As an appetizer ahead of the big game on Sunday night, The Maine Black Bears (13-13-3, 7-9-2 in HE) and the UMass Lowell River Hawks (15-10-3, 9-6-3) played some college hockey on Sunday afternoon. The middle of the Hockey East standings is starting to get bunched up, which made Sunday afternoon’s game at Tsongas Center more important for both teams. The Black Bears arrived in Lowell off a 3-1 victory over Boston College on Friday night. With six games left in the regular season, they are looking to continue to move up in the standings. The River Hawks have had a week to digest last weekend’s tie to BC then a loss to UNH last Saturday night. With results from other games this weekend, UMass Lowell is still in a position to get a bye from playing in the opening round of the Hockey East tournament. Their defense has stepped it up of late. They boast the nation’s seventh-best and the league-best scoring defense. They also have the third-best goals against in the country at 2.19 as they have allowed 59 goals in 27 games.
The starting goalies for the Sunday afternoon game were, Victor Ostman for the Black Bears his 23rd start of the season and for the River Hawks, Henry Welsch made his 13th start of the season. It would take all of 3:27 seconds for the game’s first goal to be scored. Owen Cole picked up his third of the season putting in a rebound of a Marek Korencik shot that hit the post on the left side. Zack Kaiser also assisted on the goal. The River Hawks had a 1-0 lead. After some buzzing around the Maine net, the Black Bears tied the game up at the 6:35 mark as Lyden Breen put home his 16th of the year as he stuffed the puck between the legs of Welsch. The assist on the tying goal went to Thomas Freel. That tied the game at 1-1. After seeing two goals scored in the first six-plus minutes, the game settled down through the middle stages of the period. Maine received the game’s first power play as River Hawks Mitchell Becker went off for interference at 11:11. Lowell killed off the man advantage and the game continued. The River Hawks applied some pressure as the period came to an end Shots on goal for the period were 8-6 Lowell. The Black Bears, when tied after one, are 2-1-3, the River Hawks are 8-3-0.
The teams began the second period at even strength. Through the first five minutes of the second, the Black Bears had the better of the play. The River Hawks got some pressure on the Black Bears’ net curiosity of the Dyland Bentley line that attacked in the Maine zone with some good chances. The hitting picked up in the period as well with Lowell being more active in that area. The hitting by the River Hawks went a little too far as Cole went off for boarding at 13:20 of the period. Maine was on the power play for the second time in the game. Lowell’s best chance came with four minutes left as Fillip Fornaa Svensson redirected a pass on net that led to a goalmouth scramble that Maine’s goalie Ostman had to be sharp with to cover up the puck. Maine got their second power play of the period and third of the game as Korencik went off for boarding at 17:46. Welsch’s best stop of the game came as Breen, from the right side of the net, was stopped by a sliding pad from Welsch. As the penalty ended, Korencik came out of the box and skated down the right wing, and got off three shots that were all stopped by Ostman. The period ended still tied at 1-1. Lowell is 3-2-2 when tied after two, and Maine is 2-1-3.
The start of the third was an important period for both teams. Maine’s Thomas Freel rang one of the iron early in the period. Lowell’s first power play came as a result of the Black Bears having too many men on the ice at 5:23. The Black Bears had the best chance, a 2-on-1 that Welsch covered up. Welsch was tested again as Maine put two more shots on goal that needed his attention. Lowell went back on the power play at 10:36 as Felix Trudeau went off for slashing. The power play kill by the Black Bears was pretty simple and with over six minutes to go it was still anyone’s game. Welsch survived another near miss on a redirect. The River Hawks went back on the power play for the third time in the period as Nolan Renwick went off for boarding at 14:06. The Black Bears had a 2-on-1 chance Derick Henbrant came down the left wing only to be stopped by Welsch. The River Hawks had a faceoff in Maine’s zone off of an icing with 35 seconds left with nothing happening. They had another chance with 15 seconds left and after an official review, it was determined that the Jon Mcdonald wrap-around chance did not cross the goal line. With that the period came to a close and overtime was next.
In the overtime, a one-timer in the slot by Black Bears Henbrant was gloved by Welsch. Breem had a chance of a River Hawks mistake Welsch took care of it. His best stop of the game came in the final seconds as Maine had a 2-on-none with Donvan Villeneuve -Houle taking a cross-ice pass and being stopped by Welsch sliding from left to right. The game went to a shootout, with the River Hawks winning the shootout 2-0 on goals by Carl Berglund and Scout Truman. River Hawks win .. By winning the shootout the River Hawks get the extra point.
Maine’s head coach Ben Barr was: happy with the work ethic of his team on Sunday. Calling it “the best since Christmas.” He praised his penalty-killing unit for the job they did in the third period when they were called upon to kill three penalties in the period. Barr maintains his team is taking it day by day. The River Hawks head coach, Norm Bazin thought it was “a good hockey game” and wants to look at film before he grades his power play performance. He said, “it was tough to earn ice.” Bazin was happy with Welsch’s game in net, especially in overtime when the Black Bears had the better chances. Lowell now turns their attention to a home-and-home weekend with Providence Maine has the same with New Hampshire.
- ACC2023.03.23ACC Baseball News & Notes: Tight Early Season Division Races
- America East Conference2023.03.22America East Baseball News & Notes: Conference Play Has Begun
- College Hockey2023.03.21Boston University and Merrimack make the NCAA Hockey Tournament
- America East Conference2023.03.18America East Basketball Postseason News