LOWELL, Mass. — Friday night, Massachusetts-Lowell left little room for doubt.
The River Hawks started the 2004-05 Hockey East campaign 0-5-2 and in last place, though a gaudy 9-0-0 nonconference record over the course of the first half was some consolation.
But in the wake of a 7-0 win over New Hampshire that extended UML’s nation-best unbeaten streak to 14 games, the question is, rather: how good are these ‘Hawks?
Andrew Martin and Danny O’Brien each put up four points on two goals and two assists apiece, and the River Hawks (15-5-3, 6-5-2 Hockey East) ran away from the Wildcats (16-6-3, 9-2-2 Hockey East), scoring four goals in the second period to salt the game away before 5,979 fans at Tsongas Arena.
Massachusetts-Lowell has not lost since Nov. 20, when the ‘Hawks dropped a decision to Boston University. Since then, UML is 11-0-3.
O’Brien kicked off the scoring spree for the River Hawks just 3:08 into the first period, scoring off assists from Martin and Ben Walter, the nation’s leading goal-scorer — who, ironically, went without a goal Friday.
That would be the only score UML needed, though the ‘Hawks got six more by the end of the evening. Martin scored twice in the second period, bookending goals by Jeremy Hall and Bobby Robins to give UML a 5-0 lead after two periods of play.
In the third, Elias Godoy netted the sixth ‘Hawk goal and O’Brien followed with his second of the game to account for the final score.
In net for UML, Peter Vetri stopped 21 shots, more than enough to earn the victory for the River Hawks, who outshot New Hampshire 37-21. For New Hampshire, starting netminder Jeff Pietrasiak made 24 saves in two periods, while Kevin Regan played the third and stopped six shots.
Curiously, all seven UML goals came at even strength, as Massachusetts-Lowell went 0-for-4 on the power play. UNH was 0-for-6.