A bundle of players from UMass Lowell and Notre Dame swarm the Fighting Irish net. (Matt Dwyer/Connector)
UMass Lowell looked to win its sixth game in a row to make it to the Frozen Four, but was thwarted in an overtime thriller by Notre Dame and their talented freshman Anders Bjork.
At 2:44 of the first overtime period, Notre Dame sophomore Andrew Oglevie scored the game-winning goal. Anders Bjork assisted the game winner to score his fifth point of the Northeast Regional, earning himself the MVP of the tournament.
Bjork had the game-tying as well as the game-winning goal against Minnesota in the Regional Semifinal. He added to those two goals with three assists in the Final, propelling Notre Dame past UMass Lowell.
UMass Lowell freshman goaltender Tyler Wall looked to follow up his Semifinal shutout against Cornell with another great performance and did not disappoint. Although allowing 3 goals, two of them were impossible to stop. His 25 saves kept UMass Lowell in the game.
“Hockey East has got a number of great goalies and it seems to be a number of great freshman goalies as well… both goalies played well tonight… I thought they were equal to the task,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin.
Wall’s season ended with 26 wins, a school record for a freshman goaltender during UMass Lowell’s Division I era.
Junior Cal Petersen of Notre Dame also played very well, stopping numerous quality chances from the River Hawks. He followed up his 31 save performance in the Regional Semifinal with a 27 save game in the Final.
UMass Lowell brought a strong power play into the tournament, but failed to convert during the Final. In the second period the River Hawks had three power play opportunities with 5 shots on the net but no goals.
“I thought they let the kids play today, they let the kids play… overall you get three power plays you have to convert on one and we didn’t convert,” said Bazin.
UMass Lowell freshman Ryan Lohin continued his strong play in the tournament, making an impact on the ice and contributing an assist to add to his two Semifinal goals. Lohin’s contributions during the tournament landed him on the All-Tournament Team.
Notre Dame struck first in the contest at 11:49 of the first period. Freshman Cam Morrison, who is only 18 years old, scored his tenth goal of the season with an assist going to junior Anders Bjork.
Continuing his hot tournament, Bjork tallied his third point of the Regional Tournament with the assist.
The River Hawks generated multiple chances in the first but were struggling to finish the job. Junior forward Ryan Collins answered Notre Dame’s goal with 1:02 left to play in the first period.
The junior’s first goal of the season could not have come at a better time for Lowell. The River Hawks are 10-5-1 this season when tied after the first period of play, but 1-2-0 when trailing after the first period.
The second period saw the River Hawks go on the power play three times. Although being third ranked nationally on the power play, UMass Lowell failed to capitalize against Notre Dame’s stout, twelfth-ranked penalty kill.
However, after recording only two shots in the first period, the River Hawks’ top line of junior C.J. Smith, senior Joe Gambardella, and junior John Edwardh mounted the pressure in the second. The first line accounted for 4 total shots in the period with help from the power play.
Chances were numerous in the second period for both teams, but both goalies continued their strong play. The second period went scoreless thanks to the efforts of Notre Dame’s junior goalie Cal Petersen, and UMass Lowell’s freshman Tyler Wall.
“I thought Wall played outstanding, and I certainly have my expectations for Cal. He’s the rock back there,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Jeff Jackson.
Wall faced 9 shots in the second, while Petersen faced 8. One of Wall’s saves was impressive, as it came during a Notre Dame 2-on-1. With UMass Lowell going winless (0-5-0) trailing after the second period, the save was crucial.
The tie that began with 1:02 left in the first period finally ended at 11:38 of the third period.
UMass Lowell junior John Edwardh scored a deflection off a shot from junior Tommy Panico with assists going to Panico and junior Tyler Mueller.
Notre Dame began to push hard to tie the game once again, eventually doing so with another goal from their freshman Cam Morrison. Morrison’s second score of the game restored the deadlock at 2-2 with 5:17 left to play in the third.
“If I had to change anything I felt we went into too much of a lull with seven minutes to go and starting playing defense hockey only. When we don’t attack we’re not as good,” said Bazin.
Momentum clearly shifted the way of Notre Dame after the game-tying goal, but both teams had quality chances in the third period. However, both goalies answered and the game went to overtime.
Anders Bjork found Andrew Oglevie in front of the net who shot past senior defenseman Dylan Zink, who no longer had his stick as well as Tyler Wall to seal the victory for Notre Dame.
UMass Lowell’s seasons ends as Notre Dame moves on to the Frozen Four.
“This one for us, stings. I felt that the group inside that locker room was good enough to be the best team at the end of the year… We find ourselves on the outside looking in,” said Bazin.