Freshman G Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.) earned his second straight shutout as UMass Lowell defeated No. 18 Harvard, 5-0, Monday night in a non-conference hockey clash at the Bright Hockey Center.
With the win, UMass Lowell improved to 6-7-1 entering the semester break. The River Hawks return to action Sunday, Dec. 30 when they host Bentley at 4:00.
Harvard slipped to 4-4-1 overall.
Hellebuyck stopped 30 shots while the River Hawk defense was equally impressive on both ends of the ice with three goals from defensemen, 21 blocked shots and five penalty kills, extending its streak to 13 straight and 19 in opponents last 20 opportunities. The victory follows a 2-0 win over Northeastern on Saturday, in which Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots.
Named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week, Hellebuyck is currently riding a goalless streak of 122 minutes, 45 seconds and last conceded 17:15 into the third period of the Nov. 30 loss at No. 2 New Hampshire (5-2).
UMass Lowell, which has scored seven first period goals this season, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period, the first goal 6:01 into the game on a wrist shot from the point by freshman D Dmitry Sinitsyn (Moscow, Russia).
Freshman D Christian Folin (Gothenberg, Sweden) had the original shot on the play and junior F Josh Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, Colo.) passed out the rebound to Sinitsyn to set up the goal.
The Crimson nearly equalized two minutes later when senior F Marshall Everson rattled the post off a saved shot.
Four seconds after Harvard's Luke Greiner was whistled for charging at 15:14, junior D Chad Ruhwedel (San Diego, Calif.) slapped home off the ensuing faceoff from junior Joe Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.), which ended a string of 23 power play opportunities without a goal.
Hellebuyck was at his best to keep Harvard off the scoresheet six minutes into the third period during a Crimson power play. Everson let fly from the right point, and senior F Connor Morrison redirected at the far post, eliciting a magnificent right-legged kick save from Hellebuyck.
McGrath nearly gave the River Hawks a 3-0 lead 11 minutes into the third period when he beat a defender down the left side and attempted a wrap-around shot, only to be agonizingly denied by the far post.
The third goal came, however, at 14:01 when sophomore D Jake Suter (Lac du Flanbeau, Wisc.) sent a slapshot - his first collegiate goal - from the right point off a pass from freshman Michael Colantone (Cave Creek, Ariz.).
UMass Lowell seized the momentum and added a pair of goals 1:42 apart late in the third period. Sophomore Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) capitalized on a breakaway at 17:35 and beat goalie Raphael Girard with a backhand at the right post.
Pendenza capped the scoring on a 5-on-3 situation at 19:17 when he took a pass from senior F Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) at the right circle and rifled home.
UMass Lowell outshot Harvard, 32-30. Girard had 27 saves for the Crimson.