MADISON, Wis. — Freshman Cleve Kinley tallied the game-winning goal and added an assist as UMass Lowell overcame a three-goal deficit, scoring five unanswered to beat Union 5-3 in the consolation game of the Badger Showdown at the Kohl Center.
“Our players gathered themselves in the locker room after the end of the second period, and put it on themselves to change the course of the game,” said UML head coach Blaise MacDonald. “They increased their commitment, their conviction to work ethic, and as a result we started generating some shots, generating opportunities, and turned the momentum of the game.”
Both teams vied for control of the contest in the opening period. Union (7-7-3, 2-4-1 ECAC) emerged with some quality opportunities, but sophomore netminder Paul Mammola was equal to the task. The Dutchmen finally found a way past Mammola though, as A.J. Palkovich scored a pair of goals just 11 seconds apart midway through the first period.
Palkovich put Union on the board at 9:13 after sniping a shot from the top of the slot that beat Mammola high. At 9:26, Palkovich once again found the back of the net after picking off a pass in the River Hawk zone and sliding the puck into the net to make it 2-0.
Things looked dismal for the River Hawks in the second period as Union increased its lead to three at 6:57 off a shot from Jonathan Poirier. But like the night before, UMass Lowell began to mount its comeback in the second.
Sophomore Paul Falco picked up his first goal at UML with a little help from linemate Brian Bova. Falco’s shot lit the lamp at 11:08 of the second, cutting the Dutchmen lead to 3-1.
The River Hawks exploded for four in the third period to seal the comeback victory. Freshman Jason Tejchma scored at 2:03 of the third when he tipped in a centering pass from sophomore Danny O’Brien.
Sophomore Ben Walter picked up his second goal in as many games to knot the contest at three at 9:00 even. Kinley put the River Hawks up for good at 14:31 with a wrister from the top of the right faceoff circle. Sophomore Mark Pandolfo added an empty-netter at 19:00, extending his goal-scoring streak to five games.
Mammola made a career-high 33 saves in his second win of the season, while Union netminder Tim Roth stopped a total of 35 shots. Both teams had five power-play opportunities, but Union was the only squad to capitalize, scoring once.