March 14, 2015
LOWELL, Mass. – Mario Lucia had the game-winning goal and an assist during a courageous third period rally on Saturday night as the Notre Dame hockey team downed No. 14 UMass Lowell, 4-2, to force a decisive third game of their Hockey East quarterfinal series on Sunday at 4 p.m. EDT at the River Hawks’ Tsongas Center.
The Irish are 8-2 all-time in winner-takes-all Game 3 situations, including a 7-0 win this past Sunday against Massachusetts.
Notre Dame (18-18-5) is now 5-1 in elimination games during the Hockey East tournament and displayed fortitude recovering from last night’s 5-0 loss to UMass Lowell (19-11-6), a pair of deficits on Saturday night and a disallowed goal. The resilient Irish also improve to 12-9 under head coach Jeff Jackson the game following a shutout loss at 3-1 in 2014-15.
“If they can come back from a five-overtime game, they can certainly come back from a 5-0 loss,” Jackson said referencing the team’s loss to Massachusetts last Friday night in the longest game in college hockey history, won 4-3 by the Minutemen. “Five is the lucky number, I suppose We went through everything last weekend.
“This was the way we should have come out last night, with a little more fire in our eyes. I thought we played with more passion. We were better prepared to play against a team that does play with that fire in their eyes. We have to play with the same grit and passion tomorrow night. It’s going to be a tough gritty game. I don’t expect Lowell to be happy so I’m sure they’re going to come out with the same level of intensity they came out with last night.”
The game nearly remained scoreless through the opening stanza until UMass Lowell was awarded its third power play of the period with 1:04 left to play. Winning the opening faceoff and cycling it once, Adam Chapie slid a pass across the crease to an open Mike Gambardella who had an easy tap-in from the far post with 48.7 seconds to play, putting the River Hawks up 1-0.
Nearly six minutes into the second period, Steven Fogarty made a nice fore-checking play to shake a puck loose in the corner, squirting to Sam Herr all alone in the slot who beat UMass Lowell netminder Kevin Boyle through the five-hole at 5:55. The goal would be disallowed by video review for an earlier offsides infraction. Six minutes later at 9:55, Herr beat Boyle a second time to tie the game at 1-1. Connor Hurley won a neutral zone face off and fed Herr who crossed the blue line after the puck and fired a snap shot past Boyle’s glove from the top of the circles for his 12th goal of the year.
UMass Lowell retook the lead, 2-1, on its second power play strike of the night. Good passing work allowed Evan Campbell to get free 20-feet from the net for a one-timer goal off of a feed from Dylan Zink.
Notre Dame equalized 4:43 into the third period. Lucia intercepted a pass between the two River Hawk defensemen and raced down the right wing with the puck. Lucia’s shot was saved by Boyle but Anders Bjork trailed the play and scored on the rebound to tie the game at 2-2.
Lucia put the Irish ahead for good on the power play at 10:30 of the third period. Vince Hinostroza and Jordan Gross worked the puck around the offensive zone, finding Lucia for a 30-foot blast past Boyle. The Irish ensured their first victory over UMass Lowell when Fogarty stole a puck in the neutral zone and sent it to Peter Schneider for an empty net goal with 7.6 seconds showing on the clock.
Notre Dame netminder Cal Petersen made 25 saves on the night, including several spectacular ones in a nine-save third period as the Irish fended off UMass Lowell’s late-game charge to preserve the series-knotting victory.