CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Sophomore Matt Brown (Wood Ridge, N.J.) scored his sixth goal in six games in double overtime to lift the No. 7 UMass Lowell hockey team (10-8-1) to a 6-5, comeback victory against No. 1 Boston College (17-4-1) in the 2021 Hockey East Semifinals on Wednesday.
“We’re obviously very pleased to be moving on,” said Head Coach Norm Bazin. “This is game three of the playoffs for us. It’s exciting to be able to play for a championship this year. These guys are resilient, and it wasn’t a perfect game for us, but we got through it.”
The River Hawks trailed, 4-1, heading into the third period in what would become the second-longest game in program history. UMass Lowell would score three goals in a span of just six minutes, knotting the game for the first time all night on a stick-side wrister from junior Lucas Condotta (Georgetown, Ontario). With just over two minutes left in regulation, the Eagles netted the go-ahead score on a power play, but the River Hawks answered back yet again, as senior Anthony Baxter (Oakville, Ontario) fired home a laser from the point at 18:34 to force overtime.
It would take a total of 92 minutes to decide a winner, as Brown was able to bat the puck out of the air and by BC’s Spencer Knight to earn the double-overtime win.
“Our team did a great job working the puck around the zone,” Brown explained about the game-winning play. Seth Barton put it out in front, Spencer tipped it up and I was able to bat it in.”
With the win, the River Hawks advance to their eighth Hockey East Championship game. They become just the second seventh-seed to earn a berth into the title game. The team is now 3-0 all-time in semifinal overtime games.
Baxter led UMass Lowell with two goals in the outing, while Brown and sophomore Andre Lee (Karlstad, Sweden) registered one goal and one assist each. Junior Chase Blackmun (Hudson, Wis.) totaled a pair of assists, as well. Freshman Henry Welsch (Lakeville, Minn.) earned his second straight post-season decision in net with a season-high 34 saves, while Knight logged 43 stops for the Eagles in the loss.
BC jumped in front, 1-0, at 7:34 of the first when Matt Boldy deked the River Hawk defense and dished a backhand pass over to Marshall Warren, who was crashing the stick-side post for the finish. The River Hawks then went on the power play in the opening minutes of the second and rattled off five shots, but the home team took advantage of a three-man breakaway to net its first of three goals in the period.
Baxter made it a 4-1 heading into the third before junior Reid Stefanson (Winnipeg, Manitoba) began the River Hawk rally.
With six minutes left in the first overtime, Boston College had a goal waved off for being offsides, allowing the River Hawks the chance to complete the comeback.
UMass Lowell will now square off against No. 3 Massachusetts on Saturday for the title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
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