BOSTON -- While UMass Lowell’s offense is one of the best in Hockey East this season, it won’t blow any team away in terms of shots on goal.
Friday night at Matthews Arena, that was true.
The River Hawks did just enough to snap a four-game losing streak, scoring three times in the third period en route to a 6-4 decision over Northeastern. They earned a victory while recording just 26 shots on goal, only five of which came in the first period.
“A very emotional contest,” said UML head coach Norm Bazin after his club improved to 16-9-3 on the season and 8-7-1 in Hockey East play. “I thought it was a back-and-forth game and a lot of plays made. It’s obviously nice to be on the winning end for a change here. Our guys have worked hard.”
The Huskies could not have asked for a much better start, scoring two consecutive goals in the first period while holding the opposition to zero offense for nearly 15 minutes.
Sophomore Adam Gaudette gave the Huskies an early lead with his sixth goal in as many games and 16th of the season at the 9:27 lead. Junior linemate Dylan Sikura sent a backhand drop pass from the right circle to a charging Gaudette in the slot for an easy wrist shot.
Matt Filipe doubled NU’s lead at the 11:57 mark as senior Zach Aston-Reese slid a centering pass across the crease that hit the freshman winger from Lynnfield, Mass., in the skate at the net front and bounced past Lowell freshman goaltender Tyler Wall.
“I thought our first period was the best period of the game,” Huskies head coach Jim Madigan said. “We stayed above the puck and got some chances on their goalie. In the second period, they had us on our heels and we turned pucks over.”
Despite a strong start for the hosts, Lowell bounced back in the latter half of the period and cut its deficit in half before the first intermission, at 18:02. Senior defenseman Dylan Zink scored the goal, moving into open space on the left side to follow up partner Michael Kapla’s initial shot with an easy rebound finish.
Gaudette helped the Huskies seize momentum back with another power-play goal just 1:05 into the middle frame, pumping a one-timer past Wall off a feed from freshman defenseman Jeremy Davies. At 2:30, C.J. Smith did the same to bring the River Hawks within one, depositing Kapla’s second assist of the night past NU sophomore Ryan Ruck, who finished with 20 saves.
The River Hawks continued to surge, scoring once more in a period over which they held an 11-4 shot advantage to knot the score at 3-3. Junior Jake Kamrass netted his tenth goal of the season at the 18:05 mark, corralling a rebound in front of Ruck after classmate John Edwardh picked off a defender.
“I didn’t think we played that poorly in the first, but we just didn’t get anything to the net,” Bazin said. “We had the puck, but we had to somehow get it to the net. In the second, it started developing where the guys suddenly had puck possession, and kept it, and in the third it obviously continued.”
It continued, inceed. Sophomore Connor Wilson gave Lowell its first lead of the game as freshman blueliner Mattias Goransson fed a pass to the left crease with 11:11 to play.
Filipe scored his second goal of the game and seventh this season off Sikura’s initial shot at 10:30, but that was as close as the hosts would come as sophomore Ryan Dmowski and freshman Kenny Hausinger each scored their sixth goals of the season to win it for Lowell.
Dmowski’s winning goal came at the 14:11 mark as junior Tommy Panico hit him with a pass in the high slot after saving a loose puck in the offensive zone, while Hausinger finished an empty-net strike from beyond center ice with 45 seconds left.
The start was good for NU, but things unraveled in the final frame. Now, it’s onto TD Garden.
“We helped in delivering it for them on a platter there in the third period with how we played defensively,” Madigan said. “So, the most asked question since ‘Who Shot J.R?’ is ‘How are you going to do in the Beanpot?’ Now, we’re going to answer the question because it’s right around the corner, it’s Monday.”