BOSTON – Good afternoon from the TD Garden in Boston for the first semifinal of the 29th Annual Hockey East Championship Tournament between the top-seeded UMass Lowell River Hawks (24-10-2, 16-9-2) and the No. 4 Providence Friars (17-13-7, 13-8-6).
The meeting is the first between the teams in the conference’s tournament history and their fourth this season. The River Hawks captured two of the three contests in this year’s series, winning once at each location, by a combined count of 6-2.
UML’s 18-3-1 record since the holiday break is the best by any Hockey East team, ahead of the Friars, who sit 10-7-4 in that span. The match-up features two of the country’s most outstanding freshman goaltenders in Lowell’s Connor Hellebuyck and PC’s Jon Gillies, both of whom were finalists for the league’s Rookie of the Year Award.
PC is making its second consecutive trip to the league semifinals for the first time since 1995-96, after taking down No. 5 New Hampshire in an exciting three-game series.
Lowell became the first team other than Boston College, Boston University, Maine or New Hampshire to clinch the league’s top seed and regular season title.
Here are the full starting line-ups:
Mark Jankowski – Tim Schaller – Paul de Jersey
Nick Saracino – Ross Mauermann – Shane Luke
Steven McParland – Kyle Murphy – Derek Army
Kevin Rooney – Noel Acciari – Chris Rooney
Myles Harvey – Kevin Hart
Tom Parisi – Alex Velischek
John Gilmour – Steven Shamanski
Jon Gillies (17-11-6, 2.08, .931)
Ryan McGrath – Riley Wetmore – Derek Arnold
Scott Wilson – Michael Fallon – Terrence Wallin
Shayne Thompson – Colin Wright – Adam Chapie
A.J. White – Joseph Pendenza – Josh Holmstrom
Greg Amlong – Chad Ruhwedel
Joe Houk – Christian Folin
Zack Kamrass – Jake Suter
Connor Hellebuyck (16-2-0, 1.49, .944)
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.