LOWELL, Mass. — Third-line left wing Kevin Jarman scored two goals, and four other Minutemen scored as Massachusetts defeated UMass Lowell, 6-3, at the Tsongas Arena.
The Minutemen broke open a tight game late in the third period, coming back from a 3-2 deficit and scoring four unanswered goals to pull away.
It looked as if the River Hawks just might break their current winless streak, as freshman Ben Holmstrom scored his second goal of the game and third of the season at 4:45 of the final period on the power play. But Jarman got his second tally of the night to tie things up at 3-3 at 11:44, and Massachusetts never looked back.
With the win, Massachusetts has now won four of its last five games to improve to 12-8-3 overall, 9-6-1 in Hockey East. By virtue of Maine’s shocking 6-1 loss at home to Northeastern, the Minutemen now have sole possession of fifth place in the Hockey East standings.
What has been a tough road this season just got tougher for UMass Lowell, as they dropped their seventh game in a row. The River Hawks have now gone winless in their last 18 games (0-16-2) to fall to 3-18-5 (2-13-2 Hockey East).
“Another tough game for us in this building,” said Massachusetts coach Don Cahoon. “It’s always a struggle in here. It wasn’t very pretty, but what matters is the final result.”
While the Minutemen have been one of the best teams in the country at home this season, posting a 9-1-1 record so far at the Mullins Center, they have not fared nearly as well on the road. The win Friday was the team’s first on the road since besting Providence on November 4th.
“It’s been a point of emphasis for us. Getting two points on the road like we did tonightits good to get back on track away from home,” said Cahoon.
UMass Lowell had a tough time early on, as Massachusetts effectively bottled up the River Hawks at center ice. Lowell didn’t register a shot until the 6:20 mark of the first period.
The Minutemen, meanwhile, were on their way to pouring 10 shots on Lowell freshman net minder Nevin Hamilton, and at 13:36, senior Mark Matheson got his eighth of the year, as he crashed the Lowell net with several players going in with him. The net came off, but the red light came on, and despite a long chat with the referee, UMass Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald was not going to win that argument.
“We played well in spurts, and were almost on the verge of taking control of the game,” said MacDonald.
“We don’t give ourselves enough breathing room by scoring goals. We need the upperclassmen to step up. We have some guys who haven’t scored in weeks.”
Indeed, it was the freshmen class that recorded all seven points on the night for the River Hawks.
Holmstrom got his first of the night for Lowell of a weird hop, as the puck popped up in the air after a scrum in back of Massachusetts goaltender Jon Quick and trickled past to tie the score at 1-1.
Lowell took the lead later in the period when Jeremy Dehner scored his second of the season off a pretty pass from Paul Worthington, to the delight of the Lowell faithful.
But Jarman got his first of the night on a bang-bang shot from the slot that eluded Hamilton. The teams went to the dressing rooms tied at 2-2.
Lowell got the break they had been waiting for at the beginning of the third period, as Martin Nolet of the Minutemen was sent off for a 5-minute major for boarding, and a 10-minute misconduct.
Lowell took the lead 3-2 on the power play when Holmstrom scored his second of the night at 4:45, and it looked as though Lowell might get its first win since beating Merrimack, 5-0, on November 4.
That would be all that Lowell would get on the 5-minute power play, however.
“The fact that we didn’t break the game open with that five minute power play I think was the turning point,” said MacDonald.
But Jarman scored his second goal of the game to tie it at 3-3 midway through the game, and later Lowell took an ill-advised elbowing penalty, setting up senior Chris Capraro’s game-winning goal.
Alex Berry followed up less than two minutes later, and Captain Mike Kostka finished things off with an empty net goal.
Massachusetts and UMass Lowell get back on the ice Saturday, with the Minutemen hosting Boston University, and UMass Lowell traveling to play at Boston College. Both contests are 7 p.m.