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College Hockey:
Holmstrom returns home to help Massachusetts-Lowell upend Colorado College

— No. 19 Colorado College ran into a good defensive team in No. 10 Massachusetts-Lowell and was unable to break through in a 3-1 home loss to the River Hawks.

UML junior center Joseph Pendenza scored on a rebound off a hard shot by Josh Holmstrom to put UMass-
Lowell up 2-1 with 12:49 left in the third period.

Holmstrom’s shot from the left faceoff circle bounced off CC goalie Josh Thorimbert’s leg pads to the right circle, where Pendenza was alone for the uncontested shot.

Stephen Buco added an empty-netter with 29.8 seconds left for the final margin.

It was a big homecoming of Colorado Springs native Holmstrom before an announced crowd of 7,301 at Colorado Springs World Arena.

Colorado College (3-1-0) had its chances with a power play late in the third period, but only two shots ended up on net against a good River Hawks’ defense.

“Going 0-for-3 on the power play killed us,” Tigers’ coach Scott Owens said. “We felt pretty good at 1-1 going into the third. It was just a matter of which team blinked first.”

UML blocked 18 shots, including one on CC’s final rush up ice, and kept their stickblades in the CC passing lanes, slowing down the Tigers in transition.

“That was a focus for sure,” said UML associate head coach Jason Lammers, who along with head coach Norm Bazin, both worked as CC assistants. “We know all too well how good they are coming up the ice. We did not do that well [Friday] night. We wanted them to earn their ice.”

CC sophomore defenseman Aaron Harstad’s shot from between the circles through traffic clanged in off the left post to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:35 left in the second period to set up an exciting third period.

“It’s a relief to finally get it out of the way,” Harstad said of his first goal as a Tiger. “They were very good at defending the back side with their forwards. It is definitely a learning experience.”

The goal was set up by William Rapuzzi and Alexander Krushelnyski, who passed around the UML zone out to the blue line where Harstad took the shot. It was one of the few shots to get through the River Hawks’ defense. CC trailed in shots on goal 25-18 after UML out shot the hosts 11-6 in the first period.

Thorimbert put in a strong second period recording 13 saves, including five in the first four minutes, while making a glove save with 3:06 left that kept the game tied.

He finished with 36 saves but was outplayed by junior netminder Doug Carr, who recorded 27 stops and made a number of big saves off rebounds to frustrate the Tigers. UML (1-1-1) was also quick to collapse on its own net, denying openings for shots.

“Josh played pretty well,” Owens said. “Carr is the best goalie in the East and probably the country. They showed why they are a No. 7-9 team with Carr backstopping them.”

Lowell freshman Ryan McGrath beat three Tigers to the puck at center ice and pulled away from the two CC defensemen to generate a breakaway that he cashed in from short range against Thorimbert for a 1-0 lead.

UML dominated play for much of the first period and showed plenty of speed to handle the Olympic-sized sheet. Despite that, CC came close to scoring, but Carr made a huge glove save on a rebound attempt by Rylan Schwartz with 8:23 left to preserve the 1-0 lead.

“We were a little dull,” Owens said. “It was a bit of a hangover from [Friday] night [a 6-2 road win over Air Force]. They are a good team and a hungry team who were trying to salvage the weekend after losing [5-1 at No. 7 Denver] on Friday.”

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