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River Hawks defeat Vermont, advance to Hockey East Championship Game

The River Hawks celebrate after Terrence Wallin's goal in the third period gives the team a 3-1 lead.

The River Hawks celebrate after Terrence Wallin’s goal in the third period gives the team a 3-1 lead. (Christopher Tran/Connector)

Marlon Pitter

Connector Editor

The River Hawks got the puck on net more after the first intermission and never looked back.

UMass Lowell outshot Vermont 29-20 after the start of the second period, scoring three goals in the latter 40 minutes of a 4-1 victory in the Hockey East Tournament semifinal round at the TD Garden Friday night.

Freshman forward Michael Louria scored the game-winning goal on a wrist shot that bounced off Vermont goaltender Brody Hoffman’s left pad, which gave the River Hawks a 2-1 lead with 3:50 left in the second period.

Junior goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped 30 of 31 shots, including all three shots faced on the team’s three penalty kill opportunities.

“[Boyle]’s been getting better as the season goes along, and I think the playoffs—he brought it to another level,” Head Coach Norm Bazin said.

Senior forward Terrence Wallin scored his fourth goal of the season to put the River Hawks up 3-1 at with 7:42 left in the third period on an assist from Michael Colantone.

UMass Lowell defenseman Dylan Zink scored first for the team with a power play goal with 7:42 left in the first period on a two-man advantage to tie the game at 1-1. Bazin said he was impressed with the team’s quick response to Vermont’s goal on a 2-on-2 rush with 8:18 left in the first period.

“Thankfully for us, I thought the response was fairly quick, and we were able to get the next one,” Bazin said.

Sophomore Joe Gambardella added an empty net goal at with 1:24 left in the third period to give the team a 4-1 lead.

The River Hawks nearly went into the first intermission with a lead on a point-blank John Edwardh shot with five seconds left, but Vermont goaltender Brody Hoffman made the save, cutting off the left post angle.

UMass Lowell outshot Vermont 12-8 in the second period, but they did not find the net until Louria’s goal. Forward C.J. Smith’s breakaway chance at 13:45 in the second period was stopped by Hoffman, while A.J. White’s pass to Michael Fallon just outside the Vermont crease at 8:50 in the second period was disconnected by a sprawling Catamount defender.

Scoring chances surmounted for the River Hawks with multiple scoring opportunities in single possession late in the second period before a goaltender interference penalty by Michael Louria with 1:28 left.

The River Hawks successfully killed off a Tyler Mueller roughing minor at 7:37 in the first period to keep the game scoreless early on. Vermont outshot the River Hawks 11-7 in the first period.

UMass Lowell advances to its fifth overall and third straight Hockey East Championship Game with tonight’s 4-1 victory. The River Hawks are 5-0 and have outscored their opponents 15-2 in their last five Hockey East Tournament games at the TD Garden.

Wallin said advancing to the final round of the Hockey East Tournament for the third year in a row is special to him and he hopes to earn another victory tomorrow night. The River Hawks will face either Boston University or the University of New Hampshire for the Hockey East Tournament title and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth.

“Obviously, not a lot people get the chance to do it once, and I’ve had the opportunity to do it three times, so it’s pretty special,” said Wallin. “Hopefully we can finish the job tomorrow.”

Marlon Pitter is a former editor-in-chief of the UMass Lowell Connector. Hailing from Hartford, Conn., he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in journalism and professional writing and a digital media minor in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @marlonpresents.

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