|1st||6:38||PRV||1-0||EV||Vincent Desharnais (1)||Nick Saracino/21, Brian Pinho/16|
|1st||18:54||UML||1-1||EV||C.J. Smith (17)||Joe Gambardella/26|
|OT3||12:27||UML||2-1||EV GW||A.J. White (11)||Michael Fallon/9|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|UMass Lowell (24-8-5)||0/1||0/0||0|
|UMass Lowell Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||O1||O2||O3||Saves|
|Kevin Boyle (W, 23-8-5)||112:27||1||9||10||10||8||13||8||58|
|Nick Ellis (L, 25-6-4)||112:27||2||4||10||5||8||7||8||42|
BOSTON- A goal by A.J. White (Dearborn, Mich.) at 12:27 of the third overtime lifted fourth-seeded UMass Lowell to a 2-1 win over second-seeded Providence in the first semifinal of the 2016 Hockey East Championship at TD Garden Friday. The two teams battled 112.27 in the longest semifinal in tournament history and the second longest postseason game since the conference began play in 1986.
A hard cross-ice pass by Michael Fallon (Glenview, Ill.) deflected off White's skate to propel the River Hawks (24-8-5) to the title game for the fourth straight season. After video review, conference officials overturned the call on the ice to end the marathon.
The matchup pitted the two top defensive teams in Hockey East and two of the best in the NCAA. Coming into the game the River Hawks ranked second in the country and Providence was fourth. UML goaltender Kevin Boyle (Matalapan, N.J.) stopped 58 shots including the final 55 after an early goal while Nick Ellis (Millersville, Md.) of the Friars stopped 42.
Just one penalty was whistled over five-plus periods of the hard-fought yet clean played game, and it gave UMass Lowell the only power play at 4:51 in the second.
Providence had the best chance to win it in regulation with 1:39 left when Boyle stopped a back-hand bid from down low by Trevor Mingoia (Fairport, N.Y.). Over the first 60 minutes the Friars outshot UMass Lowell, 30-20, with 10-5 advantages in the first and third periods.
Shots in the first OT were even at 8-8 and after an early Friars flurry to start, UMass Lowell had several good chances to win it including a deflection by C.J. Smith (Des Moines, Iowa) that grazed the goal post 7:08 into the session. With 1:12 left, PC's Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass.) had his shot from the low slot tipped just wide.
In the second, Providence had the better chances, outshooting UMass Lowell, 13-7. But iron was not kind on the Friars best bid as from the low slot, Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) whistled one off the crossbar at 12:29.
It was Ellis's turn to shine in the third overtime stopping several point blank River Hawks chances. Both teams opened it up midway through the period with both Boyle and Ellis denying opponent two-on-one opportunities
The Friars broke through first as defenseman Vincent Desharnais (Laval, Quebec) snapped one through traffic past UML goalie Boyle just 6:38 into the contest. It was the first career goal for Desharnais. Boyle stopped an initial shot by Brian Pinho (No. Andover, Mass.) before Saracino fed the rebound to Desharnais at the right point.
Smith tied it for UMass Lowell with some nifty stickhandling with just 1:06 left in the stanza, beating Ellis from the low slot. Joe Gambardella (Staten Island, N.Y.) assisted on the goal, feeding Smith from the left corner.
Providence falls to 27-6-4 with the loss. The defending national champions are in line to get an at large bid to defend their title when the NCAA releases the 16-member tournament field on Sunday.
Notes: Providence is now 2-3-4 in overtime this year, UMass Lowell is now 2-1-5 ... C.J. Smith, a sophomore, has scored three times in three tournament games this season after scoring two a year ago including one in the first period of UMass Lowell's 4-1 semifinal win over Vermont ... Boyle, the co-winner of the Warrior Hockey East Player of the Year Award, has allowed only three goals in three playoff games this season ... Equally sturdy at the other end, Ellis, who replaced PC All-American Jon Gillies, allowed only three goals in his first three playoff starts, only one coming in the quarterfinal sweep of Merrimack ... It was the first semifinal to go to overtime since 2009 when UMass Lowell tipped Northeastern, 3-2.