By: Josh Brown
BOSTON- They were the best from beginning to end.
Powered by two goals by freshman Jack Eichel, Boston University defeated Umass-Lowell 5-3 to win their first Hockey East title since 2009 Saturday at the TD Garden.
The Terriers will be a one-seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
The loss ends the River Hawks (22-11-6) two-year reign as Hockey East champions, a stretch that included a win over BU in the title game in 2013.
Matt O’Connor, who was named to the All-Tournament team, finished with 22 saves on the night, while Kevin Boyle made 19 for Umass-Lowell.
Eichel will enter the NCAA Tournament with 66 points on the season, the most ever by a BU freshman, and second most by a first year player in NCAA history, trailing Paul Kariya who had 100 for Maine in 1992-1993.
BU(25-7-5) went up 2-0 15 minutes into the game courtesy of goals via Matt Grzelcyk on the power play, and Eichel less than three minutes later.
Eichel’s goal came after he brought an Evan Rodrigues pass into his own offensive zone, deked around a couple Lowell defenders and beat Boyle five-hole.
Lowell would make it a game at the 18:10 mark of the opening frame when Joe Gambardella took advantage of a John MacLeod elbowing call, and beat O’Connor to bring the deficit within one.
The Terriers would break it open in the second period, getting goals from Cason Hohmann and Nikolas Olsson to make it 4-1, all but sealing the win.
Lowell would out-score BU 2-1 in the third period but it wasn’t nearly enough, as David Quinn’s team would hang on for the victory.
“Tonight’s it’s about our team,” said Quinn. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. From September on it’s been as much fun as possible coaching this team. We are a true team.”
Hockey East All-Tournament Team:
F: Jack Eichel- Boston University
F: Evan Rodrigues- Boston University
F: Grayson Downing- University of New Hampshire
D: Matt Grzelcyk- Boston University
D: Robbie Russo- Notre Dame
G: Matt O’Connor- Boston University
All-Tournament MVP: Jack Eichel-Boston University