BOSTON (AP) — Derek Arnold scored with 8:41 left in the third period and UMass-Lowell held off Boston University 1-0 Saturday night to win its first Hockey East tournament championship and end Jack Parker’s 40-year run as coach of the Terriers.
River Hawks freshman Connor Hellebuyck stopped 37 shots, including a flurry in the final minutes after BU pulled its goalie and tried frantically to send the game into overtime and prolong the storied career of its retiring coach.
“I didn’t say I’d like it to end at the Garden or I’d like it to end in the national tournament,” Parker said. “I’ve won games and I’ve won tournaments. I wanted this for my seniors, but it wasn’t to be. I wasn’t thinking, what would be the best scenario?”
Top-seeded UMass-Lowell (26-10-2) added to its Hockey East regular-season title by beating the third-seeded Terriers (21-16-2) for the fourth time this season. And for the first time in nine years, the league champion does not hail from either end of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.
“Coming from New England, growing up seeing BC and BU win every year, you didn’t see Lowell in here too many times,” Arnold said. “It’s amazing right now and a remarkable accomplishment by the group of guys in that room.”
Parker’s outstanding career ends with an 897-472-115 record, one win shy of a 25th NCAA tournament appearance and a chance at his fourth national championship. While the River Hawks likely locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs, the Terriers needed the conference’s automatic bid to get in.
The 16-team field for the Division I hockey tournament will be announced Sunday, but the 11 at-large berths are determined by a mathematical formula rather than subjective reasoning by the selection committee. Boston University’s sports information department acknowledged that a loss Saturday would leave the team short, and Parker said afterward he knew he had coached his last game.
BU fans chanted “Thank you, Parker!” before he headed off the ice for the final time.
Sean Maguire made 28 saves for the Terriers, who knocked off archrival and three-time defending champion Boston College 6-3 in the semifinals Friday night.
His only costly mistake came on a 3-on-2 when he got caught sprawled on the ice as Arnold swept behind the net for the game-winning goal. Maguire dived across the crease and stopped the puck at the goal line with his glove, but the rebound hit the paddle of his stick and bounced backward into the net.
That gave the River Hawks a measure of revenge four years in the making. UMass-Lowell lost to Boston University 1-0 in the 2009 Hockey East championship game, and the Terriers went on to win their most recent national title.
The previous team other than BC or BU to win the Hockey East tournament was Maine in 2004.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.