Lowell beats Providence in triple OT to advance to Hockey East title game

Scott McLaughlin
March 18, 2016 - 5:45 pm

One of the longest games in college hockey history is sure to stir up some debate thanks to the way it ended. With 7:33 remaining in the third overtime, UMass Lowell's Michael Fallon threw a pass to the front that deflected off A.J. White's skate and in. The play was immediately called no-goal on the ice due to a kicking motion, but the officials overturned it and ruled good goal after a lengthy review because White only directed the puck with his skate and didn't make a "distinct kicking motion," which is the requirement to wave off a goal. That call gave the River Hawks a 2-1 win over Providence and a trip to their fourth straight Hockey East championship game. At 112:27, the game finished as the ninth-longest in Division I college hockey history and the second-longest in Hockey East history. Lowell will face the winner of Friday night's second semifinal between Boston College and Northeastern in Saturday night's conference title game. "I don't want to question the referees. He was pretty adamant calling it off from the start," Providence coach Nate Leaman said of the game-deciding review. "It's just a grey area in our game. It's really grey. I think half the coaches in our league would watch that play and say that's definitely a kicking motion and half would say no way. ... I don't know the difference between a direct and a kick, to be honest with you." Providence's Trevor Mingoia nearly ended the game 4:02 into the first overtime when he took a pass from Erik Foley and rang a shot off the left post. Four minutes later Lowell hit a post of its own as C.J. Smith tipped Tommy Panico's shot from the point. Each team had a decent chance toward the end of the first overtime as well. With 3:13 remaining, Adam Chapie rushed in off a neutral zone turnover and flipped a backhander on net from in close that Nick Ellis turned aside with his blocker. A minute later, Mingoia had a quick one-on-one against Lowell goalie Kevin Boyle, but Boyle poked the puck away as Mingoia went to his backhand. Providence's Mark Jankowski had two good chances in the second overtime. The first was on a wraparound that Boyle just got his stick on. Then he had a shot from the slot that hit the top of the crossbar and deflected out of play. Lowell's best chance in the second overtime came with 8:15 to go when Chapie cut inside a defenseman and streaked in alone, but he put the shot wide. The River Hawks had the best chances in the third overtime. White had a backhander from in close, Michael Louria had a redirect from right in front, and Jake Kamrass and Nick Master both had good looks off nice setup passes from Chapie. But Ellis turned away all of them before finally getting beat on White's game-winning redirect. Ellis finished with 42 saves, while Boyle had 58. "We're very excited to be moving on to the championship game," said Lowell coach Norm Bazin. "It was a good couple games out there. There were a lot of momentum shifts and I thought the guys did a good job staying with the process. We're very excited." Lowell had a chance to take a 2-1 lead with under six minutes left in regulation when a bad change by the Friars led to a two-on-one. Kamrass centered for a charging Tyler Mueller, but Mueller had to take a split second to settle the puck before shooting, allowing Ellis to get across and make a huge pad save. Providence had a chance with a minute and a half to go when Jankowski's shot bounced off the end boards right to Mingoia, who threw a shot on net that Boyle just got his pad on. Then the game opened up in the final minute, with Lowell's Michael Kapla making a big block on a Brian Pinho shot on a 4-on-3 that led to a River Hawks rush the other way, only to have Pinho hustle all the way back and intercept a pass in the slot to end that chance. The Friars opened the scoring 6:38 into the game. A few seconds after Lowell's Dylan Zink cleared a puck off the goal line, Providence freshman defenseman Vincent Desharnais held at the right point before shooting through heavy traffic and beating Boyle for his first collegiate goal. After mustering just two shots on goal through the first 15 minutes of the game, the River Hawks finally got some offensive zone time in the final few minutes of the period. It paid off with a tying goal with 1:06 to go when Smith made a great move around Kevin Rooney before sliding a shot under Ellis' pad for his 17th goal of the season. Each team had 10 shots on goal in the second period, but neither was able to add a goal. The best chance of the period came early on when White found Louria alone in front, but Ellis came up with a big save.