LOWELL, Mass. — Sophomore Bobby Robins scored two goals to lead the Mass.-Lowell Riverhawks past St. Francis Xavier Saturday evening in an exhibition matchup in front of 1,036 fans at Tsongas Arena.
“They’re a good hockey club, they were one of the top teams in Canada last season,” said head coach Blaise MacDonald. “They’re older, physically mature, and have great hockey savvy. We knew we would have our hands full in a lot of tight areas competitively, but I thought we played well in those areas.”
The River Hawks opened the scoring at 11:11 with the first goal of the game from Robins. Robins took a pass from behind the net by sophomore Danny O’Brien on the left-side-low and squeezed the puck under the pads of X-Men netminder Dwayne Bateman.
St. Francis Xavier tied the contest at one after Mike Smith redirected a shot by Troy Smith from the point at 7:42 in the second.
UML regained the lead at 10:22 with an even-strength marker off of a deflection by sophomore Ben Walter in front of the net. The River Hawks made it 3-1 after Robins netted his second goal of the game at 17:58 thanks to a nice pass from senior Jerramie Domish at the blueline.
The X-Men came within one just 2:57 into the third period when a shot from Mike Martone found its way past sophomore netminder Paul Mammola. It proved to be as close as STFX could get, as the X-Men pulled their goaltender late in the game but could not find the equalizer.
Junior Chris Davidson got the nod to start the game for the River Hawks, making 11 saves, while Mammola stopped 14 shots in his half-game of work. Bateman stopped 27 shots for the X-Men. All but one goal on the evening was scored via the power-play, with the River Hawks going 2-for-4 with the man-advantage and the X-Men cashing in on two of their seven attempts.
“It is very hard to find deficiencies in our game tonight,” said MacDonald. “In the third period we started to get a little too fancy, but for the most part we were good in all the battle zones and did a good job of killing off a penalty in the final minutes.”
Saturday Mass.-Lowell will open the 20th anniversary season of Hockey East when the River Hawks host sister-school Massachusetts at 7:00 p.m.