UMass Lowell 4, Maine 2
Entering Thursday night's series opener at the Tsongas Center, the Maine Black Bears had history on their side, even as the eighth seed. That did not seem to matter as top seed and 6th-ranked UMass Lowell scored three times in the final period for a 4-2 victory over the visitors from Orono. Over their mutual Hockey East history, Maine has won 14 of the 15 playoff meetings, all at Alfond Arena, with UML's lone win coming in the 2010 quarterfinal. Sophomore Jake Rutt put Maine ahead at the 13:52 mark of the opening period as he scored his fourth goal of the season (all of which have come on the power play), but second-year counterpart Scott Wilson equalized with a man-up tally of his own at 17:20 of the second period to open the floodgates for Lowell. Wilson potted the rebound from freshman Christian Folin's shot for his second of the game less than two minutes into the final frame, before a pair of third-years Joseph Pendenza and Josh Holmstrom scored to put the game away. With just 48 seconds left, stellar Maine freshman Devin Shore scored a beautiful coast-to-coast goal on UML's Connor Hellebuyck (24 saves), without assist, but that was as close as it would come in his first-career victory over the Black Bears. On Friday, the host 'Hawks look to send Maine home packing with their first sweep since disposing of Vermont on the road in 2009.
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.