Kenny Hausinger (left) eyes the puck as he is flanked by Chad Krys. (Matt Dwyer/Connector)
BOSTON, Mass. — The UMass Lowell men’s hockey team fought hard and played well but were unable to best top-ranked Boston University 4-2 after a physical competition and some outstanding play by the Terriers’ freshman netminder Jake Oettinger.
The woes continue for UMass Lowell, as this is their fourth loss in a row after leading for at least some point in all four games.
“I think they deserved better, we played well… Just couldn’t finish [the opportunities],” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin.
UMass Lowell outshot Boston University 35 to 26, with a flurry of 14 shots in the first period on 27 attempted shots. Senior defenseman Dylan Zink ended the night with a game-high six shots on goal, while freshman forward Ryan Lohin and junior forward John Edwardh added five.
Freshman goaltender Tyler Wall stopped 22 shots in his 20th collegiate start, while Boston University’s Oettinger stopped 33.
The River Hawks started the game off with a purpose, skating hard and getting a lot of time in the offensive zone.
At 7:35 of the first period, Charlie McAvoy of Boston University was called for tripping, and on their first power play opportunity of the game, the River Hawks capitalized.
After some blue line D to D passing between senior defenseman Dylan Zink and junior defenseman Chris Forney, Forney delivered a crisp, tape to tape pass through the slot to freshman forward Ryan Lohin. Without hesitation, Lohin found the top left corner on a rapid wrist shot from behind the faceoff dot.
Just under a minute later in the period, the Terriers answered the Lohin goal with one of their own. After an unfortunate UMass Lowell turnover at center ice, Boston University had a 2-on-1 opportunity. Boston University forward Gabriel Chabot elected not to pass, and snuck a wrist shot low stick side on freshman goaltender Tyler Wall.
The River Hawks sustained possession in the offensive zone during the second period, something the Terriers do not allow often. Lowell’s forecheck was particularly successful and bothersome for the Terriers. Coupled with the forecheck was Lowell’s exceptional faceoff play as they cleanly won many of them.
Oettinger proved he was up to the task and stopped some high quality shots from the Riverhawks. On a 3 on 1 opportunity, Oettinger faced junior forward C.J. Smith on the crease’s doorstep and succeeded in stopping his shot.
“That kid [Jake Oettinger] was excellent; he was the best player on the ice tonight. It’s [you need to] finish, you get breakaways, 3-on-1s, you have to finish. Sometimes it’s not meant to be,” said coach Bazin.
Lowell had to kill two penalties during the second period. With aggressive defense and forechecking, the Terriers were not able to sustain possession in the offensive zone. The River Hawks finished the game without allowing a single Boston University goal, going four for four on the penalty kill.
UMass Lowell even forced a few turnovers, resulting in two separate breakaways with one drawing a penalty. On the other, River Hawk junior forward John Edwardh was alone in front of net with the puck. He deked to his backhand and attempted a shot, but Oettinger flashed the glove on an incredible sprawling save.
The Terriers took it to the River Hawks in the third period in what was the most competitive 20 minutes of play all night.
Boston University maintained possession in the offensive zone, which resulted in tired River Hawks on the ice and the game winning goal for the Terriers’ #13 Bobo Carpenter. The River Hawks were almost able to change lines, but an opportune re-entry halted them. After the goal, momentum was clearly on Boston’s side as they continued to mount the pressure on Lowell.
The pressure proved to be too much as Clayton Keller of Boston University scored a backhand shot on a 2-on-1 breakaway at 12:47 of the third period. This put the Terriers up by two with only seven minutes to play.
CJ Smith attempted to bring the River Hawks back to life with a flashy display of skill, deking a defender and then scoring on a backhand shot. Smith made it look easy as he drew a penalty while scoring the goal. The score came at 16:57 of the 3rd period, bringing the River Hawks within 1 with three minutes to play.
Unfortunately, the River Hawks could not capitalize on the penalty with Wall pulled and an empty netter sealed it for the Terriers.
The loss brought the River Hawks’ overall record to 15-9-3, and also dragged their conference record to 7-7-1.
The River Hawks will look to break the losing streak next Friday at Northeastern with the puck dropping at 7 pm.