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The eighth-ranked UMass Lowell River Hawks (9-5-1, 5-4-1 HE) snapped a three game losing streak with a resounding 5-3 victory over interstate rival Massachusetts (9-5-1, 5-4-1 HE) on Saturday night in the Tsongas Arena. David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.) recorded his first career hat-trick in front of a crowd of 3,457 fans.
The game didn't start in the River Hawks favor as the Minutemen squeezed in the evening's first goal with only six seconds left in the opening period. On the power play, Will Ortiz (Framingham, MA) put in a shot from Michael Lecomte (St. Hyacinthe, Que.) and Danny Hobbs (Shawville, Que.).
Massachusetts got another score to take a two-goal lead, five minutes into the second. Casey Wellman (Brentwood, CA) beat Nevin Hamilton (Ashland, MA) to put UMass Lowell's back against the wall.
The River Hawks answered with a big-time score by senior Jeremy Dehner (Madison, WI) only a minute and a half later. On the power play, Dehner and Nick Schaus (Buffalo, NY) passed the puck back-and-forth at the point before Dehner ripped a shot over Paul Dainton's (Genelle, B.C.) left shoulder.
UMass Lowell tied the game up at the second period's midpoint on the first of Vallorani's three goals. Joe Caveney (Fitchburg, MA) sent the puck up to Maury Edwards (Rocky Rapids, Alta.) on the near boards. Edwards centered the puck for Vallorani who got off a quick shot that beat Dainton five-hole.
The River Hawks scored again with just over two minutes left in the middle stanza on a goal by Paul Worthington (Langhorne, MA). Schaus passed to Michael Budd (Burlington, Ont.) who took a shot a few feet from the net. Dainton made the save, but the rebound kicked to Worthington for the hard-nosed score, giving UMass Lowell a 3-2 lead.
The Minutemen evened the game back up early in the third period on a score by Michael Marcou (Kings Park, NY) from T.J. Syner (Springfield, MA).
The River Hawks earned the game winner at the 13:16 mark in the final stanza, the second goal of the night by Vallorani. While lying down on the ice, Michael Scheu (Buffalo, NY) slid a pass to Vallorani for the quick-strike to give UMass Lowell the 4-3 lead.
Vallorani picked up the final goal off of a face off in the River Hawks' own zone. Schaus sent the puck around the back side of the net and Scheu tipped it up ice for Vallorani. The talented lefty ripped the shot past Dainton to seal the Minutemen's fate and give the sophomore his first career hat-trick.
UMass Lowell's Hamilton made 23 saves as he improved to 5-1-1 on the season. Massachusetts' Dainton stopped 33-of-38 shots as he fell to 7-5-0 in 2009-10. The River Hawks outshot the Minutemen 38-26 for the night.
Heading into the holiday break, UMass Lowell has only back-to-back home games with Princeton left next weekend.