LOWELL, Mass. – The 14th-ranked UMass Lowell River Hawks scored a pair of third period goals just 23 seconds apart to secure a 5-3 win over the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team in Friday night's Hockey East opener at Tsongas Center.
UNH falls to 1-4-1, 0-1-0 in Hockey East. UML improves to 4-3-0, 1-0-0 HE. The teams will complete the home-and-home series tomorrow night (7:30 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats struck first at 6:06 of the first period. Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) slide the puck to Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) during a 2-on-1 break and van Riemsdyk dangled toward the net finally sliding the puck underneath the pads of Connor Hellebuyck to make it 1-0. The River Hawks responded with a pair of goals to take the lead. Josh Holmstrom scored on the power play with assists from Zack Kamrass and Christian Folin at 8:25. UML took the lead on a goal by Adam Chapie at the 11-minute mark. Scott Wilson and Michael Fallon assisted on the goal. New Hampshire outshot the River Hawks 11-8 in the period. UML was 1-3
on the power play, while UNH was 0-2 on the man-advantage.
The teams traded goals in a back-and-forth second period. The River Hawks struck first to extend the lead to 3-1. Jake Suter scored on a shot from the right point that went in through traffic into the net at 8:15 with assists from Michael Colantone and Chris Maniccia. The Wildcats answered the goal during their fourth power play opportunity of the night. Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) scored on a backhander from the end line that trickled in off the pads of Hellebuyck at 17:22 of the period. Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) and Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) assisted on the power play goal. UNH held a 14-11 shot advantage in the period.
UNH had the momentum in the first half of the third period including a pair of dangerous power play opportunities. The Wildcats were unable to capitalize and the River Hawks regained control with a pair of goals just 23 seconds apart to build the lead to 5-2. The first goal came on a UNH turnover in the neutral zone that Ryan McGrath carried in all alone and beat Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) at 11:52 to make it 4-2. The second goal came at 12:15 as Scott Wilson scored from the center slot on a fed from behind the net with assists from Michael Kapla and Adam Chapie. New Hampshire added a goal during 4-on-4 play in the final minute as Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) roofed a shot as he was being pulled down with 18.2 left in the third. The Wildcats held a 12-8 shot advantage in the third for a 37-27 edge for the game.
New Hampshire was 1-7 on the power play, while UML was 1-3 on the power play. UNH finished with 13 shots on the power play compared to just two from the River Hawks.
DeSmith made 22 saves including 10 in the second period and moves to 0-3-0. Hellebuyck made 34 saves with double-figure saves in each period; he improves to 3-2-0.
UNH and UMass Lowell complete the home-and-home series on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center. Puck drops at 7:30 with TV coverage on FOX College Sports and WBIN-TV. The game will also air on stations of the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. For more information on season ticket packages and individual tickets, call (603) 862-4000, extension 5, or click here. For more information on the UNH hockey program, visit www.unhwildcats.com or follow UNH athletics on Twitter (@UNHWildcats).