River Hawks played BU evenly over the final two periods (16 shots apiece). But down 3-0, UMass Lowell needed more than that. BU junior goalie Jake Oettinger (19 shots/18 saves) made the saves to keep the Tsongas in a slumber, especially early in the second period.
TERRIERS 4, RIVER HAWKS 1
(BU wins best-of-3 series 2-1)
BU (16-17-4) 3 0 1 -- 4
UML (19-13-5) 0 0 1 -- 1
First period -- 1. BU, Chad Krys, 8 (Patrick Harper, Logan Cockerill), 3:28. 2. Joel Farabee, 17, (Krys, Cam Crotty), 12:05. 3. BU, Harper, 5, (Patrick Curry), 18:34. Penalties -- O’Rourke, UML, elbow, 16:21.
Second period -- No scoring. Penalties -- None.
Third period -- 4. UML, Kenny Hausinger, 13, (Connor Wilson), 8:02. 5. BU, Harper (Cockerill, Dante Fabbro), 19:08 (en). Penalties -- Cockerill, BU, holding, 2:49; O’Neill, UML, cross-checking, 2:49.
Shots on goal -- BU 13 8 8 -- 29; UML 3 8 8 -- 19. Goaltenders -- BU, Jake Oettinger (19 shots, 18 saves); UML, Christoffer Hernberg (13 shots, 10 saves), Tyler Wall (15 shots, 15 saves). Power plays -- BU 0 for 1; UML 0 for 0. Referees -- Terrence Murphy, Peter Schlittenhardt. Linesemen -- Nicholas Briganti, Tommy George. Attn. -- 2,205.