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LOWELL, Mass. - Steve Capraro (Medford, MA) scored the game-winning goal at 3:25 into the first period on Friday night to defeat Providence College (10-19-2, 5-17-2 HE) in the Tsongas Center. Capraro's goal came with an added wrinkle--while it was his first game-winner, the score doubled as the first collegiate goal in his 103 game UMass Lowell career.
OTHER LINKS: Blaise MacDonald and Carter Hutton Postgame Audio
The River Hawks (17-14-2, 11-11-2 HE) picked up two valuable conference points in front of 4,348 fans to move into a four-way tie for fourth place in Hockey East.
With play centered in the Friar zone early on, Riley Wetmore (Swanton, VT) sent to the puck to Capraro at the blue line. Capraro passed it to the opposite boards and Barry Goers (Ivyland, PA) sent it right back. The senior defenseman reeled off a shot that found room up and to the right for his first career goal. The lone score of the opening period put UMass Lowell ahead 1-0 as they outshot Providence, 21-10. The River Hawk offense exploded in the second with three goals in 6:30 minutes as they outshot the Friars again, 17-8.
Scott Campbell (Navan, Ont.) led off the scores at 9:24 with his 12th goal of the season. Colin Wright (Burlington, Ont.) set up Chris Auger (Belleville, Ont.) for a near-side shot that was saved by Alex Beaudry (Cumberland, Ont.). The rebound rattled to the weak side for Campbell to knock in, extending UMass Lowell's lead to 2-0.
The trio scored again under similar circumstances. Campbell set the table for Wright on an odd-man rush. Beaudry made the stop on Wright's shot, but Auger was there to clean up the garbage. Auger's seventh goal of the season, at 11:13, put the River Hawks up by three.
The final score of the night came at 15:54 when Jonathan Maniff (Revere, MA) earned his first score of the season. Following a David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.) face-off win, Goers dished a pass behind the net for Maniff. The senior forward brought the puck around the post and beat Beaudry short-side for the score.
In a hard hat and lunch pale performance in net, Carter Hutton (Thunder Bay, Ont.) registered his 10th career shutout as he stonewalled all 30 of the Friars' shots. Hutton's efforts didn't go unnoticed as the media voted him as Hockey East's First Star of the Game while he improved to 11-10-0 on the campaign. Providence's Beaudry played the majority of the contest, stopping 34-of-38 shots to fall to 9-17-2 on the season. Justin Gates (Cranston, RI) and Ryan Simpson (Bow, NH) each saw time in net during the third period, making 13 saves combined to hold off the River Hawk attack.
UMass Lowell outshot the Friars 51-30 on the night. It marked the first time the River Hawks have registered 50 or more shots on net since March 4, 2004, a 3-3 tie against Merrimack.
The two programs will lace their skates up for a rematch tomorrow night. Providence will play host in the second night of the home-and-home series with the puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.