A third period offensive surge wasn't enough as the River Hawks fell to Massachusetts, 5-4, on Friday night in the Tsongas Center. The Minutemen's Danny Hobbs (Shawville, Que.) scored with 12 seconds remaining in regulation to stun the 5,753 fans in attendance.
UMass Lowell hockey's losing streak grows to 12 games as it slumps to 2-17-2 on the season and 2-13-0 in conference play. Massachusetts improves to 4-11-3 overall and 3-6-3 in Hockey East play.
The River Hawks jumped out to a blazing start, scoring the game's first tally just 28 seconds into play. After David Vallorani's (Hamilton, Ont.) passed was redirected, Patrick Cey (Saskatoon, Sask.) set up Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) to the goalie's left. Wetmore buried the shot before Paul Dainton (Iqaluit, Nunavut) could recover for his 10th goal of the season.
The early score would become a distant memory as the Minutemen responded with four unanswered tallies over the next 25 minutes by Chase Langeraap (Cayuga, Ont.), Michael Lecomte (St. Hyacinthe, Que.), Branden Gracel (Calgary, Alta.) and Michael Pereira (West Haven, Conn.).
Facing a disastrous outcome, UMass Lowell battled back with three unanswered scores of its own starting at 11:15 into the second period and culminating in a 4-4 tie at 9:51 into the third period.
Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) started it off with a short handed goal, stealing the puck in neutral ice and burying a shot top shelf. It was Pendenza's sixth goal of the season and his third short handed tally.
Shayne Thompson (Stittsville, Ont.) kept the momentum going early in the third period, driving home a rebound off of a Josh Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, Colo.) shot at the net front. The score, Thompson's second of the season, cut the Massachusetts' lead to 4-3.
The River Hawks appeared to complete the comeback at 9:51 into the third period on a wrist shot by Maury Edwards (Rocky Rapids, Alta.). Collecting a pass on the left wing from Holmstrom, Edwards put a shot high off of Dainton's shoulder and into the net. The goal was Edwards' third of the season and tied the game at 4-4.
With the crowd boiling with excitement, the Minutemen delivered the dagger with just 12 ticks left on the clock. T.J. Syner (Springfield, Mass.) grabbed the puck in neutral ice, raced into the UMass Lowell zone and dished to Hobbs at the net. Hobbs back-handed attempt hit a defenseman's skate and was redirected into the net.
The River Hawks' Marc Boulanger (Olds, Alta.) was saddled with the loss, falling to 0-6-1, while stopping 35 shots and allowing five goals. Massachusetts' Dainton finished with 33 saves and four goals allowed, emerging with the victory to improve to 4-6-2 on the season.
UMass Lowell will get a chance for redemption as it travels to the Mullins Center tomorrow night for the series finale with the Minutemen. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.