River Hawk teammates celebrate Evan Campbell’s goal, which opened the scoring 6:53 into the game. (Ryan Jussaume/Connector)
The Northeastern Huskies all but controlled the second half of the game to force a 2-2 tie against the eighth-ranked River Hawks Friday night at the Tsongas Center.
Northeastern’s momentum continued to mount on the River Hawks as the game went on, as they launched 19 shots on goal in the third period. Huskies forward Mike McMurtry tied the game a power play goal at 9:32 in the third period to even the score, sending the game into overtime.
The initial pressure on both sides of the puck by the River Hawks kept shot opportunities for the Huskies low early in the game, as they recorded only 13 shots on goal through two periods. In the first 40 minutes, UMass Lowell had outshot Northeastern 20-13, but the script flipped for the Hockey East clubs, as Northeastern’s effort to make plays on the puck and create scoring chances tilted the ice in their favor to end the game.
Neither team recorded a shot on goal during the overtime period, but scoring chances abounded for both teams in the late stages of the contest.
“It was an interesting game because I thought we managed the first half of the game very well and they did the second half,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin. “I thought in the overtime we had a bulk of the opportunities, and we didn’t get a shot on those chances.”
Kevin Boyle was the main standout player for the River Hawks, stopping 30 of 32 shots faced. He said he kept his composure despite not facing much action early in the game.
“In the second period, when I started feeling the puck more, I think I started getting a little more confident,” said Boyle, “but you just have to keep that focus the whole game no matter how many shots you see.”
After the game, Bazin said Boyle was “the best player on our team.”
Ryan Ruck provided excellent backstopping for the Huskies as well, making saves on 24 of 26 shots faced.
River Hawk forward Evan Campbell opened the scoring with a wrist shot off an assist from A.J. White, who stopped the puck in front of the crease allowing Campbell to lift the puck to the top corner of the Northeastern net at 6:53 in the first period.
The Huskies responded with a goal from defenseman Trevor Owens at 8:21 in the first period, his first of the season.
UMass Lowell forward Joe Gambardella scored on the power play after a scrum in the Northeastern crease at 16:37 in the first period to put the River Hawks up 2-1. The goal was the River Hawks’ only tally on four chances with the man advantage.
While the power play has been a strong suit for UMass Lowell recently, Bazin said he was not impressed with the lack of production from his team Friday night.
“Some things are going to have to be adjusted there because that was an area I wasn’t as pleased on, but we’ll have to watch a film and make some adjustments,” said Bazin.
With the tie, the River Hawks move to 10-3-4 in Hockey East play, tied with Notre Dame for second in the conference, and 17-5-5 overall.
The River Hawks return to the Tsongas Center to face the UNH Wildcats in a Hockey East matchup Saturday night in a 7 p.m. puck drop.