Senior forward Michael Budd collects two assists for River Hawks

Senior forward Michael Budd had a pair of assists for the River Hawks

UMass Lowell hockey got tangled in a 3-3 tie with New Brunswick in its annual preseason exhibition game at the Chelmsford Forum on Saturday night. The Varsity Reds scored the game-tying goal as time expired in regulation.

The River Hawks will carry the valuable experience from the night into their season opener at Minnesota State in Mankato on Oct. 14.

New Brunswick scored the game's first tally midway through the first. On the power play, Nick MacNeil (Creignish, N.S.) carried down the far wing, and then pulled up to allow his team to catch up. As Luke Gallant (Bedford, N.S.) crossed into the zone, MacNeil hit him with a pass for Gallant to rip a shot through the defense and into the mesh at 10:45.

UMass Lowell trailed through the remainder of the first, but changed the momentum in the second with two goals less than a minute apart. The first came as speedy sophomore Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) picked the defender's pocket in the River Hawks' zone. Pendenza flew through the neutral zone and tucked to puck inside the far post at 2:30.

The club came back with another tally at 3:10, off the stick of freshman Tyler Brickler (Riverwoods, Ill.), who knocked in a rebound goal to take a 2-1 advantage. Michael Budd (Burlington, Ont.) put a shot off of the goaltender's pads that ricocheted to the opposite side for Brickler to slap in unabated.

The Varsity Reds leveled the score late in the second period as Thomas Nesbitt (Ottawa, Ont.) walked in on the goaltender alone and put a back-handed shot by Brian Robbins (Scotrun, Penn.) at 15:25.

UMass Lowell nearly seized the lead early in the third period as freshman Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) weaved his way through a pair of defenders, maintaining balance as each laid hits on the shifty forward. Wilson's shot bounced off the goaltender's leg pad and classmate Terrence Wallin (Yardley, Penn.) scooped the loose puck and rung it off the post.

The River Hawks did eventually take control of the game several minutes later as Derek McCoy (Newburyport, Mass.) got a fortunate bounce at 10:06 to take a 3-2 lead. With pressure in the New Brunswick zone, Chad Ruhwedel (San Diego, Calif.) passed to Budd at the top of the near circle. Budd fired the puck toward the net, but hit McCoy's skate to change the puck's direction to slip past the goaltender.

UMass Lowell appeared destined for victory as the Varsity Reds couldn't sustain an offensive presence in the final minutes of play. However, New Brunswick pulled together in the final seconds as MacNeil fired a shot top-shelf as time expired to knot the game at 3-3.

As the evening moved into extra time, the two clubs skated to a draw. Neither team mustered much of an attack, combining for five shots on goal.

For the night, Robins stopped 13-of-15 shots in 39 minutes of action. His relief, Marc Boulanger (Olds, Alta.), made 11 saves in the final 25 minutes of play, allowing one goal. The Varsity Reds' Daniel LaCosta (Labrador, Nfld.) turned away 23-of-26 shots in 59 minutes of play.

Overall, the River Hawks were outshot on the evening, 26-27. New Brunswick finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while UMass Lowell went scoreless in six power play chances.