MANCHESTER, N.H. – Odd as it may sound, UMass-Lowell coach Norm Bazin found something good to come out of a four-game losing streak in January. "It was very good for us to have to go through,'' he said. "It's horrific when you're in the middle of it, but to press the reset button and get back to fundamentals was important for us.''
The fourth-ranked River Hawks have lost only one game since then, and they carried that streak into the NCAA tournament with a 5-0 thrashing of Cornell to open the Northeast Regional on Saturday. UMass-Lowell (27-10-3) got two goals from Ryan Lohin and a 19-save shutout from rookie goaltender Tyler Wall to advance to the regional final for the third time in the past four years.
Ninth-ranked Cornell (21-9-5) was shut out for the first time this season. Goaltender Mitch Gillam had his worst performance of the season, giving up five goals on 21 shots.
The victory was the 12th in the past 13 games for UMass-Lowell, which won the Hockey East tournament and tied for the league's regular-season crown.
"We wanted to keep moving the puck [vs. Cornell], and I think we were able to do that early on,'' said Lohin, a freshman. "We benefited from our speed and created chances.''
Cornell appeared to score the game's first goal only 54 seconds in, but it was waved off because of a high stick. Ryan Dmowski scored at 6 minutes, 34 seconds of the first period for a 1-0 River Hawks lead, and they added two more goals in the second period. UMass-Lowell made it 5-0 with a pair of power-play goals in the third, from Lohin and Connor Wilson.
"It was a hard-fought battle,'' Bazin said. "We were fortunate to get contributions from all four lines and our special teams.''
Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson usually doesn't praise Cal Petersen for his passing. The Fighting Irish goaltender is far more gifted at stopping the puck, but a smart pass led to his team's first goal in Saturday's victory over the Gophers.
When the Gophers made a poor line change, Petersen sent the puck ahead to Andrew Oglevie to create a two-on-one. Oglevie put the puck into the top of the net to spark the Irish rally.
"I saw Oglevie was open, and I took a chance,'' said Petersen, who made his 88th consecutive start Saturday — the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. "I wasn't really thinking it was going to lead to a two-on-one.''
Jackson said Petersen practices making breakout passes on line changes every Friday during the team's pregame skate. He didn't do it Saturday, but he didn't need a rehearsal.
"He's a leader for us,'' Jackson said. "Our guys rally around him. He's the rock back there.''
•Attendance for the two games was announced at 6,299. SNHU Arena seats 11,700.