UMass Lowell captured the Frozen Holiday Classic Championship with a 3-1 win over the University of Connecticut on Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. It was the fourth win in a row for the first place River Hawks who enter the second half of the Hockey East season as the only team undefeated in league play. The current four-game winning streak comes after Norm Bazin's team hit a little bit of a rough patch with a 1-2-1 record to close out the month of November.
Michael Colantone had a goal and an assist, including the game-winner in Sunday's game. Defenseman Dylan Zink scored his fifth of the season in the first period to get the River Hawks on the board. Colantone tallied his fifth of the season with 3:02 to play in the game. A.J. White added an empty net tally to make it 3-0 before UConn freshman Cody Sharib ruined goaltender Kevin Boyle's bid for a shutout with 13 seconds left on the clock.
Boyle, who has started all four games in the current winning streak, made 44 saves on the weekend while allowing just two goals. The River Hawks were 5-1 winners over Atlantic Hockey foe Sacred Heart in the semifinal. Freshman C.J. Smith lit the lamp twice in the win over the Pioneers. Zack Kamrass had a goal and an assist while Zink and Michael Fallon also found the back of the net.
UMass Lowell returns to action this upcoming weekend with another holiday tournament. Bazin's squad will face off against Rochester Institute of Technology in the opening round of the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis. Depending on Friday's results, UML will play the winner or loser of the second semifinal between Merrimack and Minnesota.
UConn advanced to the championship game with a 3-2 upset win over defending NCAA Champion Union. Sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols made 37 saves to secure the victory. Patrick Kirtland scored a first period goal for Mike Cavanaugh's team. Sharib scored a late second period goal to draw the Huskies even at 2-2. Freshman Spencer Naas' goal with 9:47 to play in the game proved to be the difference as the Huskies advanced. The Huskies return to the ice this Friday evening with a league game at struggling University of Massachusetts.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.