LOWELL, Mass. - UMass Lowell hockey allowed two goals in the final three minutes to fall to Merrimack on Friday night in front of 4,379 fans in the Tsongas Center. The Warriors' Jesse Todd (Calgary, Alta.) notched his first career hat trick that including the game-tying and game-winning goals.
The loss drops the River Hawks to 2-7-2 on the season and 2-7-0 in Hockey East play. Merrimack improved to 3-2-4 overall and 2-2-3 in conference action.
Todd got the Warriors going in the first, taking a feed from Karl Stollery (Camrose, Alta.) and putting the shot past goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) on the short-side at 10:05 into the first.
UMass Lowell bounced back quickly, scoring a short-handed goal off the stick of Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) with four minutes remaining in the opening frame. Pendenza stole the puck in neutral ice and tucked a back-handed shot under Joe Cannata's (Wakefield, Mass.) leg pad. The score was Pendenza's fifth in nine career games and his second short-hander.
The momentum carried into the second as Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) notched a power play goal at 4:25 into play. David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.) hit Wetmore between the circles for the quick release score.
The Warriors wasted little time leveling the score, getting an even strength goal from Shawn Bates (Ft. Saskatchewan, Alta.). Adam Ross (Red Deer, Alta.) and Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) set up Bates for his third score of the year.
The River Hawks took a late lead as Shayne Thompson (Stiltsville, Ont.) scored his first career goal, a power play tally, at 5:23 into the third period. Thompson capitalized on a turnover and ripped a wrist shot by Cannata for the score.
With the clock ticking down and Merrimack down 3-2, Todd pulled out two scores in the final three minutes. The first came at 17:40 into the third, with assists from Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, B.C.) and Chris Barton (Calgary, Alta.).
The game-winner shocked the River Hawks with 37 seconds remaining. Barton took a shot from the top of the right circle and Todd tipped the shot above Carr's glove and into the mesh. Todd's hat trick pushed the junior to five goals on the season.
Carr was strong in net, stopping 31-of-35 shots in the loss. The rookie netminder falls to 2-4-1 on the season. Merrimack's Cannata made 14 saves to bolster his record to 3-2-4 overall. UMass Lowell was outshot in the contest, 17-35.
The teams will square off once again tomorrow night, switching venues to the Lawler Arena on the campus of Merrimack College. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.