Lowell, Mass.- Norm Bazin saw some things he liked and some things his team needs to work on in UMass-Lowell's season opening exhibition outing against McGill University.
The River Hawks skated to a 3-3 tie with the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) team from Montreal who was playing in its fifth game of the season.
Freshman Evan Campbell, sophomore Greg Amlong and junior Scott Wilson scored the three goals for the River Hawks who had to battle back from three separate one-goal deficits.
Senior Doug Carr got the start in goal giving up two goals on 10 shots while sophomore Connor Hellebuyck came on in relief as planned. The Winnipeg Jets prospect who was so instrumental in last year's run of success stopped 12 of 13 shots he faced.
Bazin said he'd have to watch the tape to have more insight, but was generally impressed with the play of his freshmen. "What impressed me is they remained calm even when down a goal," said the third year head coach.
Chris Mannicia showed a burst of speed and Campbell really showed his offensive creativity on more than one occasion. Rookie defensemen Michael Kapla and Dylan Zink also looked poised on the blueline.
"It's always nice to chip in," said Campbell. "Next weekend the real thing starts and hopefully I can keep it going," added the freshman whose NHL rights are owned by the Edmonton Oilers.
McGill coach Kelly Nobes said his goal is always to schedule the best possible opponents for his team's nonconference slate. "I want our team to be best prepared for our conference games by playing the best," said the fourth-year coach.
"They're a good skating team and they really work hard out there," said Nobes of his team's opposition on Saturday.
For as much talent as Scott Wilson has, he epitomizes the Lowell team. The Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick has consistently shown the willingness to drop down and block shots over his two-plus seasons in Lowell. The Oakville, Ont. native went down and made a key block late in the third period on Saturday. As Bazin said last March, "When you have your best players willing to block shots, the rest of the team will follow."
Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.