ORONO — Tanner House was ready, poised to one side of the net to take a feed from a teammate and put a close-range shot on goal.

House took a pass from Brian Flynn, camped behind the net, and snapped his wrists – a move that gave the University of Maine men’s hockey team a 3-2 win Sunday night at Alfond Arena and put the Black Bears in the Hockey East semifinals for the first time in four years.

“I just had to be ready in front of the net because they throw it out there,” House said. “(Flynn) threw it out there and I was fortunate to bang it in off the post.”

House’s goal helped the Black Bears (18-16-3) win the quarterfinal series against the River Hawks (19-16-4) and advance to a semifinal at 8 p.m Friday against Boston University at TD Garden in Boston. Boston College will face Vermont at 5 p.m. in the other semifinal.

House’s goal at 5:10 of sudden-death overtime also ended any hopes the River Hawks had of advancing to the NCAA Division I tournament.

“It’s the most disappointing way to end the season, having the lead at two different occasions in the game,” said UMass-Lowell Coach Blaise MacDonald, whose team led 2-1 less than five minutes into the third period. “With less than five minutes, we usually close that off. Unfortunately, we had a little panic in our defensive play on the four-on-four (in overtime) and they got a lucky bounce.”

Furthermore, House’s goal capped off nine days in which the Black Bears faced various forms of adversity, right down to the final moments before Sunday’s game when the Black Bears’ coaching staff determined that defenseman Jeff Dimmen would be unable to play because of a lower-body injury.

“The best part for me was how the guys fought through the adversity,” said Maine Coach Tim Whitehead, whose team last played in the Hockey East semifinals in 2006, losing 4-1 to Boston College. “You name it, we’ve had guys step up and elevate their game.”

Maine goalie Dave Wilson, who made 26 saves, agreed.

“That’s basically what this whole series has been about, our team stepping up at different times and coming through,” Wilson said.

Without Dimmen, who suffered an injury Saturday night, Maine rotated its forwards into the sixth slot on defense but still outshot UMass-Lowell 16-5 in a scoreless first period.

However, the Black Bears were unable to convert two power-play chances.

Less than six minutes into the second, Colin Wright gave the River Hawks a 1-0 lead when he took a pass from Michael Budd in the corner and beat Wilson on a backhander in front of the net.

With Kory Falite penalized for cross-checking with 6:47 left in the second, Will O’Neill tied the game on a wrist shot from the point that went through traffic and past River Hawks goalie Carter Hutton, who made 33 saves.

After Scott Campbell scored a power-play goal at 7:42 for the River Hawks with Gustav Nyquist off for tripping, O’Neill sent the game into overtime on a slap shot from the top of the right circle with 4:48 left.

“We just didn’t want to change anything,” House said of going into overtime.

“We were happy with the way we were playing. We did not want to cheat offensively and (wanted to) play good defense and kind of wait for our chance and capitalize when we got the opportunity.”

 

NOTES: Dimmen skated in warm-ups but was replaced in the lineup by Kyle Beattie just before the game. Dimmen was injured late in the third period of Saturday’s win after he was hit from behind by UMass-Lowell’s Chris Auger.

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]