BOSTON — Behind four unanswered goals, No. 12 Massachusetts-Lowell advanced to its third consecutive Hockey East championship game by defeating seventh-seeded Vermont 4-1 Friday night at the TD Garden.
The Catamounts (22-14-4) took the 1-0 lead at 11:42 of the first when Jonathan Turk sent a cross-ice pass to a wide open Kevin Irwin in front of Kevin Boyle. Irwin got free after a River Hawk defender fell, and poked the pass into the twine.
The opening goal was the first goal that UMass Lowell (21-11-16) allowed in the TD Garden in 242:25, since the 2013 semifinals against Providence. The Friars scored at the 8:59 mark of the first period.
The River Hawks quickly responded on a 5-on-3 power play at 12:18 when Michael Kapla sent a glove-side shot from beyond the circles past Brady Hoffman.
The tally was Kapla’s first career postseason goal and his third point overall. Great puck movement from Dylan Zink and Adam Chapie set up the score. The helpers marked Zink’s second career postseason point, and Chapie’s third assist and fifth Hockey East postseason point.
The River Hawks went 1-for-3 on the power play in the first, while Vermont went scoreless on its only opportunity.
Michael Louria scored the lone second period goal, and his first career postseason goal at 16:10. He broke along the boards on the bench side and his shot from the right circle snuck through the glove-side armpit of Hoffman. The assists were credited to Michael Fallon, his sixth career postseason point and Jake Suter, his third Hockey East postseason point.
The game-winning tally was the freshman’s fourth of the season.
UMass Lowell received an insurance goal off the stick of Terrence Wallin when his shot was deflected high into the top corner at 8:46 of the third. Wallin, a senior, has now scored two Hockey East postseason goals as his first came against Notre Dame this year. Michael Colantone recorded his second career tournament assist, and second this season.
Joe Gambardella sealed the game with an empty net goal at 1:24 on the clock, his fourth career Hockey East goal.
Boyle made 30 saves, including 12 in the third to earn the win. Jake Kamrass had a team-high five shots for the River Hawks.
Hoffman stopped 32 shots for the Catamounts, and Mike Paliotta had a game-high six shots.
The River Hawks will face Boston University in the Hockey East finals on Saturday.