DURHAM, N.H. Jeff Boulanger scored two goals, including the game-winner with 11:35 remaining, giving the Umass-Lowell a 2-1 Hockey East quarterfinal victory over the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team at the Whittemore Center on Saturday.
Jim St. John finished with 30 saves, making eight in the final period to clinch the series for UMass-Lowell.
On the game-winner, Boulanger curled around the Wildcat net and took the shot from just inside the faceoff circle. The puck appeared to deflect off Ty Conklin’s (Anchorage, Alaska) glove and into the net. Steve Slonina was credited with an assist.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie it with 8:33 to go when Jerramie Domish was whistled for cross-checking. However, the Wildcats were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
The teams skated to a 1-1 tie in the first on goals by Matt Swain (Oakville, Ontario) and Boulanger.
With the win, the River Hawks (19-15-3) take the three-game series after trailing 1-0 and gain a spot in the Hockey East semifinal for the first time since 1998. For the Wildcats (21-12-6), the loss knocks them out of the Hockey East playoffs after a quarterfinal for the first time since ’98 when they were swept by Maine. UNH awaits Selection Sunday on March 18 with an outside chance at an NCAA at-large bid.
UNH won game one 4-2 on Thursday before dropping game two 2-1 on Friday.
In the first, the Wildcats got on the board first with a goal by Swain. Nathan Martz (Chilliwack, B.C.) fed Swain from the corner to the slot where the senior forward one-timed the puck past St. John for a 1-0 lead at 15:55. However, it took just a matter of seconds for the River Hawks to tie the game back up, as Jeff Boulanger scored 22 seconds later on an assist from Nick Carson at 16:17.