LOWELL, Mass. - The UMass Lowell River Hawks (1-2-0,0-0-0 Hockey East) are thankful that tonight was just the first half of a home-and-home series with Quinnipiac University (2-1-0, 0-0-0 ECAC) after falling to the Bobcats, 3-1, at the Tsongas Center tonight. With five new faces in the lineup, the River Hawks have struggled to find consistency.
"You know it's relatively the same personnel (as last season), but it's not. Five different guys in the lineup makes it a whole new team," said UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin. "They're going to have to do some soul searching and find out that they have to compete awfully hard for 60 minutes to have an opportunity at success. We're going to have to get back to working hard and being detail-oriented. The details are what we have to concentrate on tomorrow and thankfully again - you've heard this two weeks in a row - thank god there's a game tomorrow."
Despite outshooting the host River Hawks 11-4 in the first period, it took until the 2nd period for the Bobcats to get one past UMass Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.), making his second start of the season. Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored on the power play 2:03 into the 2nd to give Quinnipiac the lead that they would never relinquish. Connor Clifton picked up the team's second goal of the night off a deflection at 9:34 of the period and then upped their lead to 3-0 as Derek Smith scored with a blue line blast through a crowd that Hellebuyck never saw.
UMass Lowell showed some life in the 3rd. Sophomore forward Adam Chapie (Oxford, Mich.) picked his first of the year, benefiting from a deflection off a shot from the blue line from junior defenseman Jake Suter (Lac du Flambeau, Wisc.) It was all the River Hawks would muster on the night, however, as the Quinnipiac University Bobcats skated away with the 3-1 win.
The River Hawks continue to struggle on the power play, going 0-7 tonight Quinnipiac and 1-20 over the three games this season. Quinnipiac went 1-3 on their power play opportunities.
"(Our power play) will need to get a lot better. We're going to have to look at it on film again," Bazin said of team's struggling power play. "I thought we had some good looks, we had shots to the net and (Garteig) was able to not give up any rebounds. We're going to have to generate some rebounds if we hope to score."
The River Hawks will get a second crack at the 2013 ECAC Champions and NCAA Division I runner-up tomorrow night as both teams travel to Hamden, Conn. for the tail end of a home-and-home series. The two teams will face off at 7 PM at the High Point Solutions Arena in Hamden, Conn.