Alaska Anchorage stuns #13 UMass Lowell, 4-2

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It has been nearly twenty years since the UMass Lowell River Hawks (10-7-1) and Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (3-12-0) played a hockey game against each other. On Friday night, they met for the fourth time in Lowell, with the River Hawks holding a 2-1-0 lead. Overall, in ten games played, the series between the two is tied at 5-5-0. This was the third game that the Seawolves have played against a ranked team. The previous two were a split with Western Michigan back at the beginning of October. The Seawolves were looking to capture their first win in the month of December vs a division one team having lost four straight to Alaska Fairbanks. The Seawolves have not played since December 17. The River Hawks have been off since December 9 when they defeated Dartmouth on the road in Hanover, NH 3-2.

 

The opening four minutes of the game featured a good pace by both teams. The best early-period chance came from the River Hawks, as Ryan Brushett off the right wing had a couple of close chances that were denied by Seawolves netminder Jared Whale. The first shot from Alaska Anchorage came off the stick of defensemen Carson Kosobud that was handled by River Hawk goalie Henry Welsch. The Seawolves were outscored 16-5 in the first period, Lowell added to that total as Owen Fowler scored his second of the season as he fired a wrist shot from the right point through a screen of players that found the back of the net. Assists went to Isac Jonsson and Ben Meehan at 6:52. 1-0 Lowell. After a Lowell powerplay that went nowhere, they stormed the net with a couple of great scoring chances that were denied by Whale. The teams would play 4-on-4 hockey with 5:29 left in the first, the best opportunity coming off a giveaway in the Lowell zone. Kosobud, with a wrist shot in the low slot, was stopped by Welsch. The Seawolves got a late-period powerplay as River Hawk Brushett went off for tripping at 17:38. Before the first twenty minutes would come to an end, the Seawolves would ring the post in an attempt to tie the game. However, Lowell would skate off with a 1-0 lead and outshot Alaska Anchorage by an 18-3 count.

 

The second period started with Alaska Anchorage going on the powerplay at the 56 seconds mark. Both teams had scoring opportunities as Seawolves Maximillion Helgeson in tight was stopped by Welsch. With 5 seconds left on the man advantage, Dylan Finlay (2nd of the season) found the back of the net as his wrist shot from the low left side beat Welsch to the glove side. The assists went to Jarred White and Derek Hamelin. The time of the PPG was 2:52 and the game was now tied at 1-1. Seawolves goalie, Whale, was at his best after the tying goal making two great stops on shots by Fornåå Svensson, Filip then a rebound chance as well. River Hawk left-winger Owen Cole had a nice rush on goal as he skated down the right wing only to be stopped at the net by Whale. At the halfway point of the game, Lowell was outshooting the Seawolves by a 26-6 margin. The River Hawks regained the lead as a point-blank shot by Gabe Blanchard was stopped by the follow-up shot by Brian Chambers from the side of the net on the left side to beat Whale for his 3rd of the season. Fowler picked up the second assist, his second point of the night at 12:27, 2-1 Lowell. Alaska Anchorage went on the power play late in the period. 47 seconds of it would carry over to the third. After two periods the River Hawks held a staggering 41-8 shot advantage on Alaska Anchorage.

 

The Seawolves began the third with a carry-over power play of 47 seconds. Lowell would kill it off and get back to even strength. The best hit of the night was delivered by River hawk defenseman Marek Korencik along the right wing boards on Conor Cole, a crushing hit that sent Cole to the ice. With 13:02 left in the game, the River Hawks maintained a 2-1 lead. Alaska Anchorage tied the game at 2-2 on a goal scored by William Gilson who beat Welsch to the five-hole from the right slot. Assists went to Helgeson and Connor Marritt at 8:31. This was now an eleven-minute hockey game. With 8:45 left the Seawolves took their first lead of the night on a beautiful goal scored by Brett Bamber from the left of the net. Assists were picked up by Ben Almquist who now has a point in three straight games (1G,3A), and Helgeson (second point of the night). The time of the goal was 11:15 and the Seawolves were up 3-2. Lowell would get a chance to tie the game on the power play as Seawolves center Matt Kinash was called for boarding at 16:08. Lowell would pull their goaltender during the power play. They kept the puck in the zone for the full two minutes but could not score. Alaska Anchorage would get some insurance as Helgeson added an empty net goal, his third point of the night. At 18:56 assists went to Almquist (2nd point of the game) and Marriott. Alaska Anchorage came to Tsongas Center and beat UMass Lowell 4-2 despite being outshot 54-12.

 

After the game head coach Norm Bazin said “not the outcome we were looking for” and was “not happy with much.” The defensive breakdowns in the third period were a problem, as well as Alaska Anchorage starting goalie Jared Whale who came into the game with a 5.38 GAA and a .875 save percentage being the first star of the game. A disappointing first game back from the break for sure Saturday afternoon. The River Hawks will get to end 2022 on a good note when game two of this weekend’s series takes place.

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John Doucette

John Doucette

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