River Hawks Blank Spartans 4-0

Lowell, MA- Sophomore goalie Henry Welsch turned aside all 27 Michigan State Spartans shots as the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks won 4-0 in front of 3,468 fans at Tsongas Center Arena on Saturday night. Classmate Nik Armstrong-Kingkade scored twice in solidifying the victory for UMass-Lowell, who improve to 2-1-1 on the young season.

The River Hawks got points from eight different players. Lucas Condotta, Ben Meehan, and Armstrong-Kingkade led the charge with two points apiece in the second game between the two schools this weekend.

The River Hawks had the game’s first power-play at 6:03 when Spartans winger A.J. Hodges was sent off for Hooking. Berglund notched his first goal of the 2021-22 campaign when he blasted a shot past MSU goalie Pierce Charleson (27 saves) from the top of the left circle at 8:50. Berglund’s power-play goal was assisted by Reid Stefanson and Nick Austin. Stick tap to Connor Sodergren who set up shop in front of Charleson and may have screened the Spartans goalie.

Michigan St. had two penalties called at 2:12 of the second period. Initially, Kristof Papp was going off for Holding but then Christian Krygier was penalized for Slashing during the delayed penalty call.

The River Hawks couldn’t put the puck past Charleson and the Spartans until their five-on-three expired. Condotta banged in a rebound of a Ryan Brushett bid as Charleson was out of position. The goal was Condotta’s first of the year while Brushett and Matt Crasa notched their second assists in the process.

UML’s Marek Korencik was sent off for Interference at 4:46 giving the Spartans a power-play but it was the River Hawks who would take advantage of the extra space on the ice.

Armstrong-Kingkade beat MSU’s David Gucciardi, who tripped at the red line, to a loose puck at the Spartans’ blue line and was off to the races for a short-handed bid against Charleson. Armstrong-Kingkade deked Charleson and appeared to lose the puck but he hit the brakes and lifted the puck over the sprawled out Spartans goalie.

Armstrong-Kingkade made it 4-0 at 8:44 of the third when he deposited a Condotta feed past Charleson from just in front of the Spartans net. Condotta circled the net while Armstrong-Kingkade planted himself just below the circle to the right of the goal.

“It was a decent battle,” said MSU coach Danton Cole. “It was kind of a funny game, they (UML) did a nice job. They had the opportunities and buried them.”

“Believe it or not,” added Cole, “I thought we played better tonight than we did last night (2-2 tie). That’s the way hockey goes sometimes. We’ll learn some stuff out of it.”

“It was a good effort, I’m proud of the kids,” said UMass-Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “I think they came back on the second night after a long layoff and had a good effort.”

“You get a few goals on special teams, chip in with some great goaltending, and usually that’s a recipe for success,” added Bazin.

“Overall, I enjoyed seeing multiple lines grind and chip in. It’s nice to have that depth. I thought that depth played a bigger part tonight.”

Both schools kick off their respective league competition next weekend. The Spartans travel to Columbus, OH for two against Ohio State while the River Hawks have a home and home against Boston University. The Terriers host Friday at Agganis Arena at 7:30 pm before squaring off at Tsongas on Saturday at 6:05 pm.