Massachusetts-Lowell blows lead, wins NCAA hockey tourney opener in OT

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Riley Wetmore scored 2:13 into overtime to lift Massachusetts-Lowell to a 4-3 win over Miami (Ohio) on Friday in an East Region semifinal of the NCAA tournament.

The River Hawks (24-12-1) blew a 3-0 third-period lead but recovered to earn a matchup against Union today.

"We knew the third was going to be a battle," Lowell goalie Doug Carr said. "Heading into the OT, we just regrouped and believed we had it and played with confidence."

Lowell, in the tournament for the first time since 1996, dominated the first two periods. Wetmore made it 3-0 2:21 into the second.

The third however, was all Miami (24-15-2). Trent Vogelhuber and Austin Czarnik scored 14 seconds apart. Alden Hirschfeld tied it with 10:04 left. And with 3:35 left, the RedHawks went on a five-minute power play after Jake Suter — son of former NHL defenseman Gary Suter — checked Vogelhuber from behind.

Miami had seven shots on goal during the power play. Four came during the final minute of regulation. And in the waning seconds of the power play, Cameron Schilling's blast from the point hit the crossbar.

"I thought that five-minute major woke us up. It told us we had to bear down, and the guys did that," Lowell coach Norm Bazin said. "I said if we killed this off, we'd win this game."

And 48 seconds later, Lowell did. Wetmore crashed the net and put in a rebound of Derek Arnold's shot.

"I'm still not sure how it went in," Wetmore said. "I just saw the guys celebrating in front of me."

Carr made 30 saves for the River Hawks, who had previously won only two NCAA tournament games.

"(Lowell) was leaning on its sticks. But give them credit. They stayed in, and their goaltender made some huge saves," Miami coach Enrico Blasi said.

"That's the name of the game; one game in, one game out. You win you go. You lose you're out."

Union 3, Michigan State 1: Troy Grosenick made 20 saves for the Dutchmen, who earned their first Division I tournament victory in its second appearance.

"Our team has been awesome in front of the net all year," Grosenick said. "All the credit goes to the guys out in front of me. Seeing only 20-something shots made my job easier."

Union (25-7-7) does not give out scholarships and has been in Division I only since 1991. Last year in the tournament, it lost 2-0 to Minnesota-Duluth, the eventual national champion. Union's last win in any NCAA tournament came in 1985, the Division III third-place game.

It got a big performance Friday from Grosenick and goals from Max Novak, Jeremy Welsh and Wayne Simpson while shutting down the Spartans (19-16-4).

"We lost to a very good team," Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said. "The difference was they took advantage of some mistakes we made."

Midwest Region

Green Bay, Wis. — Simon Denis' first goal of the season was the winner as Ferris State beat Denver 2-1 in a region semifinal. The defenseman, who has 12 assists, put the Bulldogs (24-11-5) up 2-0 2:54 into the second. Taylor Nelson stopped 25 of the 26 shots by the Pioneers (25-14-4).

"I felt like we played a fairly strong game, and it was a fairly typical game with how we play in our defensive zone," said Ferris coach Bob Daniels, whose team is in the tournament for the first time since 2003. "When we made mistakes, I thought Taylor Nelson was more than up to the task."

Drew Shore scored 5:22 into the third to pull the Pioneers within one. They pulled their goalie with about two minutes left but failed to score despite several good chances.

"They … took advantage of a few of our miscues, and their goaltender was very good," Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. "I thought it was an exciting game to start this Midwest Regional. That's about the best spin I can put on the outcome."

Cornell 3, Michigan 2 OT: Rodger Craig scored 3:35 into overtime for the Big Red (19-8-7). Kevin Lynch tied it for the Wolverines (24-13-4) with 4:01 left in regulation. Michigan, in the tournament for the 22nd consecutive year, went up 1-0 just 1:11 in. Soon after, it lost a goal when the referee ruled Cornell's goalie was interfered with.

.Fast facts

Frozen Four

When/where: April 5 and 7; Tampa Bay Times Forum

Tickets: Reserved seats for the two semifinals and final are $195. Available at ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, toll-free 1-800-745-3000.

Information: tampabay

timesforum.com

Massachusetts-Lowell blows lead, wins NCAA hockey tourney opener in OT 03/23/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 12:33am]

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