EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 21, 2014

UMass Lowell looks to repeat at Hockey East tourney

Hot goalie leads No.7 ranked River Hawks against Irish


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — The UMass Lowell River Hawks head to the TD Garden looking to defend their 2013 Hockey East Tournament crown today when they take on Notre Dame at 5 p.m. in the Hockey East semifinals.

While Lowell mustered just three goals combined in last year’s semifinals and final, then-freshman goalie Connor Hellebuyck, of Commerce, Mich., stopped 70-of-71 shots in those two games en route to earning Tournament MVP honors.

Senior forward Derek Arnold of Foxboro had the lone goal in last year’s championship game, a 1-0 win over Boston University in Jack Parker’s final game behind the BU bench.

Notre Dame enters its first-ever Hockey East semifinals with an 8-1-1 record over their last ten games, including three wins at Conte Forum over Boston College.

Senior forward T.J. Tynan has six assists through four playoff games this season to lead the Irish, while senior forward Bryan Rust has contributed four goals and an assist for five points in the postseason.

ND won last year’s CCHA Tournament, and they are looking to become the first team in college hockey history to win back-to-back titles in different conferences.

SCOUTING THE HAWKS

UMass Lowell (23-10-4, 11-6-3 HEA) comes into Hockey East Championship weekend ranked No. 7 in both national polls and the Pairwise Rankings.

The River Hawks own a 8-3-2 record in their last 13 games. Senior forward Joseph Pendenza, of Wilmington, is the team’s leading scorer with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 37 games.

Senior Doug Carr, of Hanover, and sophomore Hellebuyck have split time in the River Hawks net this season, starting in 12 and 25 games, respectively.

Hellebuyck leads the team with 15 wins, but Carr owns a 75 percent winning percentage.

Carr has only one loss in his last 10 starts for the River Hawks.

Hellebuyck leads the nation in GAA (1.87) and save percentage (.938). Hellebuyck has started 13 of the last 15 games for the River Hawks.

SCOUTING THE FIGHTING IRISH

No. 8 seed Notre Dame (23-13-2, 9-9-2 HEA) comes into Hockey East Championship weekend having won eight of its last 10 games (8-1-1 record).

The Fighting Irish defeated No. 1 seed Boston College last weekend in the Hockey East quarterfinals with scores of 7-2, 2-4 and 4-2.

Senior forward T.J. Tynan leads Notre Dame with 37 points (8g, 29a) in 39 games, which is tied for 10th among Hockey East skaters.

His 29 assists are tied for fifth best in the league.

Senior Steven Summerhays has started 35 of 38 games for the Fighting Irish this season.

He has amassed a 21-12-2 record with a 1.95 GAA and a .928 save percentage.

His GAA is second in the conference and his save percentage in fourth among Hockey East netminders.

RIVER HAWKS TOUGH IN HOCKEY EAST TOURNEY

The River Hawks own a 33-42-3 all-time record in the Hockey East tournament a 26-26-2 in the Hockey East quarterfinal round and a 4-11 record in the semifinal round.

UMass Lowell won all four games in the tournament in March of 2013 en route to its first Hockey East tournament title in school history.

It marked the third straight season the River Hawks have hosted the quarterfinals, after a nine-year hosting drought in Lowell.

Head Coach Norm Bazin owns a 7-3 all-time record in the Hockey East tournament.

UMass Lowell owns a 8-7 all-time record in the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the field.

RIVER HAWK BOAST20-WIN SEASONS

The River Hawks registered their third consecutive 20-win season for the first time in their Division I history on February 14 vs. UMass.

It marked the 16th 20-win season in program history and the 11th at the Division 1 level.

DID YOU KNOW?

Chris Maniccia leads the league in faceoff percentage at 61.9 percent.

Twelve different River Hawks have scored at least 10 points this season.

Jake’s Suter’s plus-17 plus/minus rating ranks tied for 10th among league skaters.

Senior forward Joseph Pendenza went 49 of 71 (69 percent) from the faceoff circle in the quarterfinal series against Vermont.

Providence, UNH in other semifinal

The teams, Providence College and the University of New Hampshire, split in their two meetings with the Friars holding 5-2-1 advantage over UNH the last two seasons, including taking two-of-three in a quarterfinal series last March at Schneider Arena.

Sophomore forward Nick Saracino has had the most success of any Friar against UNH, with seven goals and five assists for 12 points in six career matchups.

UNH is making its first trip to TD Garden since 2011, when they lost in the semifinals to Merrimack, by a score of 4-1. In last weekend’s Game 3 win over Northeastern, UNH senior forward Kevin Goumas posted the second hat trick of his career.

Both games are on NESN, with the UMass Lowell-Notre Dame game beginning at 5 p.m. and Providence-UNH at 8 p.m.