Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

Irish flounder in Hockey East semis

Notre Dame bowed out of the Hockey East playoffs in a 5-1 loss to UMass-Lowell on Friday in Boston. Now the Irish await a potential NCAA bid.

Luck looked to favor Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day thanks to a bouncing puck.

Turns out it was fleeting.

UMass-Lowell controlled play throughout in a 5-1 win over the Irish on Friday in a Hockey East semifinal at TD Garden in Boston. Lowell advances to face Boston College on Saturday in the championship game.

Notre Dame (21-11-5) got off to an auspicious start.

Jack Jenkins gave the Irish a lead seven minutes into the game thanks to a fluky bounce. Dennis Gilbert sent the puck toward center ice and Jenkins redirected it into the Lowell zone. As the puck bounced, it caromed wide of River Hawks goalie Tyler Wall and into the net.

Andrew Peeke picked up the secondary assist.

Otherwise, Lowell (25-10-3) dominated the opening period, taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission on goals from Colin O’Neill and Ryan Lohin. O’Neill leveled the score 25 seconds after Jenkins’ redirect bounced over the goal line. Lohin scored his 10th of the season about two minutes later.

Anders Bjork almost pulled the Irish even with a minute left in the first period. His wrist shot on a power play beat Wall high but clanged off the crossbar.

Lowell peppered goalie Cal Petersen with 13 shots in the first period while surrendering just three, one of which was the Jenkins bouncer from the red line.

More shots for Notre Dame in the second period didn’t change the results.

C.J. Smith extended the lead at 6:34 of the second with his 21st goal of the season. Michael Kapla followed with another to make it 4-1 just before the final intermission. Petersen faced 17 more shots in the period.

Notre Dame managed 14 shots. 

Lowell, off to its fifth straight Hockey East championship game, beat Petersen once more when Nick Marin scored at 2:58 of the third period.

Now the Irish await their NCAA tournament fate. The selection show is scheduled for noon Sunday on ESPNU.


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