BOSTON, Mass. – The 18th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team fell to the seventh-ranked UMass Lowell River Hawks, 4-0, in the Hockey East Championship Saturday night at the TD Garden. Senior forward Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) was named an All-Tournament selection.
A.J. White broke the 0-0 stalemate at the 12:12 mark of the first period to give the River Hawks a 1-0 lead. The play started with Joseph Pendenza on the redline flinging a puck on net. UNH netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made the initial save but White jammed the puck under the pads of DeSmith before he could cover the rebound.
Just seconds later, the netminder made a big left pad save on a shot by Ryan McGrath. McGrath skated into the Wildcat zone and fired a wrist shot through traffic from the slot. DeSmith extended his left leg to deny the shot.
With 4:32 left in the period, Josh Holstrom increased the Lowell lead to 2-0. Pendenza came down the slot and put a shot on net that DeSmith made a sprawling save on, however Holstrom lifted the rebound shot over the body of DeSmith and into the net.
At the end of the first period, UML held a 2-0 lead.
At the 3:13 mark of the second period, UML extended its lead to 3-0 when Joe Gambardella netted a one-time shot to the top of the net. Terrence Wallin skated in with the puck down the right side of the ice and played a pass to Gambardella on the left side as he then found the back of the net.
The Wildcats remained resilient by generating offensive threats, including consecutive opportunities by Matias Cleland (Longmont, Colo), Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.), Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) and Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.). A combination of blocks by the UML defense and saves kept the 'Cats off the board.
With 1:17 remaining in the second period, Jake Suter netted the fourth goal of the game for the River Hawks on a power play. Pendenza sent the puck down the ice to White. White then connected with Suter who completed the play by finding the back of the net. With two periods in the books, the River Hawks held a 4-0 lead.
At the 3:36 mark of the third period, DeSmith held the Lowell's Pendenza without a goal as the River Hawk attempted a penalty shot. Pendenza took the puck out wide to his right and looped back in. He tried to beat DeSmith on the glove side, however the netminder denied the shot.
Harry Quast (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) nearly got UNH on the board midway through the period with a rocket on net. The shot beat UML goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, but rung the crossbar and bounced away. Jay Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) too was denied as his Hellebuyck was faked to his left. Camper took a shot to the right, but the stick of a defenseman blocked the shot.
After three periods of play, the Wildcats fell by a score of 4-0.
DeSmith received the loss in net for the Wildcats as he made 26 saves on 30 shots faced. His record fell to 20-16-0. Senior Jeff Wyer (Reading, Mass.) played 5:09 of relief in the third period and did not allow a goal on five shots faced. Hellebuyck made saves on all 30 shots faced from UNH. His record improved to 17-8-2.
For more information on the UNH hockey program, be sure to visit www.UNHWildcats.com.