LOWELL, Mass. — After throwing a scare into the top-seeded team in Hockey East, the University of Maine dropped a 4-2 decision to UMass-Lowell on Thursday night before a crowd of 3,070 at Tsongas Arena in the opener of their best-of-three quarterfinal series.
No. 8 Maine must win Friday night to force a decisive third game on Sunday. Otherwise, the River Hawks will advance to the semifinals next weekend at the TD Garden in Boston.
Lowell (23-10-2) broke open a tie game with goals 25 seconds apart early in the third period, both on rebounds. The River Hawks added a power-play goal four minutes later for a 4-1 lead.
Devin Shore scored with 47 seconds left after Maine (11-18-8) pulled goalie Martin Ouellette on a power play for a 6-on-4 skater advantage.
The Black Bears, who won two of three games against Lowell in the regular season, took a 1-0 lead Thursday on a shot from the left face-off circle by Jake Rutt that hit the crossbar and went in off Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Devin Shore assisted on the power-play goal.
Lowell tied it with just under three minutes remaining in the second on a third consecutive power play. Scott Wilson shot from the right dot past a screened Maine goalie Martin Ouellette. The goal was upheld after a video review.
The second game of the best-of-three series is scheduled to begin at 7 Friday night in Lowell. If necessary, a decisive game will be played Sunday afternoon in Lowell.