(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics) “Forward Dillan Bentley skates to goaltender Edvard Nordlund.”
Friday night was filled with excitement and intensity, as the UMass Lowell Hockey Team hosted their in-state rivals, UMass Amherst. The crowd was hyped up, the players knew the potential stakes at hand and before everyone knew it, the puck was dropped and the game was underway.
First Period: The first period was filled with both teams trying to break through the brick wall goaltending that both sides presented for the night’s contest. River Hawks goaltender Gustavs Grigals and Minutemen goaltender Luke Pavicich were dominant all period long. In the middle of the first period, the referees missed a penalty in which a player from UMass Lowell was taken down from behind by an Amherst player. The fans very obviously let them hear it and boos rang out throughout Tsongas Center. Despite this, Lowell would receive two power-play chances throughout the period; the first came just south of 2 minutes into the game as Minutemen defender Ryan Ufko went off for a hooking penalty, which UMass Amherst killed off. The second penalty of the period came much later, when Minutemen defender and brother of Stanley Cup Champion Cale Makar, Taylor Makar, also went off for hooking, which was again killed off. Then the first period came to an end with both goaltenders standing strong.
End of P1:
UMA: 0 SOG: 11
UML: 0 SOG: 11
Second Period: The game resumed with both sides again trying to break the scoreless contest. But again, the big story was the strong showing from both Grigals and Pavicich, as they continued to keep scoring to none. That was until UMass Lowell finally got on the board 8 minutes in, as forward Dillan Bentley gave the River Hawks the first score. Like the period before, it was all about Amherst having to kill off penalties. However, Lowell had to kill off a penalty of their own, as defender Marek Korencik went off for interference. Thankfully, nothing came from the Minutemen power-play, as the River Hawks were able to successfully kill it. The final buzzer sounded, and the second period came to an end with Lowell on top.
End of P2:
UMA: 0 SOG: 22
UML: 1 SOG: 24
Third Period: The River Hawks took to the ice for the final period of the game, looking to seal the win against their rivals. On the other hand, the Minutemen were trying to tie the game as quickly as possible. While no penalties were recorded in the third period, the intensity and desperation to keep the game away from UMass Amherst were showing. Both teams gave it their best possible efforts, but when the final buzzer sounded the River Hawks were victorious, beating their rivals 1-0 in front of the hometown crowd.
End of Game:
UMA: 0 SOG: 28
UML: 1 SOG: 37
The River Hawks improve to 15-9-1 on the season, as well as 9-5-1 in the Hockey East as they sit in 5th place in the conference standings. The final weeks slowly approach, ahead of the NCAA Ice Hockey tournament and the Hockey East playoffs. Meanwhile, for the Minutemen, they fall to 9-13-3 on the season, as well as 3-11-1 and 9th in the Hockey East standings. Next week, the River Hawks will continue their 4-week homestand, as they play host to Boston College on Friday Night, which is Baseball Night at Tsongas Center where the 1st 1,000 fans will receive a River Hawks baseball-style jersey. And on Saturday next week, they will play host to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats on Star Wars Night at the Tsongas Center. It is a great time to be a fan of the UMass Lowell River Hawks, indeed.