OMAHA, Neb. - UMass Lowell hockey suffered a tough 4-3 defeat in an up-and-down battle with Nebraska-Omaha in the Ice Breaker Tournament Championship game on Saturday night. The River Hawks were led by Kory Falite (Billerica, MA) for the second night in a row, scoring a power play goal and being named to the All-Tournament Team.
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In defeat, UMass Lowell dips to 1-1-0 on the season. The Mavericks stay perfect as they improve to 2-0-0 and take home the Ice Breaker Championship.
The River Hawks opened the scoring with an athletic and heads up play by senior Paul Worthington (Langhorne, PA). Following a hard shot by Maury Edwards (Rocky Rapids, Alta.), Worthington collected the rebound, saw goaltender Jeremie Dupont stationed on the post and wrapped around the other side for a surprisingly easy score. Dupont appeared to have lost the puck as his reaction to Worthington came noticeably late and gave UMass Lowell a 1-0 lead just 3:54 into the game.
Extending the lead just a few minutes later, early season standout Falite netted a power play goal to put the River Hawks ahead 2-0 at 7:26 into the first period. On a Maverick puck dump down the ice, goalie Carter Hutton (Thunder Bay, Ont.) met the puck early and sent it into neutral ice for Ben Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, CO). Holmstrom found Falite skating one-on-one with Dupont for the score.
Nebraska-Omaha responded with a flurry of goals in the second half of the first period and the first 8:52 of the second. It began with a strike by Rich Purslow on a double-drive into the UMass Lowell zone. Hutton made the initial save on Jeric Agosta's shot, but couldn't prevent Purslow from netting the rebound at 10:24 into the first.
The Mavericks scored again on a defensive miscue by the River Hawks. After collecting the puck, Edwards dumped it to the corner, expecting a teammate to have filled the void. No teammate was there and Joey Martin centered the puck for an easy score by Nick Fanto.
That score was followed by a Nebraska-Omaha power play goal by Matt Ambroz. UMass Lowell mounted a short handed attack, but failed to get back in time to deal with a three-man rush by the Mavericks. Hutton found himself on an island and Ambroz gave the Mavericks a 3-2 lead.
Scott Campbell (Navan, Ont.) did his best to plug the leak by jamming in his first goal of the season. Freshman Riley Wetmore (Swanton, VT) charged up ice, carrying the puck into the offensive zone and absorbing a hard hit in the process. Wetmore stuck with it and attempted a wrap around shot that was stopped by Dupont. Campbell followed the shot with a jam that squeaked the puck through Dupont's pads and into the net. The score came at 5:25 into the second and tied the game at 3-3.
The final and decisive score of the night came 8:52 into the second as Terry Broadhurst notched an even strength goal from John Kemp to give Nebraska-Omaha the 4-3 lead that proved to be final.
River Hawks' netminder Hutton saved 19-of-23 shots on the night, dropping to 1-1-0 on the season. The senior goaltender found himself on an island for much of the night due to the frenzied attack by the Mavericks. Dupont stopped just six-of-nine shots before he was pulled midway through the second period. His replacement, John Faulkner, was a perfect 11-for-11 through the end. UMass Lowell was one-for-three on the power play, a mark matched by Nebraska-Omaha.
Both Falite and Edwards were named to the All-Tournament Team. Falite finished the weekend with four points on two goals and two assists. Edwards tallied three points with a goal and two assists.
The River Hawks now turn their attention to Oct. 23, when they host Colgate in the home opener at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available via the web at www.GoRiverHawks.com