EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 31, 2013

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UMass-Lowell to face Yale in national semifinals


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots and UMass-Lowell advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time with a 2-0 victory over New Hampshire in the NCAA Northeast Regional final last night.

Scott Wilson scored with 30 seconds left in the second period, and Adam Chapie added a goal with 6:02 left in the third, providing more than enough offense for UMass-Lowell (28-10-2) and its freshman star in net.

Hellebuyck has allowed only four goals in six postseason games for the Hockey East champion River Hawks, who lost all three regular-season meetings against New Hampshire (20-12-7). Hellebuyck played just one period of that series, coming off the bench of a 5-2 loss on Nov. 30.

The River Hawks surged shortly after that, sweeping the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championships and earning the top seed in the Northeast. Yesterday, UMass-Lowell extended the best season in school history by reaching the national semifinals for the first time as an NCAA Division I program.

The Frozen Four begins April 11 in Pittsburgh.

Casey DeSmith had 26 saves for the Wildcats, who lost in the regional finals in their last four NCAA appearances.

New Hampshire was without forwards Grayson Downing and Kevin Goumas, who both took hits to the head Friday in a 5-2 win over Denver. Goumas led the Wildcats in points with 42 points, and Downing tied for the team high in goals with 15.

With two of its top three scorers out of the lineup, New Hampshire struggled against UMass-Lowell’s tight checking. When the Wildcats did get a decent scoring chance, Hellebuyck was always there to stop it.

DeSmith matched Hellebuyck almost save-for-save until Wilson poked in his own rebound near the end of the second period. New Hampshire remained within a goal until late in the third when Chapie skated the puck the length of the ice, got around defenseman Brett Kostolansky and lifted a backhand between DeSmith’s pad and blocker with 6:02 left to play.

Yale erupts for win

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jesse Root scored the go-ahead goal with 4:56 left and Yale beat North Dakota 4-1 yesterday in the NCAA West Regional final to reach the Frozen Four for the first time.

Fourth-seeded Yale (20-12-3) scored four times in the final 7:35.

“We’re thrilled to get the win today,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “North Dakota got the early lead but I felt we were playing well throughout the game. The guys just stuck with the plan.”

Corban Knight scored in the first period for North Dakota (22-13-7).

Yale outshot North Dakota 39-25. The Bulldogs had a 25-16 advantage after the first two periods, but were constantly frustrated by the North Dakota defense and goaltender Clarke Saunders.

Saunders wound up with 35 saves for the Fighting Sioux. Jeff Malcolm stopped 24 shots for Yale.

Yale almost didn’t make the post-season and entered the 16-team NCAA national tournament this week as the final seed. The Bulldogs had been outscored 8-0 in two losses last weekend before entering the NCAAs.

Quinnipiac rallies late

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Matthew Peca, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Kevin Bui scored in a 6:26 span in the third period and top-seeded Quinnipiac overcame a two-deficit to beat Canisius 4-3 last night in the NCAA East Regional semifinals.

The Bobcats, upset in the ECAC semifinals by Brown but still the No. 1 overall seed in the field of 16, will face defending national champion Boston College or Union today for a spot in the Frozen Four. BC and Union squared off in the late game.

Down 3-1, Quinnipiac (28-7-5) cut it to one on Peca’s goal at 8:02 of the third period. Samuels-Thomas tied it on a power play with 9:18 to go at 10:42, and Bui beat goalie Tony Capobianco off a rebound with 5:32 left.

Notre Dame upset

TOLEDO, Ohio — Joey Benik had two goals and an assist to help fourth-seeded St. Cloud State beat top-seeded Notre Dame 5-1 yesterday in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals.

The Huskies (24-15-1) will face Miami (Ohio) today for a spot in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh. Miami beat Minnesota State 4-0 in the second semifinal. Benik, Cory Thorson and Jonny Brodzinski scored on three of St. Cloud State’s first seven shots.

of the second period to make it 4-0.