N. ANDOVER, Mass. — In what would have to be classified as a game lacking much speed, the Mass.-Lowell River Hawks were fast to the net when it counted, scoring two third period goals to break a 1-1 on its way to a 3-1 victory at Lawler Rink Wednesday night.
The game started off very slow. Shots through one period were about even, 9-8 in favor of Merrimack. And the game never picked up speed until halfway through the second period.
A bad defensive play down in front of the Merrimack net allowed UMass-Lowell to claw ahead. A blocked shot ended up on the end of Michael Budd’s stick, who quickly fired a shot into the practically wide open net and put the River Hawks on the scoreboard.
As time expired in the second period Jeremy Dehner got called for Interference putting Merrimack on the power play to being the third. Forty- three seconds into the man advantage, Nick Schaus got called for boarding giving the Warriors a 5-on-3 man advantage.
Fraser Allan and Rob Ricci moved the puck back and forth once before Ricci sent it flying into the net from the right faceoff circle for a power play goal at 1:03.
Later in the frame, Merrimack netminder Andrew Braithwaite (27 saves) misplayed the puck and Paul Worthington rocketed it into the net, putting Lowell up, 2-1 with less than 14 minutes remaining.
Merrimacks Adam Ross was whistled for holding at 12:58 putting Lowell on the power play with the opportunity for insurance. The River Hawks cashed in that policy.
A smart pass by the River Hawks combined with a bad line change by the Warriors got Dehner the puck up ice, past the defense. He found Kory Falite who deeked the Braithwaite and wristed the shot home for a power play goal.
With one minute remaining, Merrimack pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, and twenty seconds later Mark Roeobothan received a five minute major for a hit from behind and a game misconduct.
This opportunity would not matter, though, as time expired with UMass-Lowell earning the 3-2 win.
“I thought we played well from the second into the third period and showed a lot of character by killing off a tough 5 on 3 power play, said Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald. We gave up a goal, but killing off the remainder of that penalty was huge for us. It was nice to get that power play goal, which gave us a little bit of breathing room. As a road team that is how you want to play the third period. We out shot them 13-to-5.”
The outlook was hardly as rosy on the opposite side.
“I was very disappointed with this game, said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy. This game was played like one of 62 junior hockey games or 20 prep school hockey games. We could not have written a better script for Lowell tonight.
Offense comes and goes, but we had our chances tonight. If you put forth an effort like the one out there tonight; offense is the least of your worries. ”
Merrimack will travel to UNH to take on the Wildcats on Saturday while UMass-Lowell host Atlantic Hockey member RIT.