Hockey East: UMass-Lowell holds off New Hampshire's surge


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No. 6 UMass-Lowell jumped to a 2-0 lead with only 10:16 gone in the game, but the River Hawks had to hold their breath until the final whistle, edging New Hampshire, 2-1, at the Whittemore Center on Friday.

“We had it going for the first 10 minutes,” said Lowell coach Norm Bazin, “but then they pushed back and it doesn’t help very much if you go into dormant mode after that.”

UNH coach Dick Umile agreed with his rival, but obviously he saw things from a different perspective.

“After that first five minutes I thought we played as well as we can,” he said.

Both teams have aspirations for the second half of the Hockey East season.  Lowell is 7-3-1 in Hockey East, while  New Hampshire is 5-3-1. The league tournament at the TD Bank Garden in Boston is their main goal.

Both teams show talent, but how they utilize it is different.

Lowell is well organized, with a useful goaltender, a formal defensive structure and a defensive breakout that is perhaps second to none. The River Hawks will rarely win a game with flash and dazzle.  Goaltender Tyler Wall is hardly spectacular, almost like a “wall” you might say.

On the other hand, UNH relies more on outright speed and finesse and is willing to throw its entire effort at attacking the goal. Wildcats goaltender Danny Tirone is  athletic and can make saves that leave everyone shaking their head.

Lowell opened the scoring at 4:16 of the first with John Edwardh’s 10th of the season, a simple in-close maneuver that Tirone had no chance on.  Their final goal at 10:16 of the same period came from a shot from the point by Dylan Zink which pinballed off players from both teams, apparently nicking teammate Jake Kamrass who was given credit for the goal.

From there UNH came back revitalized and as Bazin said, his team “didn’t match their urgency.

“Maybe we didn’t have enough gas in the tank,” Bazin said.  “After all, this was our fourth game in seven days. We were definitely embarrassed by what our second period looked like.”

New Hampshire, with more dazzle and pizzazz to its usual game, looked to its big scorers to get it back into the game, but Tyler Kelleher (14 goals), Patrick Grasso (11 goals) and Jason Salvaggio (11 goals) came up empty.

“Our big scorers had chances, but they just didn’t score,” Umile said.

The one who did score for UNH was Brendan van Riemsdyk, his third of the season.  Van Riemsdyk, brother of NHLers and UNH alums, James (Toronto) and Trevor (Chicago), had a team-high seven shots on goal.  The one that went in, at 7:07 of the second, was a tip off a point shot from Nick Nonis that bounced around in front, first off Grasso and then van Riemsdyk.

UNH couldn’t get any closer however, despite outshooting Lowell 23-11 over the last two periods (34-23 for the game.)

So the River Hawks extended their winning streak to six games and got two league points in an away game, and junior winger C.J. Smith’s assist on Kamrass’s second-period goal was the 100th career point of his career.  He joined linemate Joe Gambardella in that category.  Gambardella scored his 100th just a month ago vs. Merrimack.

“We are really proud of that” Bazin said.  “Two guys with 100 career points playing on the same line, that is a good testimony for our program.”

No. 12 Notre Dame 3, Michigan Tech 1

Jack Jenkins and Joe Wegwerth scored goals 5:56 apart midway through the third period to lift the Irish to their fifth consecutive win at South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame’s Cal Petersen made 27 saves.

U.S. Under-18 6, at Maine 2

Maine gave up two quick goals and then couldn’t catch the U.S. Under 18 team in an exhibition at Orono, ME.  Grant Mismash had a hat trick for the U.S. team.