LOWELL, Mass. – It was a game that was much more lopsided than the final 5-2 score as the No. 11 UMass-Lowell River Hawks controlled large stretches at both ends of the ice to cap off a season sweep of the Massachusetts Minutemen at the Tsongas Center on Saturday night.
Of course, you could not mention The Minutemen without bringing up their 0-8-2 road record so far on the season. On the flip side, the Mass Attack had been the nation’s final unbeaten team on home ice before Friday evening’s 4-2 loss with a 7-0-3 mark at the Mullins Center.
“Our ability to manage ourselves is a real issue for this team,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon. “It shows itself on the road in a big way. If you don’t manage the game and manage yourself in terms of penalty…then you have no chance of winning on the road…It was something that just got away from us tonight after we made a really good effort in the second period.”
The victory was UML’s fourth in five games, dating back to last Saturday’s overtime win at Matthews Arena. The River Hawks have now won seven games in a row at Tsongas Center with their last loss coming to Boston College all the way back on Oct. 28, 2011.
“It was a very good win,” said UML head coach Norm Bazin. “We are extremely excited about the weekend and I thought they competed real hard tonight. It was kind of three games – we won the first, they won the second and we were fortunate to win the third.”
It was all River Hawks in the first period as UML held a 13-4 shots advantage, while scoring twice against UMass sophomore Jeff Teglia.
At 10:35, sophomore Derek Arnold continued his hot streak by netting his eleventh goal of the season. The Foxboro, Mass. native has now scored points in four of his last five games and goals in three of five.
He poked home a rebound in front of Teglia’s net after the UMass defense could not clear the bouncing puck out of the defensive zone. Junior captain Riley Wetmore set up the play and was credited the primary assist.
Freshman winger Terrence Wallin sent a centering pass forward to senior Matt Ferreira and he redirected the puck low past Teglia for the 2-0 lead at the 17:42 mark.
It was a back-and-forth second period on both ends of the ice, but the Minutemen held a very strong 19-8 shots advantage and scored twice to cut their deficit to 3-2 heading into the final period.
At 9:12 of the middle stanza, sophomore defenseman Joel Hanley picked up a bouncing puck off the left-side boards and fired a turnaround shot five-hole on UML sophomore Doug Carr for his second goal of the season.
The Minutemen tied the score at 2-2 with 4:32 left in the period as sophomore Patrick Kiley capped off a 3-on-1 break with a rebound goal past a sprawling Carr.
However, UML was quick to respond and take back the advantage as sophomore Josh Holmstrom corralled a loose puck in front and beat Teglia at the 16:50 mark. Senior David Vallorani fired the initial puck forward and Holmstrom tucked it into the net for the go-ahead score.
After UMass sophomore Eric Filiou was whistled for a double minor penalty, Arnold cashed in for his second time in the game as he one-timed a power play shot past Teglia at 2:43.
“I thought he had a very strong night,” Bazin said of Arnold’s play. “Whenever you can capitalize like that and help your teammates, the coaches are certainly pleased with that.”
The River Hawks extended their lead to three goals as Wallin scored off a centering pass from Vallorani at the 9:14 mark. The freshman’s sixth of the season came as a result of a five-minute hitting from behind penalty on Minuteman redshirt freshman Steven Guzzo.
In the end, the River Hawks held a commanding 65-45 edge in total chances, despite a 30-29 deficit to the Minutemen in on-target chances.
“It was a great team win,” said Arnold, who earned top star honors in the contest. “We had a tough second period and we responded very well in the third. It was a great way to finish off the weekend after losing Tuesday and earning four points.”
Carr paced UML as he made 28 stops on the evening to earn his 15th win of the season in 19 decisions.
“He was timely,” Bazin said. “I thought [Josh] Holmstrom’s goal was big because it kind of released some pressure.”
Teglia was strong in net, despite the loss, as he made 24 and fell to 1-5-1 on the season. His lone career victory came on Jan. 7 when the Minutemen won in overtime at Frozen Fenway.
Next weekend, the River Hawks return to the Tsongas Center when they host the lowly Vermont Catamounts in a two-game weekend series. The Catamounts finished off another winless weekend on Saturday night as they were swept by Northeastern by a combined score of 12-5.
UMass will be back in action on Friday night when they look to break the Huskies’ streak at Matthews Arena. Following that contest, they return home for a battle against fifth-ranked Merrimack on Saturday.