UMass hockey drops second game of series against No. 11 UMass-Lowell

By Ross Gienieczko

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

In the second game of its home-and-home series against No. 11 UMass Lowell, the Massachusetts hockey team suffered a decisive defeat Saturday night at Tsongas Center, falling 5-0 to the River Hawks, giving UML (14-4-4, 9-2-3) the weekend sweep.

Gage Hough scored two goals to lead the River Hawks offensively, while goaltender Kevin Doyle made 18 saves earning the shutout.

Saturday’s loss for UMass (7-12-4, 2-7-4 HEA) marked its fourth straight. Prior to its 2-1 (OT) win against Army Jan. 2, the Minutemen endured a five-game losing streak earlier this season.

UMass has now been outscored by a margin of 19-5 during the losing streak, with Saturday’s game leaving few bright spots for the Minutemen. UMass was outshot 38-18 on the evening on its way to being shut out for the third time this season.

“We weren’t good enough tonight,” Minutemen coach John Micheletto said bluntly after the game. “We blew coverage’s in our own zone and pucks ended up in the back of the net.”

Nic Renyard started in goal for UMass making 33 saves, but his record fell to 4-8-4 on the season.

The River Hawks took control of the game early on thanks to a shorthanded goal from C.J. Smith at four minutes, 30 seconds of the first period. Halfway through the opening frame, Ryan Collins scored to give UML a 2-0 advantage, with Smith and Joe Gambardella getting credit for assists on the play.

Late in the second period, Hough scored his first goal of the night to give the River Hawks a 3-0 lead with, Hough and A.J. White scoring goals just 2:03 apart to give UML a commanding 5-0 advantage less than five minutes into the third period.

“The score was indicative of the fact that they buried their chances, and we didn’t,” Micheletto said.

The Minutemen were once again without some of their top offensive and defensive players, as first-line center Dennis Kravchenko was out as well as defenseman William Lagesson. In addition to Lagesson, defensemen Marc Hetnik and Carmine Buono also missed the game with injuries. After the contest, Micheletto said that all injured players are currently considered day-to-day with the exception of Lagesson, whom he said could miss an extended period of time.

“It hurts not having them in our lineup, but nobody in Hockey East is going to have pity on us,” Micheletto said.

With the pair of losses against the River Hawks, the Minutemen are now just 2-7-4 in Hockey East play, leaving them tied for eighth place in the conference with New Hampshire and Vermont. When asked if the lost weekend affected Micheletto’s expectations for the team for the rest of the season, he replied that they were taking things day-by-day and game-by-game.

UMass’s next game will be Friday night against No. 4 Boston College, and the Minutemen will be looking to play spoilers to history. Eagles head coach Jerry York is sitting at 999 wins in his collegiate career heading into the matchup.

Puck drop for the game is set for 7 p.m.

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RossGien.