MANCHESTER, N.H. – For the second time in as many years, the UMass Lowell River Hawks have advanced to the Regional Finals. Friday night, the River Hawks beat out the Wisconsin Badgers, 6-1. Joseph Pendenza started the scoring off in the first period, while Christian Folin, Shayne Thompson, Derek Arnold and Adam Chapie would all add goals. The lone goal scorer for the Badgers was Nic Kerdiles.
In a battle of two outstanding goaltenders, it was once again Connor Hellebuyck who came out on top. The freshman goaltender stopped 31-of-32 shots fired at him and the only goal he surrendered was a odd bounce goal that caught him by surprise. On the season the Hellebuyck moves to 19-2-0 with a 1.37 goals against average and a .969 save percentage.
The River Hawks focused on their own game during practice this week and didn’t watch video of the Badgers. “If we play our game, we have a chance against anyone,” said Norm Bazin. That was exactly the case on Friday night in New Hampshire.
Bazin’s club was outstanding in their own zone, blocking 19 shots, including six shots by River Hawks’ team captain Riley Wetmore.
The River Hawks managed to get a number of odd-man rushes, that amounted in a few of their goals. UMass Lowell had the ability to skate 3-on-1 and 4-on-2 into Wisconsin’s zone, bad things are bound to happen. Friday night, the Badgers allowed to many chances and the River Hawks were able to capitalize on them.
UMass Lowell will attempt to make their first ever Frozen Four on Saturday night in Manchester, N.H. The River Hawks will play New Hampshire, which they were unable to beat during the regular season in 2012-13, going 0-3-0. With the team on a hot streak, the River Hawks will look to continue their winning ways and take a trip to Pittsburgh, Penn.
Justin Soderberg is a Hockey East writer for InsideHockey.com. Follow him on Twitter, ‘Like’ him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. In addition, Justin covers the UMass-Lowell River Hawks at viewfrom123.com.