AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass hockey team pulled back to within two after falling down 4-0, but was unable to rally in a 5-3 loss to #7 UMass Lowell on Saturday evening at the Mullins Center. Following the setback, the Minutemen sit at 8-17-4 overall, 4-9-3 in Hockey East, while the River Hawks improve to 19-7-3 overall and 9-4-3 in league play.
Linemates Michael Pereira, Ray Pigozzi and Adam Phillips all had multi-point nights for UMass, combining for two goals and four assists on the evening, six of the Minutemen's eight points in the contest. Pereira logged a pair of assists to tie a personal single-game best, his 24th career multi-point game.
Pigozzi scored his fifth of the year, fourth in Hockey East play, and chipped in an assist, his 12th of the season, four his fourth career multi-point effort. Phillips contributed a goal and an assist, as well, to bring his season point total to 13 (5g, 13a), two shy of his career high.
Senior Conor Sheary scored his 11th career power-play goal for his 99th career point and sophomore Ben Gallacher registered his ninth assist of the season.
UMass Lowell opened the scoring 4:13 into the first period as Michael Fallon cleaned up a rebound from Joseph Pendenza and A.J. White with a shot from the right faceoff circle.
The River Hawks then added a second tally just as time in the stanza was about to expire. Amidst a flurry in front of the UMass net, Adam Chapie put the puck home at the 19:31 mark. Joe Houk and Michael Fallon earned assists on the play.
UMass Lowell doubled its lead two quick goals to start the second period, a wraparound by Michael Kapla at 2:01 and long-range strike from Michael Colantone just 51 seconds later.
The Minutemen took one of the tallies back at the 7:47 mark. Off a feed from Pereira behind the net, Phillips fired a shot on target that Conor Hellebuyck stopped, but Pigozzi was there to put the puck into the open net at the right post.
However, the River Hawks pushed the advantage back to four with a power-play goal from Ryan McGrath 15:14 into the second to snap UMass' streak of consecutive successful penalty kills at 18.
UMass continued to fight back, though, as Sheary converted with the man advantage at the 18:49 mark from Pereira and Gallacher, bringing the score to 5-2 at the second intermission.
After winning an offensive zone faceoff, Phillips drove a pass from Pigozzi into the net from the high slot 7:34 into the third to close the gap to two. However, UMass was unable to complete the comeback despite out-shooting UMass Lowell, 8-2 in the final stanza.
The Minutemen ended the night with a 37-33 shot advantage and won 43 of 73 faceoffs. UMass was 1-for-3 on the power play in the contest, while the River Hawks were 1-for-2.
Conor Hellebuyck stopped 34 shots in net for UMass Lowell and the tandem of junior Steve Mastalerz and freshman Alex Wakaluk registered 10 and 18 saves, respectively for the Minutemen.
UMass will be back in action next Friday, facing the River Hawks in Lowell at 7:30 p.m.