Mass. College Hockey: BU Captures Hockey East, Tops UML 5-3

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Boston University men’s ice hockey team captured their eighth Hockey East crown on Saturday evening at the TD Garden, defeating last year’s reigning champion UMass Lowell, 5-3. With the win, the Terriers earn an automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament – the bracket will be released tomorrow.

Courtesy of the Hockey East Communications Office, here is this evening’s release:

BOSTON – Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, Mass.) scored twice and set up another and Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass.) added a goal and two assists to lead top-seeded Boston University to a 5-3 win over fourth-seeded UMass Lowell in the title game of the 31s​t annual Hockey East Championship in front of 13,352 fans at TD Garden Saturday evening.

In their 11th trip the finals the Terriers captured the Lamoriello Trophy as Hockey East Champions for the eighth time, their first since 2009 and the team’s first under second-year coach David Quinn. With the win, Boston University (25-7-5) earns Hockey East’s automatic bid the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. The tournament’s selections will be announced Sunday at noon on ESPNU.

Eichel added the William Flynn Tournament MVP Award to sweep the conference’s major awards. The freshman forward picked up the Warrior Hockey East Player of the Year and Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Year awards on Thursday. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Grzelcyk, forward Evan Rodrigues (Etobicoke, Ontario) and goaltender Matt O’Connor (Toronto, Ontario).

BU opened up a tightly played first period with a pair of goals starting at 13:08.  On a power play Eichel carried the puck deep into the UML zone and fed Grzelcyk, who snapped it home at 13:08. O’Connor helped start the play and picked up an assist on Grzelcyk’s 10th of the year.

At 15:02, BU would make it 2-0 when Eichel again carried it to the goal mouth to shoot it past UMass Lowell goaltender Kevin Boyle (Manalapan, N.J.). Rodrigues and Brandon Hickey (Leduc, Alberta) picked up assists.

The River Hawks closed the period cutting the deficit in half with a power play goal of their own by center Joe Gambardella (Staten Island, N.Y.) just six seconds into the man-advantage at 18:10. Gambardella won the draw and after passes from Tommy Panico (Wall, N.J.) and Adam Chapie (Oxford, Mich), was alone in the low slot and used a forehand to backhand move to tuck it in for his 14th of the season.

The second period was all Boston University as it added a pair of goals, both on odd-man rushes. Senior Cason Hohmann (Arlington, Texas) finished a 3-on-1 started by A.J. Grier (Joliette, Quebec) and Doyle Somerby (Marblehead, Mass.), slipping the puck between Boyle’s pads at 5:38. The River Hawks had a great chance to make it a one-goal game midway through the stanza but O’Connor gloved a rebound attempt by Jake Kamrass (Atlanta, Ga.) from point blank range.

With the period winding down BU made it 4-1 as Grzelcyk, on a 2-on-1, set up Nickolas Olsson (Escondido, Calif.) who beat Boyle with 44.5 seconds before the intermission.

UML battled back to make it 4-2, as Michael Kapla (Eau Claire, Wis.) drilled it past O’Connor from the slot 6:47 into the third, converting a feed from Michael Fallon (Glenview, Ill.) with Dylan Zink (Madison, Wis.) also adding an assist.

Eichel made it 5-2 with his second of the game, 24th of the campaign and sixth in four tournament games with a great individual effort at 14:43 of the third after feeds from Nick Roberto (Wakefield, Mass.) and Grzelcyk.

With 3:08 left, Michael Louria (Glenview, Ill.) of the River Hawks closed the scoring at 5-3 with A.J. White (Dearborn, Mich.) and Fallon picking up assists.

Boyle finished with 19 saves for UMass Lowell (21-12-6) saw its two-year run as conference champions come to an end in its third straight appearance in the final game. The River Hawks went 1-for-4 on the power play and BU went 1-for-3. O’Connor had 22 saves for the Terriers who will make their 32nd trip to the NCAAs.

Joining the four Terriers on the All-Championship team were blueliner Robbie Russo (Bartlett, Ill.) of Notre Dame and forward Grayson Downing (Abbotsford, Alberta) of New Hampshire.

Game notes: The Terriers are 8-3 in the HEA Championship Game all-time…The Terriers are 3-1 all-time in the HEA Championship Game against the River Hawks… Freshman forward Jack Eichel has 66 points (24-42-66) on the season…Eichel’s 66 points set the freshman record for most in team history in a season…Eichel’s 66 points (24-42-66) are the most by a freshman in the NCAA since Paul Kariya had 100 (25-75-100) in the 1992-93 season…Eichel extended his point-streak to 12 games (9-17-26)…Junior defenseman Matt Grzelcyk extended his point streak to 11 games (9-8-17)…This year’s Hockey East All-Tournament Team consisted of goaltender Matt O’Connor (BU), defensemen Matt Grzelcyk (BU), Robbie Russo (ND), and forwards Jack Eichel (BU), Grayson Downing (UNH), and Evan Rodrigues (BU).

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