LOWELL, Mass. — Sophomore John Yaros made a total of 37 saves, garnering the game’s first star, while senior Jerramie Domish notched the game-winning goal and added an assist as Mass.-Lowell upset No. 3 Maine 3-2 Friday evening in front of 2,751 fans at Tsongas Arena in Hockey East action.
The win gives UML (9-20-6, 6-11-4 HE) its first win over the Black Bears (23-7-3, 14-5-2 HE) at Tsongas Arena since the building opened on January 27, 1998, holding a 7-0-0 record coming into Friday evening’s matchup. Maine, riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, had been undefeated on UML’s home sheet not counting forfeits since January 12, 1990, when the River Hawks beat the Black Bears 2-1 at the Tully Forum.
The River Hawks skated strong from the opening face off, and were rewarded for their efforts with the game’s first goal at 5:07. Sophomore Andrew Martin came from behind the Maine net and sank a shot on the low left side to put the River Hawks in the driver’s seat early, 1-0.
Maine responded midway through the first frame thanks to sophomore Derek Damon’s eleventh goal of the season at 12:37. Damon took a feed from senior Brent Shepheard in the slot and banked it off the left post along the ice, knotting the game at one apiece.
“Maine is such a tenacious team at the net with second and third opportunities,” commented UML head coach Blaise MacDonald after the game. “Their first goal they just out-muscled us; we had coverage, but they were just a little stronger. That’s why their team is a contender for the National Championship.”
UMass Lowell regained the lead shortly after the Black Bear marker. Freshman Brian Bova notched his first goal in a River Hawk sweater when he tipped a freshman Chris Fontas shot in the slot at 14:32.
The Black Bears turned up the heat in the second period, once again looking for the equalizer. Maine was rewarded on its second power-play opportunity of the game at 8:15, as senior Todd Jackson collected the puck low left side and sent it towards the back of the net.
Domish stepped up for UMass Lowell less than a minute later, burying the decisive goal with a blast from the right point thanks to a little help from sophomore Bobby Robins at 9:09 of the second period.
After witnessing five goals between the two teams in the first thirty minutes of play, fans wound up watching Yaros and Maine netminder senior Frank Doyle blank the offensive attack of both teams the rest of the way. The Black Bears pulled Doyle in the waning minutes of the contest, however could not find the equalizer.
Yaros finished the evening with a total of 37 saves, notching double-digit stops in all three periods, while Doyle turned aside a total of 20 attempts on the evening. Maine was the only team to see any production on the power-play, going 1-for-4 in the man-up situation, while UML was scoreless on its one opportunity.
“UMass Lowell really used their opportunities tonight,” said Maine head coach Tim Whitehead. “They completely outworked us in the first period. It could have been worse than 2-1 after one, but 2-1 was enough. The key was that they outworked us, and as a result they made plays.”
Tomorrow Maine and UMass Lowell meet again at Tsongas Arena for the deciding match in the three-game series between the two squads. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m.