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Recap ▲ Lowell Sweeps Season Series Over UMass With 4-2 Win

For the fourth time in the last five years the Massachusetts hockey team was swept by its fellow UMass system foe with Lowell gaining their most recent victory 4-2 Friday night.  The loss brought UMass’ record against the River Hawks to a pitiful 1-13-1 over the last half a decade.  The Minutemen have not won the season series against Lowell since a three game sweep in 2010-2011.

UMass came out strong in the opening minutes, something fans had not seen in a while.  They generated three shots on Lowell goaltender Kevin Boyle in the first three minutes and played the River Hawks pretty tough overall in the first part of the opening period.  But after those three shots Lowell would slowly take over, controlling possession and limiting UMass to just one more shot on goal in the final 17 minutes of the period and none in the final 10.  Meanwhile Lowell would put 13 shots on the UMass net in the first but all would be turned away thanks to a solid performance from Minuteman goaltender Alex Wakaluk and the first period would end scoreless.

Lowell would continue to dominate possession in the second period and were eventually able to break through Wakaluk.  Three even strength goals gave the River Hawks a 3-0 lead as they built a 33-12 shots on goal advantage through 40 minutes.  The Minutemen came out with more energy in the third period and put 7 shots on Boyle in the first five minutes.  But they were all turned aside and it would be Lowell that would score first in the final period, extending their lead to 4-0.  UMass finally get on the scoreboard 11:41 into the third period when senior Shane Walsh scored a power play goal with assists going to Dennis Kravchenko and Steven Iacobellis.  The Minutemen would keep the pressure on and Ivan Chukarov would score his 3rd goal of the season, assisted by Kurt Keats and Ray Pigozzi.  The assist was Pigozzi’s 9th point in the last 8 games.

That would be it though as the last period charge would start too late for the Minutemen and the 4-2 score would be the final.  UMass would hold a 20-9 shot on goal advantage in the third period but only managed the two goals and still ended up being outshot 42-32 on the game.  The 38 saves was a career high for Wakaluk who kept the game from being a total blowout early on when UMass struggled to get the puck out of their own zone.

In the opposing net former Minuteman Kevin Boyle improved his record to 4-1-1 against his former team with a 1.83 goals against average and .933 save percentage.  The mistakes made by John Micheletto during his four years at UMass are plentiful but cutting Boyle is certainly the most conspicuous.  There’s still a chance that Boyle can improve upon his numbers against the Minutemen as the teams could end up being a first round matchup in the Hockey East playoffs.  Speaking of which, Maine’s win Saturday means that the only way UMass can stay out of the league cellar again would be if they sweep #5 Providence this weekend while New Hampshire sweeps UConn.  An unlikely scenario.

At this point it feels like we’re just waiting.  Waiting for next weekend’s regular season finale.  Waiting for the Hockey East playoffs to come and go.  And then waiting to see what the athletic department’s next step is for the program.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Shane Walsh
In addition to the goal to breakup Boyle’s shutout Walsh accounted for nearly 1/4th of UMass’ shots on the night.  Walsh’s scoring pace has slowed over the last month with Friday’s goal just his second in the last 10 games.  But hopefully the goal will be the beginning of a hot streak for him as he plays his final games in the maroon and white. 

Game story from the Collegian.

Recap from USCHO.

The Lowell Sun notes that with the win the River Hawks have won 20 games for the last five seasons straight.  With their loss the Minutemen have now lost 20 games for the last three years in a row.

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4 Comments

  1. Riverchief

     /  February 21, 2016

    This is from the UML season thread on USCHO message board which by the way, something UMass fans should be on, creating their own threads. Hiding on that private UMass Hoops hockey thread where the same 3-4 fans whine to each other doesn’t help build a visible fan base in the larger college hockey world.

    It was Marty Meehan night and this is what one Lowell fan caught when listening to an intermission interview with him on the UML broadcast –

    “Basically that he (Meehan) has been trying to get Amherst’s decision makers to come to a game at the Tsongas so they can see what investing in a hockey program can do. Pointed out that he still gets reports after every home game with attendance/gate figures as well as the merch/food sales. Pointed out to Bob we lead the league in attendance. Basically made a big point of wanting to see UMA compete. According to Bob later in the broadcast, off air Marty was surprised Amherst was still in the game by the end of the third.”

    Seems that Amherst athletic department may indeed be tone deaf as to what it takes to jum start things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting. Glad college hockey has a supporter in the president’s office. Thanks for passing along.

      Like

    • Very interesting comments. I would think Bamford would be open to going to UML, especially if invited by the University President. Encouraging that Marty actually cares about the UMass hockey program.

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  2. RDW

     /  February 26, 2016

    The AD and staff seem to be too busy on social media, congratulating each other for silly reasons. Meanwhile they should be kissing babies and pressing the flesh. #notgettingitdone

    Like

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