UMass Lowell

UNH Defeats UMass Lowell on Senior Night, 4-0

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It is always a special night when the seniors are honored for what they have done for a program. Such was the case on Friday night at Tsongas Center as seven members of the River Hawks (8-22-4, 4-14-3) team were honored before the puck drop for the first period. The River Hawks came into this contest having lost four in a row. For the season, UMass Lowell was 2-10-3 at home. On the road, the Wildcats (18-14-1, 11-11-1) are 5-10-0.

The starting goalies for Friday night’s game were Henry Welsch (5-11-4, 2.36 GAA, 911%) for UMass Lowell and for the Wildcats, it was Jakob Hellsten (12-11-1, 2.17GAA, 904%). It would take 3:10 for the game’s first goal to be scored. UNH forward Nick Cafarelli with his sixth of the year from Nick King. King intercepted a clearing pass inside the UMass Lowell zone and fired a slap pass from the left to the right side of the River Hawks net where Cafarelli redirected the pass past Welsch.

It would take the River Hawks fifteen minutes to get their first shot on goal. They spend most of the period in their own zone fighting off waves of UNH pressure. The Wildcats struck again at 18:11 of the period. Harrison Blaisdell got his 9th of the year from Robert Cronin and J.P. Turner. The River Hawks could not get the puck out of their zone and paid for it as Blaisdell tapped one into an empty net from the right side of the cage, 2-0 UNH. The horn sounded and the end of the period could not come fast enough for the River Hawks as they needed to regroup. Shots in the period were 12-4 UNH. The Wildcats were in complete control at this point.

The second period started at even strength. However, at the 1:47 mark, the Wildcats made it 3-0 as Ryan Conmy notched his 14th of the season. The goal was unassisted as he skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot by Welsch. At 2:21 the Wildcats made it 4-0 as Blaisdell scored his second of the night and his 10th of the year, the first multi-goal game of his career. The goal was assisted by Turner and Brendan Fitzgerald. It would end the night for Welsch as he was replaced by Luke Pavicich. There would be no more scoring in the second period. UNH went to the locker room with a 4-0 lead. The Wildcats were 13-1-0 when leading after two. The River Hawks were 0-12-1 when trailing after two. Could Friday night be the comeback of the year?

There would be no comeback from the River Hawks. The third period was more of a back-and-forth skating game. The best chance came from River Hawks forward Scout Truman who split a pair of Wildcats defenders and broke in alone only to be stopped by the pad of Hellsten. The period and game came to an end with UNH winning 4-0. Shots in the third were 6-3 UMass Lowell. For the game, 22-21 UNH.

Head coach Mike Souza liked the way his team “started on time.” He did not think it was a 4-0 game. It was a different tone from River Hawks head coach Norm Bazin, who said “Not the game we were looking for.” He had nothing good to say about his team’s effort on Friday night. He called the seven seniors who played their last game at Tsongas Center a “good group.” His overall statement about his team’s performance on Friday night was “good opponent, not enough will.”

On Saturday night, the teams will switch locations and head to the Whitmore Center for the rematch.

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