Northfield, Vt.—#11/14 UMass Boston jumped out to a two-goal lead for the second-straight day but couldn't hang on, as #8/9 Norwich University scored five of the final six goals to earn a 5-3 victory over the Beacons Saturday afternoon at Kreitzberg Arena.
With the victory, the Cadets (17-5-3, 12-3-2 ECAC East) earned their 16th consecutive ECAC East Regular Season Title, thanks to #3/5 Babson' 1-1 tie at St. Michael's College. The Beacons (16-5-4, 9-5-4 ECAC East) got some help of their own, as they wrapped up the third seed in the upcoming ECAC East Tournament thanks to Southern Maine's 2-1 win over New England College.
Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.) led UMass Boston with a pair of goals and an assist in the loss. The mid-season transfer finishes the regular-season with 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in eight games and multi-point games in three of his past four contests.
Linemate Mike Kuhn (Holbrook, Mass.) added a goal and an assist, while Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.), Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Tyler Bishop (Ramsay, N.J.) each picked up an assist.
Sophomore Zach Andrews stopped 25 of 28 shots, before being replaced by the extra-skater with 54 seconds to play.
Five different Cadets found the back of the net for Norwich ,who needed to make up three-points on Babson College with two games to play. Travis Janke (one goal and one assist) and Alec Thieda (two assists) were the lone Norwich skaters to record multiple points, with Anthony Flaherty picking up the game-winner 4:55 into the third period.
Chris Czarnota earned the victory by stopping 14 of 17 shots for the Cadets.
Norwich outshot the Beacons 30-17 in the contest behind a 15-4 advantage in the third period. UMass Boston finished 0-for-4 on the power-play, while the host Cadets finished 1-for-5 on the afternoon.
The Beacons second-line gave UMass Boston a 2-0 lead 16 minutes into the contest, as the former Boston Bulldogs teammates each found the back of the net.
Kuhn gave UMass Boston a 1-0 lead just 2:09 into the period, when he took feeds from Buco and Bishop, before sending a hard shot over the shoulder of Czarnota.
Buco doubled the Beacons' advantage at 16:20 of the period, when he fired a laser into the back of the net to make it 2-0. DeAugustine and Daniel were credited with assists on the play.
Norwich struck back with two goals of their own before their intermission thanks to two goals in 28 seconds. Nick Pichette cut the deficit to 2-1 at 16:43 and William Pelletier struck at 17:11, to send the two teams into the locker room tied at 2-2.
The score would stay at 2-2 throughout most of the second period despite four power-play opportunities. Norwich finally struck with 11 seconds left in the period, thanks to Dean Niezgoda, who beat Andrews through the five-hole for a 3-2 Cadets lead.
UMass Boston answered back 30-seconds later, in game action, when Buco scored off a Kuhn pass 19 seconds into the third.
Norwich took the lead for good at the 4:55 mark, when Flaherty scored on the power-play, off of passes from Janke and Chris Duszynski.
The Beacons earned one final power-play opportunity late in the third but managed just two shots on goal, before being called for a penalty of their own.
Janke put the game away for good with 11 seconds to play to start the celebration at Kreitzberg Arena.
UMass Boston will host #6 University of New England next Saturday at 3 p.m. in the ECAC East Quarterfinals. The contest will be a rematch of last year's ECAC East Quarterfinals in which UMass Boston downed the Nor'Easters 5-2 in the 2-7 Quarterfinal.