LOWELL, Mass. — Zack Kamrass picked the perfect time to score his first career goal — 11:29 into overtime of an elimination game — to lift the Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks over Providence College on Friday night at the Tsongas Center. The win evens the best of three series at one, with the decisive game being held on Sunday.
In the extra frame, Joseph Pendenza found some space in the neutral zone and skated in hard toward the net. He then snapped a wrist shot from the left circle that was kicked out by Alex Beaudry to a wide-open Kamrass in the slot. Kamrass then corralled the puck, fired it into the empty net, and sent the series to a final game.
“I was just really ecstatic that we’re moving on to Sunday,” said Kamrass. “The personal celebration and excitement is fun, but it can’t beat that fact that we’re moving on.”
The frustrating loss for the Friars came in an overtime period that saw both Tim Schaller and Ross Mauermann hit the post, with the latter going under extensive review.
“I was really proud of the way we played in overtime; I thought we carried the play,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman. “Sometimes it’s just the bounce of the puck. Their shot went in, we hit a couple of posts, and now we move on to Sunday.”
It was the River Hawks that drew first blood on a goal by Chad Ruhwedel at 17:28 into the first period. After a failed clearing attempt found its way to the point, Ruhwedel skated in and deked around a Friars defender at the top of the right circle. He then went to the backhand and lifted the puck past Beaudry to give Lowell the 1-0 lead.
Mass.-Lowell doubled its lead just 52 seconds into the second period. Working on a power play, Kamrass fired a slap shot from the point that was tipped on net by Pendenza. The shot was stopped by Beaudry, but a rebound quickly found its way to Matt Ferreira, who backhanded it into the net for his 13th goal of the season.
The Friars cut the lead in half late in the second period on a goal from Miles Harvey. Barrett Kaib sent a pass along the blue line that missed Harvey, but bounced back to him on the boards. As the puck slid back to him, Harvey slapped a shot through a screen that beat Doug Carr stick side.
Just a minute and 57 seconds later, Stefan Demopoulos made it a new game on his eighth tally of the season. After receiving a pass on the rush in the slot, Shane Luke wristed a shot that was stopped by Carr, but a rebound found its way to Demopoulos in the crease, who flipped it into the mesh, leveling the score at 2-2.
“There’s no lead that’s safe in hockey at this level,” said Mass.-Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “By no means did we think that we were in hot water [after the tying goal], we just knew we needed to dig down deep and get the next one.”
Carr came up huge for the River Hawks as the second period expired, stopping a close slap shot from Schaller and then gloving the rebound shot from Rob Maloney, keeping the score even going into what would be a scoreless third period.
Both goaltenders were solid in net, with Beaudry stopping 33 shots and Carr stopping just one more.
“I think our guys are really hungry,” said Leaman. “You face adversity all season, and you learn to battle through it.”