LOWELL, Mass. — After scoring three straight goals on Friday night in their come-from-behind win, the Mass.-Lowell River Hawks scored six in a row on Saturday night, en route to 6-0 shutout of the Maine Black Bears. The win for the River Hawks capped off their first ever sweep of the Hockey East season series against the Black Bears.
“It’s a nice end to the regular season, especially for our seniors,” said UML coach Blaise MacDonald. “I thought we had a lot more energy tonight, got off to a much better start, obviously, and really played more of our game. Although in the second period we had to kill four penalties, I thought tonight once again our special teams were extraordinary.”
Special teams played a pivotal role in deciding the outcome, as the River Hawks went two-for-three with the extra attacker and killed off all five of the Black Bears’ power plays.
The River Hawks wasted no time picking up where they left off the night before. Just over two minutes into the game, the River Hawks found themselves on a power play after Matt Duffy got called for holding Kory Falite at 2:11. Falite then wasted no time in exacting revenge, tracking down the rebound of a Jeremy Dehner shot and scoring from just inside the right circle at 2:54 in the first period.
The River Hawks added to their lead a little over six minutes later when Mark Roebothan deflected into the net a pass from Mike Potacco, who was positioned behind the net, to put the River Hawks up 2-0 at 8:40.
On their second power play of the game, the River Hawks were even more efficient. After Duffy was sent to the penalty box again at 12:31 in the second period, Ben Holmstrom won the ensuing faceoff and Maury Edwards picked up the puck in the slot and scored just three seconds into the power play, giving the River Hawks the 3-0 lead at 12:34 in the period.
“Lowell converted on their chances and we didn’t, plain and simple,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “Their goalie played great, made some key stops at the key moments, and that was the difference.”
Carter Hutton was in net for the River Hawks and stopped all 21 shots he saw. For Hutton, it was his third shutout of the season, and sixth of his career. The shutout was also the River Hawks’ first shut out of the season at home; their four previous shutouts this season all came on the road.
After committing five penalties in the first two periods, the River Hawks played penalty free in the third period, which allowed them to put the game away.
Dehner put the River Hawks up 4-0 at 6:27 in the final frame when he came in alone on Maine goaltender Scott Darling and netted the puck on a backhand.
Michael Budd got in on the action for the River Hawks at 15:13 in the third period. After Edwards’ shot from the point rebounded back out to the slot, it was Budd who was there to send it home.
Falite scored his second goal of the evening with less than 17 seconds remaining in the game, at 19:43 in the third. Nick Monroe went streaking up the right side of the ice and hit Falite with a perfect pass slightly behind him and in the middle of the ice, and Falite scored the goal the capped off the win.
Mass.-Lowell (17-5-2, 14-11-2 Hockey East) wraps up the regular season in fifth place, and with Vermont’s loss at New Hampshire, will take on fourth place Vermont in Burlington next weekend in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Maine (12-20-4, 7-17-3 HE) finishes in eighth place and should Boston University defeat Providence tomorrow, the Black Bears will be in Boston to take on top ranked BU next weekend in the Hockey East quarterfinals.