LOWELL, Mass. - The River Hawks topped New Hampshire in front of a record-setting crowd of 6,826 in the Tsongas Center on Friday night. Goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) turned away a season-high 33 shots to backstop UMass Lowell to victory.
The sellout crowd, the largest in program history, cheered the River Hawks as they improved to 8-4-0 on the season and 5-3-0 in Hockey East action. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 6-7-2 overall and 4-5-1 in conference play.
The game opened with a bang as UMass Lowell jumped on the board at 2:18. Sophomore Josh Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, Colo.) flung a shot from the top of the far circle that was kicked out by goaltender Matt Di Girolamo (Ambler, Pa.). The puck bounced to the near side, where opportunistic freshman Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.) flicked a back-hander into the open net.
New Hampshire was able to level the score near the midway point of the first, picking up a tally from Greg Burke (Lee, N.H.) at 9:53. Grayson Downing (Abbotsford, B.C.) fired a pass from behind the net that hit Burke in the leg and redirected the puck past Carr.
The River Hawks managed to resume their one-goal lead a few minutes later on the stick of rookie Terrence Wallin (Yardley, Pa.). Sophomore Chad Ruhwedel (San Diego, Calif.) took a shot from the point that senior Matt Ferreira (Brampton, Ont.) tipped wide to Wallin for the finish.
The second period played out at a furious pace, but yielded no goals until the 15th minute. Junior defenseman Malcolm Lyles' (Miami Gardens, Fla.) shot was halted by Di Girolamo, but David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.) scooped the rebound and buried it into the mesh.
The Wildcats mounted a comeback in the third, scoring at 11:08. Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) centered a pass from Mike Borisenok (Watervliet, N.Y.), who beat Carr with a lightning quick release to draw the game within one goal at 3-2.
Despite New Hampshire pulling its goaltender, UMass Lowell stood tall in the final moments to secure the 3-2 win.
Carr finished with a season-best 33 saves to improve to 7-1-0 on the campaign. The second-year goaltender's scoreless minutes' streak was ended at 138. His counter-part, Di Girolamo, made 31 saves to fall to 6-6-1 on the year.
The two teams will rematch tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center in Durham, NH to complete the home-and-home weekend. The season series is currently tied at 1-1.