UMass hockey falls to UMass Lowell in 8-3 blowout

By Amin Touri


(Caroline O’Connor/ Daily Collegian)

A poor post-winter break start continued for the Massachusetts hockey team on Saturday, as the Minutemen took an 8-3 beating at UMass Lowell to open the new year 0-2.

The River Hawks (12-9-0, 8-6-0 Hockey East Association) rode a five-goal third period to a blowout win over a UMass (9-9-0, 3-5-0 HEA) team that couldn’t keep the puck out of the net late.

“Very ugly score,” said UMass coach Greg Carvel. “Maybe not as ugly a game as the score [suggests]. They’re a more mature, heavier team than we are. We’re a young team, and I’m sure I’m going to mark this up as growing pains, but the big boys taught the little boys how to play hockey tonight.”

The Minutemen stumbled out of the gates at Tsongas Center, as a bad turnover left UML senior John Edwardh on the breakaway, and a slick forehand-backhand deke left goaltender Ryan Wischow sprawling and put the hosts up 1-0 less than five minutes in.

The River Hawks doubled their lead seven minutes later, when Tyler Mueller unloaded a one-timer over Wischow’s left shoulder on the power play to make it 2-0 at 11:17 of the first.

UMass pulled one back before the end of the first, as Jake Horton’s slapper took a fortunate bounce off of Niko Hildenbrand’s hip and past UML goalie Chris Hernberg to make it 2-1 after one.

Halfway through the second, Minuteman center Philip Lagunov buried a rebound to tie it up at two-all, his first career goal coming amidst a dominant second-period stretch for UMass.

The Minutemen didn’t capitalize on the rest of their chances in the middle frame, and a UML goal off the faceoff with just 30 seconds to play radically shifted the momentum heading into the final period.

“We got off to a slow start,” Carvel said, “which was unfortunate because we tried to focus on exactly how Lowell was going to attempt to spring out of the d-zone and then they scored a power play goal. So we shot ourselves in the foot early on, found a way to scratch back, and then the goal at the end of the second period was a momentum-changer to say the least.”

The River Hawks quickly made it 4-2 just over 90 seconds into the third, as UMass got too aggressive on the power play and got caught out on the rush—UML sophomore Ryan Lohin ripped one short-side on Wischow for a shorthanded tally.

“[We] came out at the beginning of the third period on the power play and they scored a shorthanded goal,” said Carvel. “So we did a good job of hurting ourselves tonight.”

Things got ugly from there. Chris Schutz fired a one-timer past Wischow from the left dot to make it 5-2, and after UMass freshman Mitchell Chaffee briefly stopped the bleeding with a power play goal halfway through the third, the River Hawks poured it on with three more goals to complete the 8-3 drubbing.

Six goals were charged to Wischow on 20 shots, and though he was far from perfect between the pipes, he wasn’t the calamity that the final line may suggest.

“It’s tough when we give up breakaways and 2-on-1s,” said Horton. “It’s difficult for [Wischow] to make those saves and for us to rely on him to make those saves. It’s unacceptable that we’re giving up a breakaway within the first [five minutes] of the game. That Lowell team plays very well up and down the ice and they’re good at finding their guys flying through the middle so it’s something we got to learn from and prepare for the next time we play.”

The Minutemen outshot their opponents, 29-22, but poor finishing in the offensive zone and poor play on the back end kept them from keeping things competitive, turned the final 20 minutes into a walkover.

“We’re still trying to teach our kids how focused you have to be,” Carvel said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids, and for the most they do most things right, but it doesn’t take long for things to turn, and I thought that was the case a lot tonight. We’re young, we’re trying to learn, and we’ll get better.”

UMass returns to action with a pair at Vermont next weekend, a road trip that will likely see the return of star defenseman Cale Makar, who missed the last two games as he represented Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championships.


Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.