All it took was one defensive breakdown to end Yale’s season.
The UMass-Lowell Riverhawks defeated the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday night at the Times Union Center by a score of 3-2 in overtime to clinch a berth in Sunday’s East Regional Final.
Early in the third period, UMass-Lowell found themselves down by a goal with their season on the line, but this hope to advance was delivered by Joe Gambardella six minutes into the third period to tie the game 2-2 and making it a whole new game to see who would face the game one winner, Quinnipiac, in the final for a bid in the Frozen Four.
The game went scoreless for the rest of regulation, sending the game into a sudden-death overtime. It was Gambardella again who played hero, scoring the game-winning goal just 97 seconds into overtime, ending the game.
“My linemate did an unbelievable job possessing the puck, made a cutback, went to the net and I was lucky to get a stick on it, that whole play had with the pressure from the line before that,” Gambardella said of his game-winner.
It had been the Riverhawks who had struck first just four minutes on a goal from Michael Fallon that gave them the early advantage. Yale scored the next two goals from Frankie DiChiara later in the first period and then it was Ryan Hitchcock giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead late in the second period.
It was then that Gambardella took over with his two tallies.
“In the third period, obviously you guys saw yourselves, it went back and forth, and we were fortunate enough to get the equalizer and the winner in overtime,” UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin said.
This was a rare comeback win for the Riverhawks, as they had struggled to come from behind in games this season that they were trailing.
“In any game, anywhere, if you have a one goal lead, you want to extend it to two,” Yale head coach Keith Allain said. “If we had extended it to two, we would have had a better chance to win the hockey game.”
Kevin Boyle had a great game in goal for the Riverhawks, stopping 35 of the 37 shots taken by the Bulldogs. He will now face Michael Garteig in the East Regional Final.
UMass-Lowell advances to Sunday’s East Regional, and will take on number one overall seed Quinnipiac. That game will also be at the Times Union Center, and is set to begin at 7:30 PM. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Joe Gambardella: 2 goals
Michael Fallon: 1 goal
Michael Louria: 1 assist
AJ White: 1 assist
CJ Smith: 1 assist
John Edwardh: 1 assist
Chris Forney: 1 assist
Frankie DiChiara: 1 goal
Ryan Hitchcock: 1 goal
Cody Learned: 1 assist
Ted Hart: 1 assist
UMass-Lowell: (Kevin Boyle): 35/37, 95% saved
Yale: (Alex Lyon): 28/31, 90% saved