STATE COLLEGE, Penn. (November 14, 2013) - Playing in the third game of a four games in seven nights stretch, the UMass Lowell River Hawks' (7-4-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) faced a nascent Penn State Nittany Lions (3-4-1, 0-0-0 Big 10) program looking to make a mark in just their second year of Division I. Playing in front of a capacity crowd at the newly opened Pegula Ice Arena, the visiting River Hawks shutout the Nittany Lions, 4-0, for their first shutout of the season.
"I thought it was an excellent hockey game against a great opponent," said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin. "They threw a lot of pucks to our net, and thankfully our goalie was on tonight."
The Nittany Lions appeared less than impressed playing against their first ranked opponent of the season, peppering UMass Lowell netminder Conner Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.) with 37 shots and shutting down the River Hawks' potent power play, 0-5. UMass Lowell had entered the game having scored with the man advantage in six straight games.
"From a penalty kill standpoint, they did an excellent job. We didn't generate much on our power play so we needed our 5-on-5 to be exceptionally strong," Bazin said. "We got some timely goals, and we scored first which is always key on the road."
Adam Chapie (Oxford, Mich.) broke the ice first, scoring an even strength goal just 1:51 into the first period to temporarily quiet the 5,998 fans in attendance. Penn State's attack was thwarted by the River Hawks' defensemen who blocked 9 shots in the first period and 16 for the game. Throughout a physical first period and into the second, the two teams played even until sniper Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) got one past Matthew Skoff at 5:56 of the second session to give the visitors the 2-0 lead. The River Hawks upped the score to 3-0 as Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) increased his goal scoring streak to four straight, picking up his first of the night at 7:56 of the second period. Arnold would close the door on the scoring for the night, adding his second of the night at 18:02 of the third. For Hellebuyck, it was his first shutout recorded this season and seventh of his two-year career.
"Any shutout is a big team effort," said Bazin. "I thought the defense played a key role blocking some shots, I thought our forwards did a good job paying the price that way also. Any time you have a shutout, everyone pitches in."
The River Hawks will continue their marathon week tomorrow with a 7 PM rematch with Penn State. For Bazin, the three-games-in-four-nights/Four-games-in-seven-nights stretch was as much about giving the team a taste of what might be to come as it was to play four quality opponents.
"All of these kids have aspirations of playing pro hockey, and there are going to be a lot of three games in three nights, three games in four nights," Bazin said. "This was the reason for the trip, frankly, to give them a taste of what it to be on the road, to play three games in four nights and have to gut through stuff. And we'll attempt to do that tomorrow."