In the final game of the regular season, the No. 18 Friars fell to No. 7 UMass Lowell, 4-1, as the two teams faced off with the Hockey East Regular-Season Title on the line Saturday night at Schneider Arena.
Tim Schaller scored early in the third period to tie the game at 1-1, but Josh Holmstrom put UML back on top six minutes later and Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves to lead the River Hawks to an eventual 4-1 win.
With the victory, UMass Lowell (22-10-2, 16-9-2 HEA) took the 2013 regular season Hockey East title, while the Friars (15-12-7, 13-8-6 HEA) finished in a three-way tie for third - their best showing since tying for second in 2001.
Friar Freshman Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced, including a great toe save on Michael Fallon in the second period to keep the game at 1-0.
Riley Wetmore provided the River Hawks with the lead at 3:08 of the first period after capitalizing on a power play opportunity. Scott Wilson carried the puck through the Friars zone before circling around the PC goal and dropping the puck to Wetmore, who was positioned right in front of Gillies and scored his 15th of the year.
Heading into the third period, the score remained 1-0. However, it did not take the Friars much time to even the score thanks to a goal by Schaller. Only 19 seconds after the period began, Schaller took control of a Stefan Demopoulos (La Mesa, Calif) chip and while striding into the UML zone and got off a shot on Hellebuyck. After Hellebuyck made the initial save, Schaller drove to the net and stuffed in his own rebound for his seventh goal of the season.
At 6:41 of the third period, UMass-Lowell broke the tie when Holmstrom scored the eventual game winner. Joseph Pendenza fired a point shot that Holmstrom deflected while the puck made its way through traffic, beating Gillies.
Scott Wilson then registered the River Hawks second power-play goal of the game at 10:29 of the third when he found a way to stuff the puck past Gillies after a large scrum developed in front of the Providence goal.
In the final few minutes of regulation, the Friars had some great chances in the UML zone while skating on a 6-on-4 advantage, but a shorthanded empty net goal at 19:47 by Christian Folin capped off the win for the River Hawks.
The Friar power-play was 0-for-10 on the night, while the River Hawks were 2-for-6 on the power play.
The Friars finished tied for third in the Hockey East standings with New Hampshire and Boston University. By virtue of Hockey East tie-breaking procedures, the Friars will be the fourth seed and play host to the fourth-ranked Wildcats in the best-of three series beginning on Friday, March 15. It will be the first time since 2003 that Providence will play host to a home Quarterfinal Hockey East series.