UMass draws UMass Lowell 4-4 in first game of rivalry series

The Minutemen lose shootout and crucial Hockey East point

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Nina Walat/ Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

LOWELL — The Massachusetts hockey team started off its rivalry series against UMass Lowell by playing from behind the River Hawks (8-2-3, 6-1-1 Hockey East) on the scoreboard, but were trying to make up for it with physicality throughout the game.

The Minutemen (7-4-2, 5-2-2 HEA) could not get a shot on goal until six minutes into the first period by Lucas Mercuri, but UMass Lowell goalkeeper Owen Savory came up with the save.

The second power play of the night for UMass was called on the Riverhawk’s Jordan Schulting for holding was not dominant. The Riverhawks were continuously keeping possession and were getting shots on Matt Murray.  The Minutemen only had one shot during the power play from Aaron Bohlinger that went wide.

Though the Riverhawks dominated the first period in many ways, Ryan Lautenbach scored on a 2-on-1 to give the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.

The second period started off strong for UMass when Scott Morrow slapped the puck past Savory to make a 2-0 lead for the Minutemen. Penalties were the story of the second period however, and what caused the game to slip away from UMass’ control.

“I thought we came out and played great the first five minutes, first couple minutes I don’t think they got the puck out of the zone,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said about the second period.

A little over one minute after the Morrow goal, Taylor Makar was whistled for interference to put the Minutemen on the penalty kill. Not much came from the penalty; the Riverhawks only had one shot by Brian Chambers on goal that was saved by Murray.

With nine minutes on the clock, Connor Sodergren and Ben Meehan worked together to get the puck to Matt Allen past all members of the fourth line. Allen tapped the puck past Murray to slim the lead down to 2-1.

Later in the second, UMass Lowell’s Andre Lee crosschecked Bobby Trivigno and Mercuri came to his defense by pushing Lee down. Lee was whistled for crosschecking, but Trivigno and Mercuri were also whistled for roughing, on top of Trivigno’s embellishment call.

“I got two penalties so it’s on me,” Trivigno said. “They shouldn’t have scored those two power play goals. I basically gave it to them.”

The Minutemen were put in a rough situation being tasked with a 5-on-3. Carvel looked to his veteran players to guide the Minutemen into having a chance to kill the penalty. Anthony Del Gaizo took the faceoff with Kessel and Colin Felix behind him.

Del Gaizo lost the faceoff and with fifteen seconds gone in the penalty kill, Reid Stefanson scored to make a tie game.

“The second goal, it’s a nice play by them, but it’s a breakdown by us,” Carvel said. “At least three of [Lowell’s goals] were tap-ins, I guess all of them were tap-ins in the back post and those drive me nuts. If those are going in, that’s on us, that’s absolutely on us.”

Mercuri was sent out of the box, but Trivigno still had a 1:45 left on his penalty. While the Minutemen were still shorthanded, Matt Crasa shot the puck past Murray to give the Riverhawks a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

“I thought we came out and played great the first five minutes, first couple minutes I don’t think they got the puck out of the zone,” Carvel said about the second period.

With a little over two minutes into the third period Morrow passed it to Ryan Ufko who attempted a shot on net but came up empty. As Savory attempted to cover the puck, Del Gaizo put the puck in the net to tie the game 3-3.

Eight minutes left in the third period Matt Crasa caught a rebound off Murray’s pads to get the puck in net to give UMass Lowell the lead again. Not long after with less than two minutes left in the period, Del Gaizo scored a second goal to tie the game and force overtime.

UMass dominated overtime getting six shots off but was ultimately unsuccessful converting them and were sent to a shootout. Reed Lebster, Mercuri and Morrow could not convert their breakaways, and watched Carl Berglund score his attempt to give UMass Lowell the extra point in HEA standings.

The Minutemen will travel back home to Mullins Center for the second game of the series on Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @kaygregoire.