BOSTON — It took 112:27, nearly six periods of play and over four hours and twelve minutes, to determine a winner in the first of two Hockey East semifinal games on Friday night at the TD Garden. However, the UMass Lowell River Hawks were able to tally the final goal at 12:27 of triple overtime to defeat the Providence College Friars, 2-1, and advance to the Hockey East Finals on Saturday.
“We’re very excited to be moving on to the championship game,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin. “It was a great couple of games,” joked Bazin. “I thought the guys did a good job staying with the process and in the end we got the game winner.”
Providence manage to get on the board first, something they have done 29-of-36 games this season, when Vincent Desharnais scored at 6:38 of the first period. C.J. Smith answered at 18:54 of the first to tie the game, a score the would last over 93:33.
The game was finally decided when A.J. White tallied the game-winning-goal, some would call controversial goal, at 12:27 of the third overtime. The call was originally waived off by referee Cameron Voss, but following a lengthy review was overturned to a good goal. White appear to possibly kick the puck into the net, but when the replay booth review it they determine it wasn’t a ‘distinct’ kicking motion.
The game became the longest in UMass Lowell history, longest in Hockey East semifinal history, second longest in Hockey East playoff history and ninth longest in NCAA history.
To add to the history making night, a fascinating fact is that their was only a single penalty called all game. Conor MacPhee was whistled for hooking at 4:17 of the second period.
Senior goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped 58-of-59 shots fired at him by Providence College to earn his 23rd win of the season and improve to 23-8-5. Providence’s Nick Ellis stopped 42-of-44 shots.
UMass Lowell now advances to their fourth straight Hockey East Championship game, becoming only the third team to do so. The Boston College Eagles have achieved the feat twice and the Maine Black Bears have once. UMass Lowell picked up wins in their first two trips and were defeated by the Boston University Terriers last year.
The River Hawks will face the winner of the second game between Boston College and the Northeastern Huskies on Saturday at the TD Garden. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. eastern and will air on NESN (in New England) and NBC Sports Network (nationwide).