MANCHESTER, N.H. – Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots and UMass-Lowell advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time with a 2-0 victory over New Hampshire in the NCAA Northeast Regional final Saturday night.
Scott Wilson scored with 30 seconds left in the second period, and Adam Chapie added a goal with 6:02 left in the third, providing more than enough offense for UMass-Lowell (28-10-2) and its freshman star in net.
Hellebuyck has allowed only four goals in six postseason games for the Hockey East champion River Hawks, who lost all three regular-season meetings against New Hampshire (20-12-7). Hellebuyck played just one period of that series, coming off the bench of a 5-2 loss on Nov. 30.
The River Hawks surged shortly after that, sweeping the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championships and earning the top seed in the Northeast. On Saturday, UMass-Lowell extended the best season in school history by reaching the national semifinals for the first time as an NCAA Division I program.
Lowell will play Yale in the Frozen Four on April 11 in Pittsburgh.
Casey DeSmith had 26 saves for the Wildcats, who lost in the regional finals in their last four NCAA appearances.
New Hampshire was without forwards Grayson Downing and Kevin Goumas, who both took hits to the head Friday in a 5-2 win over Denver. Goumas led the Wildcats in points with 42 points, and Downing tied for the team high in goals with 15.
With two of its top three scorers out of the lineup, New Hampshire struggled against UMass-Lowell's tight checking. When the Wildcats did get a decent scoring chance, Hellebuyck was always there to stop it.
DeSmith matched Hellebuyck almost save-for-save until Wilson poked in his own rebound near the end of the second period. New Hampshire remained within a goal until late in the third when Chapie skated the puck the length of the ice, got around defenseman Brett Kostolansky and lifted a backhand between DeSmith's pad and blocker with 6:02 left to play.
The UMass-Lowell fans who made the 30-mile trip north started chanting "U-M-L! U-M-L!" as the time ticked away. New Hampshire pulled DeSmith with less than 3 minutes to go but the extra skater was little help against the River Hawks' defense.