BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - UMass Lowell forwards Matt Ferreira (Brampton, Ont.) and Terrence Wallin (Yardley, Pa.) both scored goals, but the River Hawks came up short against Union, 4-2, on Saturday night in the NCAA Tournament East Regional Championship at the Webster Bank Arena.
UMass Lowell finishes the 2011-12 season with a 24-13-1 record after recording the second largest turnaround in NCAA Division history with 19 more wins than last year. The River Hawks earned the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1996 and won the school's third-ever NCAA Tournament game on Friday against Miami University. Union improves to 26-7-7 overall and moves on the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, FL.
UMass Lowell nearly captured an early lead, sending the referees to the review booth just 2:32 into the game. Freshman Wallin sunk into the corner of the boards and found Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) between the dots. Pendenza's shot hit Union's Troy Grosenick (Brookfield, Wisc.) high, bouncing over the goaltender and onto the crease, but Grosenick reached back and snagged the puck before it could cross the line.
The near goal worked in the Dutchmen's favor as they roared down ice and scored the game's opening goal at 3:03. A River Hawk turnover put the puck on Kyle Bodie's (East St. Paul, Man.) stick and he found Daniel Ciampini (Concord, Ont.) in front for the easy score.
The deficit grew in the second period as Union scored at the 7:12 mark. The Dutchmen's Daniel Carr (Sherwood Park, Alta.) fired a one-timer at the point that hit goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) in the mask. Setting off a scramble in front, Jeremy Welsh (Bayfield, Ont.) muscled his way in and poked the puck past Carr to give Union a 2-0 lead.
The River Hawks finally broke out of their funk late in the second period. Collecting the puck from senior David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.), Wallin broke into the Dutchmen zone with speed. Carrying down the wall, the rookie jammed the puck at the near post with one hand on the stick, sneaking it past Grosenick at 14:06 to cut the score to 2-1.
The perceived momentum shift evaporated however as UMass Lowell found itself on the penalty kill at 16:26. Less than a minute later, Josh Jooris (Burlington, Ont.) found the back of the net to reestablish Union's two-goal lead.
The River Hawks charged back in the third, collecting a goal at 5:40 from Ferreira. A Dutchmen forward committed a turnover in front of their net and Ferreira hammered home the loose puck before Grosenick recognized what happened.
The comeback came up short as Union's Bodie filled the empty net in the game's final minute of play after UMass Lowell added an extra attacker.
The River Hawks' Carr was stellar in the loss, turning away 35-of-38 shots on goal, including a 17-of-18 showing in the first period. Carr finishes the season at 22-10-1 overall. The Dutchmen's Grosenick (22-5-3) stopped 19-of-21 shots.