SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — After firing a season-high 48 shots last Tuesday against Providence, Union thought it rediscovered its offense prowess.
But against seventh-ranked UMass-Lowell on Wednesday, the Dutchmen’s offense reverted back to the funk it was in two weeks ago when it managed 44 shots and one goal total at Cornell and Colgate.
The Dutchmen managed a season-low 18 shots against the River Hawks, and had few quality chances in their 3-0 non-conference loss at Achilles Rink.
An aggressive forecheck by the River Hawks (9-2), who had 36 shots on goal, kept the Dutchmen (3-4-1) bottled up most of the game. Union had two power-play chances, but were outshot, 2-0, on those attempts. Goalie Cam McCormick earned his fourth shutout of the season, tying a team record, and lowered his microscopic goals-against average to 0.35.
“That’s the key every night for us,” said UMass-Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald, who earned his 100th career win. “When we forecheck well, we generate a lot of offense, we establish a commitment to play the body and to be difficult to play against.”
Union was outshot, 14-2, in the first period, The two shots tied a team record for fewest shots in a period. The Dutchmen had done it seven other times, the most recent being Nov. 12, 1999 at Clarkson.
“It started more in our own zone, more on the breakout,” Union coach Kevin Sneddon said. “We never sustained anything coming up the ice. That’s a credit to their good forecheck, and our guys not executing that well. We didn’t make the simple pass to get out of the zone. As a result, we either were giving it up in the neutral zone, or taking an icing. You’re not going to sustain any offensive pressure that way.”
Two minutes into the game, the Dutchmen found themselves down, 1-0.
River Hawks defenseman Baptiste Amar jammed at a puck to the right of Dutchmen sophomore goalie Kyle Loney, who was making his second career start. Loney had his right pad up against the post, but he let go. That enabled Amar to push the puck into the net.
“I’m not sure how it happened,” Loney said. “I thought I had everything covered. The guy snuck it in.”
Union started to generate some scoring chances in the second period. But the Dutchmen were either rebuffed by McCormick, or they missed the net.
The Dutchmen missed out on a two-on-one break with 10 seconds left in the period. Seamus Galligan slid a pass from the right wing to Jeff Hutchins, and he had McCormick beaten. But Hutchins shot wide.
“The defenseman hooked my arm just as I shot the puck,” Hutchins said. “Any time you get shut out, it’s frustrating.”
The River Hawks’ forechecking created their second goal at 15:22 of the second.
Union freshman defenseman Matt Vagvolgyi lost control of the puck behind the Dutchmen net. Dan Fontas took it away from him, and passed it in the slot to Tom Rouleau. Loney got a piece of Rouleau’s shot, but the puck trickled between his pads.
Notes: Union forwards Joel Beal, Glenn Sanders and Jeff Wilson sat out the game. Wilson is recovering from a shoulder separation. Beal and Sanders were healthy scratches. All three players are expected to be in the lineup Saturday at Rensselaer. … Yorick Treille scored the River Hawks’ final goal in the third period. … There were just four penalties called in the game. Three of them came in the third period.