No. 15/15 River Hawks Drop 3-1 Decision to Miami (OH)

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LOWELL, Mass.—The No. 15/15 UMass Lowell men’s hockey team (1-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) faced a 3-1 setback against Miami University (2-0-1, 0-0-0 NCHC) Friday night at the Tsongas Center in its first of the two-game series.
Senior Blake Wells (Blackie, Alberta) scored the lone goal of the night to avoid the shutout. Freshman Scout Truman (Lethbridge, Ontario) and graduate student Jon McDonald (Livonia, Mich.) were each credited with an assist on the extra-attacker goal. Junior Henry Welsch (Lakeville, Minn.) made his season debut between the pipes making 26 saves.
“I’d like to start by saying Miami played a good road game. They deserved to win tonight,” said Head Coach Norm Bazin. “I felt this game was one of missed opportunities on our part. We started off with a good effort but too little execution. We had two to three golden chances in the 2nd period to get back into the game, but it didn’t happen. We showed some urgency late, but it was too little too late.”
The RedHawks applied pressure early, forcing UMass Lowell to start the period on defense. Fighting in the neutral zone to regain momentum, the River Hawks attack came to life after back-to-back power plays let UMass Lowell take up residence in the zone.
Faceoffs favored the home team through the first 20 minutes with UMass Lowell controlling 14 to the RedHawks’ 7. The success at the dot translated to high offensive production for the River Hawks as they headed into the break with 10 shots on goal to Miami’s seven.
UMass Lowell pushed the pace coming out of the first break with several grade-A chances off the sticks of junior Brehdan Engum (Burnsville, Minn.) and seniors Ryan Brushett (Montreal, Quebec) and Carl Berglund (Hammaro, Sweden) through the first stretch of the frame. Sophomore Owen Cole (Dunnville, Ontario) nearly broke the scoring drought with a quick stick from close range, but the puck pinged off the pipe to deny the shot.
Despite the River Hawks’ relentless pursuit of first blood, Miami struck first in the non-conference tilt. A battle behind the Miami goal forced senior Brian Chambers (Weymouth, Mass.) to go head-to-head with three RedHawks as they fought for possession along the boards. After the puck flew loose into the neutral zone, senior Marek Korencik (Zilina, Sweden) chased the play down, but Miami stretched for the touch as Joe Cassetti pushed a pass to Max Dukovac. The freshman then sent a cross-ice look to Artur Turanksy, who scored off a one-timer past the blocker of Welsch.
Miami’s forecheck forced the puck back into the River Hawks’ zone minutes later. Intercepting a dump pass along the boards, RedHawks’ Nick Donato flung a centering pass to Cassetti who tipped the puck in for the 2-0 lead.
Berglund looked to close in on the RedHawks’ lead in the waning minutes of the second with a breakaway chance. Despite the close call, Miami’s Ludvig Persson shut down the captain to keep the score stuck at 2-0 heading into the third period.
The third period was marked by gritty defense as the River Hawks’ efforts intensified on both ends of the ice. Sophomore Isac Jonsson (Ängelholm, Sweden) and Engum both played critical roles in UMass Lowell’s third-period efforts, registering a team-high three blocked shots each. Junior Ben Meehan (Walpole, Mass.) and McDonald were solid net-front presences with two blocks apiece and several well-timed physical plays in the neutral zone.
With their window of opportunity quickly closing, the River Hawks pulled Welsch in favor of the extra attacker. Putting the puck deep into the zone, McDonald and Truman connected as Wells set up the screen in front of Persson. With 40 seconds left, Truman fired the puck on net and allowed Wells to make contact and redirect the shot past Persson into the back of the cage. The pressure came too late for UMass Lowell, however, as Miami held off the comeback to take the 3-1 win.
“We weren’t able to hit on our keys for today’s game starting with special teams. We have several areas to improve, as is customary at this time of the year. We’ll look at some video so we can look to be better tomorrow,” commented Bazin.
The River Hawks will look to split the series with the RedHawks tomorrow night. Puck drop is set for 6:05 p.m.

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