ORONO, Maine - Captain Tanner House (Cochrane, Alberta) scored the game-winning goal 5:10 into overtime as the University of Maine men's ice hockey team defeated UMass Lowell 3-2 in the third game of their Hockey East quarterfinal series. With the victory, Maine moves on to the face Boston University at the TD Garden on Friday, March 19 at 8 PM in the Hockey East semifinals. The Black Bears got a pair of goals from sophomore defenseman Will O'Neill (Salem, Mass.) in the victory.
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Although Maine outshot the River Hawks 16-5 in the first period, UMass Lowell would get on the scoreboard first when Colin Wright recorded his seventh goal of the season just under six minutes into the second period. The River Hawks would battle hard, refusing to let Maine clear the zone and peppering shots at Black Bear goaltender Dave Wilson (Caledon East, Ontario). After a Michael Budd shot was kicked wide by Wilson, Wright gathered the puck and flicked a back hand on net that snuck by Wilson, giving Lowell a 1-0 advantage. Ryan Blair also assisted on the goal for the River Hawks.
Maine would knot the score with 6:16 remaining in the second period when Will O'Neill (Salem, Mass.) scored his seventh goal with the Black Bears skating on the man advantage. Brian Flynn (Lynnfield, Mass.) controlled the puck on the blueline before sending a pass along the boards to Gustav Nyquist (Malmo, Sweden). Nyquist would stick handle and create some space before sending a pass to O'Neill on the blue line. O'Neill carried the puck to the slot before ripping a shot past Lowell goaltender Carter Hutton, tying the contest at 1-1. For Nyquist, it was his 40th assist of the season.
The River Hawks would regain a one goal lead with 12:18 to play in the third period when Scott Campbell notched his 16th goal of the game with Lowell skating on the power play. Riley Wetmore set up the play for the River Hawks as he sent a pass to David Vallorani. Vallorani then slid a pass to the center of the ice to Campbell who beat Wilson to give Lowell a 2-1 advantage.
Maine would tie the game with 4:48 to play in the third period when O'Neill picked up his second goal of the contest. Nyquist would stick handle the puck on the 4-on-4 before sending a pass to Matt Mangene (Manorville, N.Y.). Mangene controlled the puck before sending a pass back to the point to O'Neill who unleashed a shot into the back of the River Hawk net to tie the contest at 2-2.
Tanner House would then win it for the Black Bears 5:10 into overtime when he posted up right in front of the net and chopped a shot past Hutton's short side blocker. House received the puck from Flynn who notches his 25th assist of the season on House's game-winning 16th goal of the season. O'Neill also assisted on the goal to pick up his third point of the game.
The Black Bears controlled things in the shots category, outshooting the River Hawks by a 36-28 margin. Both teams went 1-5 on the power play.
Wilson picks up his second playoff victory as he made 26 saves in net for the Black Bears and will see his record improve to 2-4-0. Hutton was solid in net for the River Hawks, making 33 saves between the pipes for Lowell. He falls to 13-12-2 on the season.
The Black Bears will now travel to the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. where they will face the Boston University Terriers in the semifinals at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 19th. Fans may order tickets on Monday, March 15 starting at 8:30 am at the Maine ticket office. You can call the ticket office at 207-581-BEAR or 1-800-756-TEAM. Tickets will be available for pick up starting on Tuesday, March 16. Tickets not picked up by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 17 will be available at will call at the TD Garden.