DURHAM, N.H. -- The third-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team scored five power-play goals and Garrett Stafford (Los Angeles, Calif.) recorded four assists en route to Saturday night's 8-4 Hockey East quarterfinal victory against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell at the Whittemore Center. With the victory, top-seeded UNH won the best-of-three series, 2-0, to advance to the Hockey East semifinals March 14 at FleetCenter.
Top-seeded New Hampshire will face #6 Massachusetts in the first Hockey East semifinal at 5:00 p.m. on Friday night. The Minutemen advanced with a shocking two game sweep of #3 Maine in Orono. The second semifinal (8:00 p.m.) will feature #2 Boston College against #5 Boston University.
UNH (23-7-6) held off an early third-period surge by UML (11-20-5), which had closed within 5-4, with consecutive goals by Kevin Truelson (Avon, Mass.), Justin Aikins (South Surrey, B.C.) and Colin Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.). The tallies by both Truelson, at 8:44, and Hemingway, at 16:07, were on the power play while Aikins' strike at 12:14 was netted with a player in the penalty box for both teams.
Wildcat goalie Michael Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) was credited with 28 saves and UML counterpart Dominic Smart stopped 29 shots.
The teams, which also combined for 12 goals in Friday's series opener, continued to score goals at a rapid pace in the first period, at the end of which UNH led 3-2. The Wildcats quickly took a 1-0 lead when Tyler Scott (Rockville, Md.) swept the puck into the net at 1:45. Lowell 's Mark Concannon tied the game 29 seconds later on a shot from the right point. The River Hawks took their first lead of the game -- and the series -- on a Darryl Green goal from the top of the crease at 12:35.
Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) netted a power-play goal to tie the game, 2-2, when he redirected a centering pass from Steve Saviano (Reading, Mass.) into the open left side of the net at 13:25. UNH was awarded a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes late in the stanza, and Jim Abbott (Mars, Pa.) scored his fourth goal of the series 17 seconds into the two-man advantage to put the Wildcats back in front, 3-2.
In a penalty-marred second period in which 13 penalties were assessed for a total of 26 minutes, New Hampshire extended its lead to 5-2 on a power-play goal by Hemingway at 9:46 and Robbie Barker's (Concord, N.H.) first career tally at 15:41.
The River Hawks netted a 4x4 goal 24 seconds into the third period when Ed McGrane scored on a breakaway. Darryl Green, standing at the top of the crease, redirected Josh Reed's shot from the top of the slot into the net to pull UML within 5-4 at 4:41.