LOWELL, Mass. -- Good evening and welcome inside Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell where, on this Friday night, the No. 7 River Hawks open their 50th season against No. 5 Minnesota Duluth. Faceoff for the first half of a two-game weekend series is set for 7:15 p.m.
Both teams return nine of their top 12 scorers this season, but neither side has a starting goaltender with more than two games of collegiate experience after UML's Kevin Boyle graduated and Duluth's Kasimir Kaskisuo signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In Lowell's case, junior C.J. Smith and senior Joe Gambardella were top scorers a year ago, combining for 76 points, and senior Dylan Zink paced the defense corps with 11 of his 24 points going for goals. Junior John Edwardh led the way with a goal and two assists in Sunday's 7-0 exhibition win over Prince Edward Island, a game in which seven different River Hawks found the back of the net.
All three of UMD's netminders are freshmen, and it was Hunter Miska who earned the start in both games against Michigan Tech last weekend. The Bulldogs swept their season-opening series with 6-0 and 4-3 wins, thanks to offensive contributions from 18 different players. Second-year defenseman Neil Pionk posted a three-point series, while senior Kyle Osterberg was the only Bulldog to score twice.
Here are tonight's lines:
Kyle Osterberg - Dominic Toninato - Karson Kuhlman
Alex Iafallo - Adam Johnson - Billy Exell
Jade Miller - Jared Thomas - Joey Anderson
Blake Young - Sammy Spurrell - Will Campion
Carson Soucy - Willie Raskob
Neal Pionk - Brenden Kotyk
Nick Wolff - Dan Molenaar
RIVER HAWKS (0-0-0)
Connor Wilson - Nick Master - Jake Kamrass
C.J. Smith - Joe Gambardella - John Edwardh
Ryan Dmowski - Ryan Lohin - Chris Forney
Guillaume Leclerc - Evan Campbell - Kenny Hausinger
Mattias Goransson - Tyler Mueller
Dylan Zink - Michael Kapla
Tommy Panico - Niklas Folin