NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Despite allowing an early goal to start the period, the No. 10/12 UMass Lowell River Hawks bounced back and shut down the host and No. 17-ranked Merrimack College Warriors for the remainder of the third stanza en route to capturing the Hockey East season series between the teams with a 3-1 win on Sunday afternoon at J. Thom Lawler Arena.
Leading the way for UML - now in Hockey East's top standings spot with one weekend remaining - was junior Josh Holmstrom, who scored twice in the first period. Rookie teammate Greg Amlong scored his first-collegiate goal in the middle period.
The win improved the River Hawks to 21-9-2 on the season and was their seventh in a row over Top-20 ranked opponents, a Division I-era school record. According to UML alumnus and super fan Scott Kaplan, before Friday's 4-0 win, Lowell had never captured multiple win streaks of six or more games in the same season since moving to D-I.
The Warriors wasted no time breaking UML freshman Connor Hellebuyck's shutout in the third period as junior Shawn Bates redeemed himself from missing a golden chance at the close of the second just 22 seconds in. Hellebuyck recovered and maintained a clean sheet for the remainder of the stanza, finishing the outing with 31 saves and earning his 13th consecutive win over 14 appearances this season.
Also of note in the contest was the fact that Merrimack junior Mike Collins was held off the point column for the third time in as many games against the River Hawks his season and fourth time in Merrimack's last five games.
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.