Robbie Russo celebrating one of his 15 goals this year, the most nationally by a defenseman.

Notre Dame Hockey Falls at No. 14 UMass Lowell, 6-4

March 15, 2015


LOWELL, Mass. – In the final game of while will likely be an award-filled senior year for Robbie Russo, the Notre Dame defenseman scored twice and added a pair of goals but the Irish hockey team were unable to overcome an early deficit and fell by a 6-4 score to No. 14 UMass Lowell on Sundayin the third and decisive game of a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series at the Tsongas Center.

Losing for just the second time in seven elimination games as Hockey east members, the Irish wrap up their 2014-15 campaign at 18-19-5 while UMass Lowell (20-11-6) advances to the league semifinals on Friday night at TD Garden in Boston.

Notre Dame skated hard in the opening period but UMass Lowell would tally on three of its first four shots to usurp the momentum. The River Hawks opened the scoring just 2:22 into the game when C.J. Smith used an Irish defenseman as a screen and snuck one through both him and goaltender Cal Petersen. UMass Lowell doubled its lead less than two minutes later when Adam Chapie stole the puck from Notre Dame’s point manon a power play and sped in on a clean breakaway, scoring a short handed goal at 4:17 to make it 2-0 for UMass Lowell.

The Irish got on the board at 8:54 of the first period with Notre Dame skating six-on-five during a delayed penalty call. Russo delivered a cannon of a shot from the point, beating Kevin Boyle in the River Hawk net for his 14th goal of the year. That sum leads all defensemen nationally. Jordan Gross and Anders Bjork assisted on the goal. For Gross, it was his 21st helper on the year and 27th point, both of which lead all freshmen blueliners nationally.

UMass Lowell would expand its lead to 4-1 by the end of a first period in which the Irish outshot the River Hawks, 11-8. The third goal came when Michael Louria sent a centering pass from behind the net to Michael Fallon at 12:11. The final UMass Lowell goal of the first period came on the power play at 17:53 as defenseman Zack Kamrass’ slapper beat Petersen to the far post. It marked the most goals the Irish had yielded in a period since Ohio State tallied five times in the second period of 6-3 Buckeyes win over Notre Dame on Feb. 1, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.

UMass Lowell extended its lead to 5-1 on a power play 5:02 into the second period on a fortunate bounce after Tyler Mueller’s shot from the point deflected in off of a sliding Irish defenseman trying to block the shot but only getting a piece. Notre Dame kept on skating though and Russo would score his second goal of the night and 15thof the year at when his wrist shot from the point on a power play found its way into the River Hawk goal. Austin Wuthrich and Bjork assisted on Russo’s second goal. Shortly before the period ended, UMass Lowell made it a 6-2 game when Kamrass got his second of the game.

Senior alternate captain Peter Schneider made it a 6-3 game midway through the final period. Ben Ostlie rushed the puck through the neutral zone and got a good shot off on Boyle. The River Hawk netminder made the save but Schneider popped in the rebound with 9:48 to play. The Irish continued to show plenty of their patented fight and closed the deficit further, making it a 6-4 game with 5:01 left in the game when Gross snapped a shot into the top corner of the UMass Lowell net. Schneider helped set up that goal for his second point of the period, along with Russo.

Backup goaltender Chad Katunar made some big saves during the third period to keep the Irish hopes alive but Notre Dame would draw no closer than 6-4 over the game’s final minutes.

Notre Dame (18-19-5) 1 1 2 – 6
UMass Lowell (20-11-6) 4 2 0 – 4

1st Period:
UML: C.J. Smith 15 (Michael Kapla, John Edwardh),; UML: Adam Chapie (unassisted) SHG, 4:17; ND: Robbie Russo 14 (Jordan Gross, Anders Bjork), 8:54; UML: Michael Fallon 7 (Michael Louria, A.J. White), 12:11; UML: Zack Kamrass 7 (Joe Gambardella, Edwardh), PPG, 17:53
2nd Period:UML: Tyler Mueller 3 (Edwardh, Chapie), PPG, 5:02; ND: Russo 15 (Austin Wuthrich, Bjork), PPG,16:39; UML: Kamrass 8 (Louria, White), 18:35.
3rd Period:ND: Peter Schneider 7 (Ben Ostlie, Russo), 10:12; ND: Gross 7 (Schneider, Russo), 14:59.
Penalties:ND: 6 for 20 minutes. UML: 9 for 18 minutes.
Shots On Goal:ND: 36 (11-10-15). UML: 17 (8-5-4)
Goaltender Saves:ND: Cal Petersen (40:00) 7 (4-3-0), Chad Katunar (17:39) 4 (0-0-4). UML: Kevin Boyle (60:00) 32 (10-9-13).
Power Plays:ND: 1 for 8. UML: 2 for 4.