LOWELL, Mass. — Massachusetts-Lowell seized the lead five minutes into its game with Northeastern and never looked back, scoring three times in the second to put away the Huskies.
With the 4-0 win, the 14th-ranked River Hawks leapfrogged Providence into fifth place in Hockey East.
Freshman Scott Wilson scored twice to take over the team lead with 10 goals. Defenseman Daniel Furlong added a goal and an assist. Lowell goaltender Doug Carr recorded his third shutout, stopping 28 shots.
“We did a good job of playing 60 minutes,” UML coach Norm Bazin said. “That was our focus going in.”
Lowell moved to 13-6-0 overall and 8-5-0 in Hockey East. With Providence losing to Boston University, the River Hawks took over fifth place and are now two points behind Maine for the last home-ice berth while holding four games in hand.
“It’s game-to-game with us,” Bazin said when asked about the standings. “We’re not a team that can look too far ahead. We’re a workmanlike team and we know how we have to play to be successful.”
Lowell, now 6-1 at home, held a “Pucks & Paws Night” promotion in which fans were encouraged to bring their canine pets. A police dog dropped the ceremonial first puck. Some well-timed woofs added to the national anthem.
Northeastern’s loss makes it three straight for the Huskies following an impressive eight-game unbeaten streak highlighted by multiple road wins over highly-ranked opponents.
“They wanted it more than us,” NU coach Jim Madigan said. “They aren’t a fancy team; they just work their rear ends off. Congratulations to them. They were the better team by far. They just took it to us.
“We were soft on pucks, we weren’t very aggressive, and they moved us around the whole night. They beat us to all the loose pucks.”
Wilson got the River Hawks on the board at 5:49 of the first, taking a nice backhand pass left-to-right across the goalmouth from Joseph Pendenza. The goal came just five seconds after a power play expired, one in which Derek Arnold’s shot from the right point hit the crossbar.
Arnold made up for the near miss a minute and a half into the second. After rushing up the left wing, he cut in, and with Pendenza threatening on the far post, stuffed the puck past Chris Rawlings.
Furlong broke the game open midway through the period with a shorthanded goal. The sophomore took a two-on-one feed from Matt Ferreira and sniped his shot into the upper right corner.
“Matty Ferreira made a great play and chipped it by their ‘D’ and kept going,” Furlong said. “I saw open ice, so I jumped in with him and he made a good look to me.”
In the closing minute, Northeastern’s fading hopes flickered and then died. Husky forward Garrett Vermeersch shot and the puck trickled through the goal crease and wide. The puck promptly went up ice and Wilson roofed it for his second goal and an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
Northeastern’s last gasp came in the third period with a minute-long five-on-three, but Lowell penalty-killer Josh Holmstrom raced off on a breakaway, drawing a penalty to neutralize the Husky man advantage.
The two teams meet in the back end of their home-and-home weekend series at Matthews Arena on Saturday.