Senior forward John Edwardh scored for UMass Lowell in the third period. (Matt Dwyer/Connector)
Despite scoring two goals in the final three minutes of regulation, the UMass Lowell men’s hockey team could not play a full sixty minutes and fell 6-2 to the University of Maine Black Bears. The River Hawks started and ended strong but finished the weekend with a split series, bringing their overall record to 4-6.
Junior forward Ryan Dmowski and senior forward John Edwardh scored the two goals for the River Hawks, but their efforts came too late.
“Well, that was a good old-fashioned buttkicking,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin.
The troubles for the River Hawks started late in the first period, where strong and confident play gave way to passing mistakes that led to turnovers that the University of Maine capitalized on. By the end of the first twenty minutes, the River Hawks were down 2-0 but it seemed that the deficit was more demoralizing than would appear at first glance.
UMass Lowell went on the power play seven times in the game with four of the chances coming in the chippy third period. However, the River Hawks could only score on one of these, which was Dmowski’s goal which prevented a shutout at 17:36 in the third period.
On a power play late in the second period, the puck was cleared four times out of the River Hawk defensive zone.
Ending the first period down 2-0 was hardly indicative of the play at the time. UMass Lowell had several close scoring chances, but Black Bears goaltender Jeremy Swayman made a powerful case for himself to be considered Maine’s starter with his performance.
UMass Lowell led Maine in shots on goal for a majority of the game, eventually eclipsing them 30-26 by game’s end.
“We had some good looks… [but] missed two or three open nets. On the first shift of the game, I think we had our best opportunity,” said Bazin.
Sophomore goaltender Tyler Wall was given the start for the River Hawks but was pulled in the second period after letting in a total of four goals. He was given the loss, bringing his record this season down to 0-5. Junior goaltender Christoffer Hernberg arrived in relief of Wall, and allowed two goals on 16 shots.
“We have two very good goalies, but the chances we gave up were monster chances,” said Bazin.
The Saturday matinee was exemplary of the problems which have plagued the River Hawks of late. The Black Bears got under the skin of UMass Lowell through aggressive pokechecking and general play — and it showed in the penalty summary. Maine was down a player eight times, and Lowell went on the penalty kill a total of five times.
UMass Lowell had offensive and defensive problems throughout the night, most flagrantly on display during a 5 on 3 power play midway through the first period. The River Hawks shot the puck around too often, leading the Black Bears to accurately guess who would be attempting a goal. Dmowski had a legitimate chance when it was 5 on 4 play, but in the end a chance was all it was.
Tension was evident on the River Hawk squad. The penalties on UMass Lowell in the third period were for slashing, roughing, cross-checking and elbowing.
“We got a lot of kids in that locker room that are searching for answers. But the answers are within the locker room,” said Bazin.
Bazin said that the weekend was not a total loss on account of the fact that the River Hawks were able to acquire two points from Friday night’s win. But beyond that, it was difficult to find the good amongst the very bad.
“If you count the first 2-3 minutes of play and the last five minutes of play maybe you could find a positive there. But I’m not there yet,” said Bazin.