UMass Lowell junior forward Joe Gambardella has a reputation of being one of the hardest working players in college hockey. Perhaps, what is not widely known is his knack for scoring big goals in big games.
During the regular season, Gambardella scored six goals, however, once the calendar turned to the postseason, the native of Staten Island, New York, took his game to another level.
In the Hockey East quarterfinal series versus Boston University, Gambardella scored in each of the two games in helping dispose the Terriers from the conference playoffs.
Entering Saturday’s NCAA East Regional Tournament in Albany, NY, the alternate captain had scored seven career postseason goals in 10 playoff games.
In UMass Lowell’s opening game of the tournament against Yale University, Gambardella added two more goals to his totals to see them increase to nine markers in 11 games.
Gambardella’s first lamplighter came with UML trailing the Bulldogs 2-1 at the 6:12 mark of the third period. His second goal of the game came 1:37 into overtime giving his River Hawks a 3-2 victory and an Easter Sunday date (7:30 pm, Albany, NY) with Quinnipiac University in the East Regional Final. The winner gets a trip to a national semifinal game in the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida, April 7-9, 2016.
Gambardella’s game winner also avenged UML’s 3-2 loss to Yale in the national semifinal at the 2013 Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.
On the season, Gambardella is at 10 goals and 27 assists, totaling 37 points. In games in which he has registered at least one point, the River Hawks have a 21-3-4 record.
UMass Lowell is hoping Gambardella, who also garnered an assist in the triple-overtime marathon against Providence College in the Hockey East semifinal and another helper in the River Hawks’ loss to Northeastern in the league Final, can continue his scoring streak which stands at six games (four goals, four assists) against Quinnipiac.
Quinnipiac reached the East Regional Final on the strength of a 4-0 shutout over Rochester Institute of Technology.
The Bobcats (30-3-7) entered the NCAA Tournament as the ECAC regular season and playoff champions and are ranked number one in the nation. The River Hawks (25-9-5) are ranked eighth in the country.
Tune into ESPNU to catch all of the action.
Follow ESPN New Hampshire NHL/NCAA Hockey Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.
Reprinted with permission of The Lowell Sun.