UMass Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck may have seen a shutout streak of over three full games snapped in the closing seconds, but his 35 saves were enough to lead UMass Lowell to a 2-1 victory over Minnesota State in the Northeast regional semifinal on Saturday night.
Joseph Pendenza scored on a breakaway shorthanded goal to put the River Hawks up 1-0 at 12:54 of the first period, and Hellebuyck, along with a stellar defensive effort from the River Hawk defense which is best in the nation in goals allowed made that lead stand for most of the night, despite an intense, up-and-down game.
Zach Kamrass gave the River Hawks what turned out to be some very much-needed insurance with a long empty-net goal to UMass Lowell up 2-0. Zach Stepan finally ended Hellebuyck's shutout streak with just over 10 seconds remaining in the game, but the Mavericks didn't have enough time left to try for a game-tying goal.
The win moves UMass Lowell on to tomorrow evening's Northeast regional final, where they will face top-seeded Boston College for the right to head to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. The loss snaps Minnesota State's 13-game unbeaten streak, and ends their season with a record of 26-14-1.