Adam Chapie opened the scoring for the River Hawks at 5:39 in the first period to tie the game at 1. (Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)
UMass Lowell took a chunk out of Arizona State with a decisive 4-1 win on Friday night at the Tsongas Center. The River Hawks advance to a 16-5-4 record (10-3-3 HEA) while the Sun Devils fell to a 5-20 record.
The River Hawks got right down to business from the start of the game, consistently leading Arizona in shots on goal by a factor of two to one. While there was plenty of back-and-forth play, UMass Lowell took the Sun Devils to task by asserting an offensive pressure from the opening faceoff. As the game progressed, the Sun Devils started to get chippy, but the River Hawks still blew past them in terms of puck possession time and overall control of the game.
Things got off to a rough start for UMass Lowell when forward Ryan Stevens put Arizona State on the board first, but the River Hawks retaliated 23 seconds later with a goal from Adam Chapie at 5:39 in the first period. Team captain A.J. White credited that goal with helping the River Hawks “get that momentum right back.”
Three other River Hawks contributed to the score with goals of their own. Evan Campbell and A.J. White scored in the first period, while C.J. Smith twisted the twine in the second period. Two of these were power play goals, one of the River Hawks’ strong areas this season.
Arizona State pulled starting goaltender Robert Levin immediately after Smith’s goal, and he was replaced by David Jacobson. The reliever was solid in net for the Sun Devils and didn’t allow a single goal.
“Overall,” Head Coach Norm Bazin said, “I’m happy with the contributions from the special teams.” The River Hawks’ power play was extremely effective, resulting in two straight power play goals. Their penalty kill was just as strong, holding up against Arizona’s aggressive play throughout the entirety of the game.
Another positive for the River Hawks was that all four offensive lines contributed a strong performance. The goal scorers were spread across the top three lines, with the fourth line making an impact as well.
Friday night marked the first career start for freshman goaltender Christoffer Hernberg and his first win as a River Hawk. He stood tall in net for the whole game, stopping any flurries of activity that came his way, and it impressed his coach.
“He reacted well in scramble situations, he fought back, even though they got that early one. He gave us a chance,” said Bazin.
While Bazin noted that there were some things that the River Hawks could improve on in the next contest against Arizona State, there were “plenty of positives to take away.”
Friday night’s contest was the first-ever meeting between the two schools, as the 2015-2016 season is the Sun Devils’ first as a Division I hockey team.
The River Hawks and Sun Devils meet again Saturday night at the Tsongas Center for a 7 p.m. contest.