Sohomore defenseman Matt Irwin scores game-winner for Minutemen

Matt Irwin scored the game-winner for UMass

The #14/15 River Hawks (12-9-2, 6-6-2 HE) lost in the final minutes for the second consecutive night at the hands of #19 UMass Amherst (14-8-0, 9-6-0 HE) on Saturday in the Tsongas Arena. The Minutemen swept the home-and-home weekend series following a 3-2 win at the Mullins Center on Friday.

UMass Lowell looked to jump out to an early lead, but an official review reversed the River Hawks' score only 1:10 into the game. A pair of penalties had the teams skating four-on-four and Jeremy Dehner (Madison, WI) set up Chris Auger (Belleville, Ont.) with a cross-ice one-timer that seared past Paul Dainton (Genelle, B.C.). Upon review, it was deemed that David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.) had violated the crease and the goal was reversed.

Following the call, the game unfolded in eerily similar fashion to last night. UMass Amherst scored early in the first on a tic-tac-toe play close to the UMass Lowell net. Justin Braun (Vadnais Heights, MN) and Rocco Carzo (Media, PA) drew goaltender Carter Hutton (Thunder Bay, Ont.) to the near post before sending the puck back door. Marc Concannon (Everett, MA) crept in behind the defense and buried the pass for his first goal of the season.

Like the previous game, the River Hawks responded with a second period goal that knotted the score at 1-1. Auger sent a pass behind the net to Vallorani, who back-handed the puck to Patrick Cey (Saskatoon, Sask.) closing in at the far circle. Cey ripped the shot by Dainton for his first goal of the season at the 12 minute mark. The score was an exclamation mark on a middle stanza in which UMass Lowell outshot the Minutemen 10-2.

Mirroring Friday yet again, UMass Amherst pulled out the victory on a late score. The River Hawks found themselves backed against the wall after taking two penalties to set up a five-on-three Minutemen power play. Braun and James Marcou (Kings Park, NY) sent the puck up top to Matt Irwin (Brentwood Bay, B.C.), who blasted a high shot that hit the cross bar and deflected in with only 1:07 left in regulation. The back-breaking goal proved to be too much as UMass Lowell could not respond before the clock ran out.

Hutton was exceptional in net, stopping 15-of-17 shots as he fell to 7-6-0 on the campaign. UMass Amherst's Dainton collected his second win of the weekend with 28 saves to improve to 12-7-0.

The River Hawks finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play, while killing 6-of-7 against.

Next on the slate for UMass Lowell, rival Merrimack skates into town for a Friday night showdown in the Tsongas Arena before playing host to Boston College on Saturday. The Minutemen will host Vermont in a pair of games at the Mullins Center.