LOWELL, Mass. -- It had all the makings of a classic finish to a crucial Hockey East series on Saturday night at the Tsongas Center, but the No. 8 UMass Lowell River Hawks (16-7-2, 6-4-1) had other plans and broke out the offense.
UML used two goals in the first period and three more in the third for a convincing 6-1 win to salvage a weekend split with the No. 7 Providence Friars (15-6-5, 7-5-1).
“It says something about your character in the locker room,” head coach Norm Bazin said of his team’s play while skating with four regular players out of the lineup. “I was extremely proud of the guys and I told them there’s probably not many times where I’ve been this proud of a group, faced with the adversity they were faced with going into the game.”
The River Hawks jumped on top just 5:24 into the contest as senior assistant captain Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) cut across the offensive zone and tucked his 11th goal of the season by the pad of a trailing PC sophomore Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine), who finished with 14 saves on 19 shots and ultimately saw his night cut short in the final nine minutes of play.
Freshman Michael Kapla registered his fourth assist in seven periods, feeding defenseman Christian Folin for a beautiful shot that beat Gillies high stick side to give UML a two-goal lead at 17:13. The Wisconsin native also had two assists in UML’s 5-4 road loss to the Friars on Friday.
Providence got quite a bit lackadaisical on an offensive zone play 12:44 into the second, resulting in UML’s third goal to take command. Sophomore Michael Fallon fed a great centering pass through the slot to freshman Evan Campbell for the easy tap-in under Gillies.
“We just got out-competed tonight,” PC head coach Nate Leaman said. “They were a much hungrier team than we were. They just played with the desperation and urgency that you need at this time of the year. … Credit to them. They had it and they outworked us all night.”
The Friars got on the scoreboard at the 3:22 mark of the third period as junior Ross Mauermann continued his torrid scoring pace with his second goal in as many games - a wrister from the middle of the faceoff dot while falling to his knees.
Mauermann, who Leaman called his team’s best player on the ice in the game, is the first Friar to reach 31 points in a single year since Jon Rheault in 2007-08.
Just over a minute later, Pendenza broke in shorthanded and tucked a wrister under Gillies to restore order for UML, collecting his 100th-career point in the process with the help of Folin.
“It feels pretty good,” Pendenza said of becoming the 42nd River Hawk to the century marker. “But as much as it is an individual accomplishment, it’s also a team accomplishment. I’ve played with some great players over my four years here … and those guys really helped out a lot to contribute to the player I am now.”
Folin knocked home his second of the game at 11:32 on a one-timer from Chapie in the left circle, before rookie Joe Gambardella cut inside to made it a 6-1 Lowell lead at 16:36.
Boston College 3, Penn State 2
Junior Johnny Gaudreau extended his point-scoring streak to an even 20 games as the Eagles (18-4-3) used a man-up marker from senior Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) early in the third period to edge past the host Nittany Lions (4-15-1) at Pegula Ice Arena. In addition to the play of the aforementioned, senior Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) was credited with three assists for the second time this year and freshman Thatcher Demko made 33 saves. BC is now 10-0-1 in its last 11 games.
Notre Dame 3, Northeastern 0
An eight-game Hockey East unbeaten streak came to a halt for the 11th-ranked Huskies (15-8-3, 8-5-1) as Notre Dame (15-9-1, 4-6-1) senior Steven Summerhays made 36 saves in a weekend-salvaging shutout at Compton Family Ice Arena. For the second game in a row, junior Clay Witt stopped 30 for the Red and Black. Stellar Irish rookie Vince Hinostroza scored a goal and an assist.
Vermont 6, Boston University 2
Thanks to two goals from senior Chris McCarthy and a goal and two assists from rookie Brendan Bradley, the No. 17 Catamounts (13-9-3, 5-7-0 Hockey East) were able to avoid a weekend sweep of the BU Terriers (8-14-2, 3-8-1) in a NESN-televised game at Agganis Arena. Sophomore Danny O’Regan (Needham, Mass.) and Kevin Duane (New Canaan, Conn.) recorded goals for the Terriers.
Merrimack 3, Massachusetts 2
The Warriors (7-13-3, 2-7-2 Hockey East) used goals from underclassmen Chris LeBlanc (Winthrop, Mass.) and John Gustafsson in the third period to down the visiting Minutemen (7-16-3, 3-8-2) at J. Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover. Junior Rasmus Tirronen made 24 stops in goal for the victors en route to his sixth win of the season. For UMass, senior Michael Pereira (West Haven, Conn.) scored both goals and posted his 100th-career point.
Maine 4, New Hampshire 2
The No. 20 Black Bears (12-9-3, 6-4-2 Hockey East) used a raucous Alfond Arena crowd to their advantage in returning the favor to the traveling Wildcats (14-13-1, 6-6-0) in the back half of the weekend. Sophomore Devin Shore was practically the offense for Maine, scoring once and dishing three assists. Despite the loss and allowing four goals, junior Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 33 saves for UNH.
Yale 6, Brown 0
Jesse Root clearly does not take losing lightly. The No. 10 Elis’ (10-5-4, 5-4-3 ECAC Hockey) senior captain dished out five assists - and still came one shy of matching a program record - en route to an easy victory over the rival Bears (8-8-3, 5-6-1) at Ingalls Rink. Freshman stalwart Alex Lyon made stops on all 28 shots he faced for the shutout and his seventh win of the year.
Connecticut 2, American International 1
Junior Jacob Poe scored for the second game in a row as the Huskies (12-7-4, 10-4-3 Atlantic Hockey) completed a sweep of the league rival Yellow Jackets (6-17-1, 5-11-1) to move into sole possession of third place in Freitas Ice Forum. Senior Jordan Sims got the scoring going for UConn with the first of two strikes in the final two minutes of the opening stanza. Junior Brandon Fagerheim scored the lone goal for the Jackets, while freshman Hunter Leisner collected 24 saves.
Bentley 5, Holy Cross 3
In a Frozen Fenway rematch at Worcester’s Hart Center, the result remained the same for the Bentley Falcons (13-8-3, 11-3-3 Atlantic Hockey). Junior Andrew Gladiuk netted two more on the power play to lead the attack and classmate Steve Weinstein dished off two assists, breaking the Division I school record for helpers in a season with 30. Junior Jake Youso and sophomore Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) each had multi-point nights for the Crusaders (6-16-2, 5-10-2).