LOWELL, Mass. — Led by a Kory Falite hat trick and the first two collegiate goals by Matt Ferreira, Massachusetts-Lowell toppled New Hampshire, 6-3. Ferreira’s goal nine minutes into the game gave the River Hawks a lead they would never relinquish and his third period shorthanded goal proved the backbreaker.
Although an acrobatic Danny Dries goal staked UNH to an early lead just two minutes into the game, Lowell bounced right back a mere 22 seconds later on Sammy D’Agnostino’s strike.
With both teams’ number one goalie in street clothes and a wide-open pace throughout, Stat Night was underway. By game’s end, a total of 76 shots on net had been fired with 11 finding pay dirt. Only three got past Lowell goaltender, Nevin Hamilton, however, with the junior stopping 38 shots.
“This wasn’t exactly the way we thought the game would unfold, but we’re certainly happy with the results,” Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald said. MacDonald immediately named Hamilton’s play in net as the number one key. “Early on, UNH presented a lot of problems down low for us. They had some great scoring opportunities. He looked calm and confident. That extended to our team.”
MacDonald also pointed to D’Agnostino and Ferreira both scoring their first collegiate goals and the team’s go-to guy, Falite, delivering.
“We think Kory Falite is one of the top players in the league and he played terrific tonight,” MacDonald said. “You need your key players to play well in these kind of games and we certainly got that.”
The win evens Lowell’s record to 4-4 overall and 2-2 within Hockey East. The River Hawks travel to Amherst on Saturday to face their rival sister school.
For New Hampshire (4-3-3, 2-1-2 HEA), the sobering loss extends its winless streak to four games. The Wildcats are 1-3-3 in their last seven games and must travel to fifth ranked Boston College on Saturday.
“We weren’t ready for their quickness early in the game and we didn’t play well defensively,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “We left the goalie out there [to dry] all night.”
Top netminder Brian Foster will not play against BC. He will be evaluated next week. But for now, UNH’s focus is on righting the ship against BC.
“It’s behind us,” UNH captain Greg Collins said. “Tomorrow is BC.”
River Hawk fans might have thought they were in for a long night when Dries scored his falling-down, backhanded goal just two minutes into the contest, but D’Agnostino evened it quickly, stuffing the puck short side past Matt DiGirolamo.
The River Hawks didn’t score on a power play a few minutes later, but did take the lead at 9:04 on a nice feed from Nick Schaus to Ferreira. Schaus cut behind the UNH net, moving right to left, and fed an open Ferreira in the slot. The freshman’s one-timer resulted in his first goal and a 2-1 lead.
A Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone two-on-one looked certain to even the score when DeSimone deked Nevin Hamilton into the cheap seats, but DeSimone lost the puck on the dribble.
Instead, an innocous-looking rush up the left wing netted Lowell a 3-1 lead at the 18:43 mark. Mike Potacco fought off his defenders, then beat DiGirolamo short side.
In the second period, DiGirolamo’s short side again proved vulnerable six minutes in. Falite rushed in on the right wing and ripped a shot past the freshman from inside the faceoff circle.
The resulting 4-1 lead proved short-lived. Peter LeBlanc and Bobby Butler combined for a goal less than three minutes later to narrow the score, only to see the three-goal margin reestablished right away on a River Hawk power play. Falite buried the rebound of a shot from the point and Lowell led, 5-2.
UNH got back into striking range, though, off an almost full two-minute, five-on-three advantage. After working the puck around, creeping closer and closer to the net, James van Riemsdyk shot from the right faceoff circle and Dries whacked in the rebound from the doorstep.
Ferriera’s shorthanded goal five minutes into the third pounded all but the final nail in UNH’s coffin. Falite completed the hat trick at 14:09 and Patrick Cey added insult to injury for the 8-3 final.