ORONO — Tanner House scored the game-winning goal 5:10 into overtime as the University of Maine defeated UMass Lowell 3-2 in the third game of their Hockey East quarterfinal series Sunday night. With the victory, Maine moves on to the face Boston University at the TD Garden on Friday, March 19 at 8 p.m. in the Hockey East semifinals.
The Black Bears got a pair of goals from sophomore defenseman Will O’Neill (Salem, Mass.) in the victory.
Although Maine outshot the River Hawks 16-5 in the first period, UMass Lowell got on the scoreboard first when Colin Wright netted his seventh less than six minutes into the second period. The River Hawks peppered Black Bear goaltender Dave Wilson. After a Wilson kicked a Michael Budd shot wide, Wright gathered the puck and flicked a backhand on net that snuck by. Ryan Blair also assisted on the goal for the River Hawks.
Maine knotted the score with 6:16 remaining in the second period when O’Neill scored his seventh goal with the Black Bears skating on the man advantage. Brian Flynn controlled the puck on the blueline before sending a pass along the boards to Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist stickhandled and create some space before sending a pass to O’Neill on the blue line. O’Neill carried the puck to the slot and ripped a shot past Lowell goaltender Carter Hutton, tying the contest at one. For Nyquist, it was his 40th assist of the season.
The River Hawks reestablished a one goal lead with 12:18 to play in the third period when Scott Campbell tallied a power play goal. 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.
Maine evened the game with 4:48 to play in regulation on O’Neill’s second. Nyquist stickhandled the puck on the 4-on-4 before sending a pass to Matt Mangene. 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.
House’s winner came as he posted up in front of the net and chopped a shot past Hutton’s short side blocker.
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.
Hockey fans can order tickets on Monday, March 15 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Maine ticket office (207-581-BEAR or 1-800-756-TEAM).
Tickets will be available for pick-up beginning 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.