The fourth-seeded UMass Lowell men’s hockey team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament after battling to 2-2 tie in the third period only to watch Cameron Wright score a late go-ahead goal that lifted the top-seeded Denver Pioneers to a regional semifinal victory in Loveland, Colo.
The River Hawks (21-11-3) of Hockey East got goals from Lucas Condotta and Connor Sodergren. Meanwhile, the Pioneers (27-9-1) of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference got goals from Justin Lee, Carter Savoie and the winner from Wright at 17:03 of the third period to earn a berth in the regional final opposite Minnesota Duluth.
Condotta gave the River Hawks an early 1-0 lead when he tallied his 10th goal of the season at 9:42 of the first period. Reid Stefanson and Marek Korencik were credited with the primary helpers on the tally.
With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Lee scored the equalizer at 18:37 — with McKade Webster and Antti Tuomisto picking up assists — to help the Pioneers tie it, 1-1, before the first-period intermission.
After both teams battled to a scoreless stalemate in the second period, Savoie, with assist from Mike Benning, put the Pioneers on top, 2-1, with the go-ahead goal at 9:26 of the third.
Connor Sodergren answered for UMass Lowell when he tallied at 14:21 to tie it, 2-2. Jon McDonald and Matt Crasa were credited with assists. But the Pioneers came back and pulled away on Wright’s go-ahead tally that beat UMass Lowell goaltender Owen Savory (22 saves) at 17:03.
UMass Lowell was making its ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a Division 1 program. The River Hawks entered with an 8-8-1 all-time record in Div, I NCAA Tournament play, with an unblemished 7-0-0 record in the Regional semifinal round, reaching the Frozen Four just once (2013).