BOSTON, Mass. -- Making their second consecutive appearance at the Hockey East Semifinals, the fourth-seeded Providence College men's hockey team's run in the Hockey East playoffs ended with a 2-1 loss to top-seeded UMass-Lowell on Friday evening at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
Providence (17-14-7, 13-8-6 HEA) held onto a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game after taking the lead at 8:59 of the first period when freshman Kevin Rooney (Canton, Mass.) scored his first goal as a Friar. UMass-Lowell (25-10-2, 16-9-2) responded in the third period with A.J. White tying the game 34 seconds into the final period and Scott Wilson netting the game winner at 12:30 of the frame.
Providence freshman goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) had a strong showing in net as made 31 saves, including a right pad save on Joseph Pendenza in the second period to preserve the Providence lead. Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves for the River Hawks.
Kevin Rooney put the Friars ahead when his registered his first career goal at 8:59 of the opening period. Senior Chris Rooney (Canton, Mass.) started the play when he got the puck to line mate redshirt freshman Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) along the boards while in the Providence zone. Acciari led a rush up the ice with Rooney, before getting a shot off on Hellebuyck from the right face-off circle. Rooney drove to the net, collecting the rebound from Acciari's shot and outwaited Hellebuyck as he put the puck around the netminder's leg to give the Friars a 1-0 advantage.
The score remained in the Friar's favor leading into the third period as Gillies backstopped the Friars with 15 saves in the second period to maintain the advantage.
UMass-Lowell evened the score only 34 seconds after the start of the final frame. Chad Ruhwedel carried the puck up the ice before dishing a pass to Joseph Pendenza who fired a backhand shot on goal that was saved by Gillies. A.J. White followed up on the play, putting the rebound into an open net to tie the game at 1-1.
With 7:30 remaining in regulation, the River Hawks potted the eventual game winner. A give-and-go play between Riley Wetmore and Scott Wilson capped off the win for UML when Wilson fired a backhand pass from Wetmore that beat Gillies as he moved across his crease.
The Friars could not find the equalizer in the third period even though the team fired 18 shots on Hellebuyck throughout the final frame including several chances as time expired.
Providence finished the game 0-for-4 with the man advantage, while UMass-Lowell was 0-for-5.
Notes The Friars and River Hawks met for the 10th time in the last two seasons, including their fourth Hockey East playoff game ... With the exception of a consolation final game in 1986, it was the latest the two teams have met in the Hockey East Championship ... It was Providence's second consecutive and 12th overall appearance in the Hockey East Championship Semifinals ... Kevin Rooney scored his first career goal and became the 20th Providence player to net a goal this season ... The Friars finished the season with eight consecutive games against opponents ranked in the top-seven in the country, posting a 4-4-0 record ...The Friars made a second consecutive appearance in the Hockey East Semifinals for the first time since 1994-95 and 1995-96 ... The Friars posted 17 wins this season, their highest win total since finishing 17-16-3 in 2005-06 ... Nick Saracino finished the year with 11 goals, the most by a Friar freshman since Jon DiSalvatore netted 15 in his freshman year (1999-2000).