Senior linemates Mark Concannon and Steve Slonina each tallied a goal and an assist to help pace Mass.-Lowell past Clarkson Saturday evening 3-0 in a non-conference matchup in front of 1,914 fans at the Tsongas Arena.
“It feels good to get some points finally,” said Concannon. “I’ve got two great linemates in Slonina and Elias Godoy. They make it easy for me out there. They work hard down low, and they get me the puck.”
The win gives the River Hawks a weekend sweep over the North Country duo of Clarkson and St. Lawrence for only the fifth time in the program’s history.
Clarkson held the early momentum, however the River Hawks rebuffed the offensive surge. Both teams generated quality opportunities, and the closest either team came to scoring was freshman Bobby Robins’ shot that sailed just over the crossbar on an open net off a rebound opportunity. The two teams entered the locker room scoreless, with UML out-shooting Clarkson 7-5.
Patience paid off for UML. The River Hawks broke the scoreless tie when senior captain Ed McGrane lit the lamp at 9:16. McGrane took a feed from the right corner, and although senior goaltender Mike Walsh made the initial save, McGrane was able to squeeze the puck into the net on his second attempt for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
The River Hawks increased their lead to two just over three minutes later with Concannon’s second goal of the weekend and third in the last four games. Concannon took a feed from classmate Slonina and sent it to the back of the net at 12:32. UML took its two-goal advantage into the locker room, having out shot the Golden Knights 16-8 in the period.
UML closed out the scoring at 11:20 in the third on a marker by Slonina. Slonina collected the puck in his own zone and fed it to Concannon at the Clarkson blue line. Concannon skated in from the left and fired a shot that Walsh came out of the net to challenge. Walsh could not control the rebound, and with him down Slonina made his opportunity on the open net count.
“It’s always good to get two big wins against two good opponents,” said head coach Blaise MacDonald on the weekend sweep. “We got better as the game went on. We were disciplined, and we played well down low at both ends of the rink. It’s good to see Mark Concannon get some rewards for his efforts. Chris Davidson got better as the game went on as well. He made the saves he had to down the stretch.”
Sophomore Chris Davidson picked up his first shutout of the season and second career, stopping 18 shots, while Walsh made 31 saves in net for the Golden Knights. There were few power-play opportunities in the game, with UML going 0-for-2 with its opportunities and Clarkson having no man-advantages.
“We didn’t play very well, it’s a good thing we don’t play in Hockey East,” said interim head coach Fred Parker. “We didn’t compete at all. They out-competed us everywhere on the ice. We competed fairly well in the first period and in the second we took the period off and lost the game.
“We’ve got three goals in the last three games. We need someone to step up and score a goal at some point.”
Next week Clarkson (4-8-1, 2-2-1 ECAC) travels to the Corel Centre in Ottawa, Ont., to take on fellow ECAC member Colgate in the first ever College Hockey Showcase in Canada on December 14, while UMass Lowell (6-8-0, 0-7-0 HE) breaks for three weeks before taking on Vermont at the Auld Lang Syne Classic hosted by Dartmouth on December 28 and 29.