This Week in Hockey East: February 20, 1998

Well how about Hockey East’s Deadbeat President, Merrimack College’s Richard Santagati? Smilin’ Santagati flashes his pearly whites at the front of every Merrimack media guide, but flashes nothing but a stiletto into the underbelly of the hockey program all year long.

In case you missed it, Smilin’ Santagati chose not to look in the mirror for anything but an inspection of his perfectly groomed hair, and instead fired coach Ron Anderson, effective at the end of this season. (Athletic Director Robert DeGregorio had to carry out the execution, but it seems clear who loaded the bullets into the gun’s chambers.)

This, from the head of an administration that, until this year, never funded a full-time assistant coach. Of course, who needs a full-time assistant coach when you have a world-class arena like the Volpe Complex to attract recruits?

This, from the head of an administration that doesn’t even give control of the Volpe armpit to the athletic department for proper maintenance. Or so woefully underfunds the athletic department that even considering hiring someone to market the games — market the games? — is beyond consideration.

Does Smilin’ Santagati think that Lowell’s marketing people 15 minutes down Route 495 had nothing to do with the 4,685 people at a River Hawk game last Saturday while his own school has trouble getting into four figures?

The Merrimack administration has systematically starved its program and now seems shocked that it isn’t doing better in the standings. Anderson’s head was on the chopping block as soon as Smilin’ Santagati rewarded his coach’s first Hockey East playoff home ice with a measly one-year extension.

A one-year extension after Anderson’s selection as Division I Coach of the Year by the New England Hockey Writers. A one-year extension after he was a finalist for the Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year award.

If ever a contract was both symbolic and the first parting shot, the one-year extension was.

And so, major surgery has been performed. The heart has been removed. The cancer remains.

Glad to have brightened your day.


UNH’s Sean Matile set a new Hockey East career record with his sixth shutout in less than two years. This week’s Koho Player of the Week also tied his own single-season record of three.

BC’s Brian Gionta earned Rookie of the Week honors with three goals and three assists in the Eagles’ sweep of Merrimack, including the Friday night game-winner with 13 seconds remaining in regulation.

Last week’s record in picks: 7-2 Season’s record in picks: 108-60, .643

Hockey East Standings

No. 3 New Hampshire (21-5-1, 13-4-1 HEA, T-1st) vs. UMass-Amherst (5-20-2, 2-15-1 HEA, 9th)

Friday, 7 p.m., Whittemore Center, Durham, NH

Sunday, 2 p.m., Mullins Center, Amherst, MA TV-40

Last Friday, New Hampshire jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Providence and held on for a 4-2 win.

"We played well for the first half of the game," said coach Dick Umile. "After that, we got a little content, but give credit to Providence for getting back into the game. They persisted and got a couple goals, a shorthanded goal and then one on the power play."

On Saturday, the Wildcats "played a solid game for three periods," according to Umile, earning a 5-0 win.

"They’re a solid team," he said. "You’ve obviously got to play hard to beat them. You really want to get on top against Providence. You don’t ever want to play them from behind."

Sean Matile set a new Hockey East record for career shutouts with his sixth in less than two years. He also tied his own record of three in one season.

"Any team that gets into the playoffs and is going to get anywhere is going to need solid goaltending along with team defense," said Umile. "This year, that was a goal for us. We were committed to playing better team defense and obviously Sean Matile has played consistently well in goal.

"We’re going to set some kind of record for UNH in terms of goals against. There’s no question that those are important ingredients when you come down to playoff hockey. We feel that if we can get a couple goals with Sean Matile in the net for us, we’ve got a real good opportunity to win the game."

In Hockey East the last two years, the reputations have been that BU has had the best defense and UNH the best offense. Well, look who now has allowed the least number of goals in the league. Having played the same number of games, New Hampshire has given up 43 to the Terriers’ 44. And the Wildcats still lead the offensive category with 86 goals.

While BU boasts a returning All-American on the blue line in Chris Kelleher and Tom Poti as another in waiting, UNH’s defensemen have pretty much escaped the limelight.

"The guys have taken pride in quickly being labeled the No-Name defense," said Umile. "It’s led by Jayme Filipowicz, who is a sophomore for us, along with Steve O’Brien who’s a junior. We’ve got two juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen that are playing regularly for us.

"They’re a group of defensemen that are taking pride in playing solid defense along with our solid goaltending. There are no real big names, but I know how important they are, and our team knows how important they are. They see the ice well and make good decisions with the puck.

"Along with Sean, they’re keeping the puck out of the net and they’re minimizing the number of shots we’re giving up."

Aside from one loss to Miami right after the Christmas break, and another one more recently to Maine, the last of three tough games in six days, the Wildcats haven’t suffered a defeat since the middle of November.

Many Wildcat followers have developed a level of pessimism about the postseason usually reserved for Red Sox fans. But it says here that they should make plans for being in Boston the first week in April. This is the year the Wildcats drag the postseason boogeyman out of the closet and knock the stuffing out of it.

Of course, there is another month and a half until then and there are games to be played this weekend, specifically against UMass-Amherst. With Tim Lovell suspended indefinitely and the Minutemen reeling from lopsided losses in Maine, however, this looks about as even as the Christians versus the lions a couple millennia ago.

"They played us well the one time we played this season," countered Umile. "They came into our building, it was 3-1, and we didn’t score to make it four until late in the game.

"They’ll play us hard. They’ll be a team that will battle us the entire game. We have to go out and play the game like it’s any other game. You’ve got to earn it. Our team is focused on winning hockey games, so we’re not going to pay any attention to records. The minute you do that in Hockey East, you’re going to find yourself on the other end."

UMass-Amherst suffered 6-1 and 12-2 losses at the hands of Maine last weekend.

"We really didn’t feel the first game was a 6-1 game," said coach Joe Mallen. "It really wasn’t that bad a game. The second night was just one of those nights where they started out on fire. They came out hitting on all cylinders and we couldn’t get going. A couple goals led to a couple more goals and we just couldn’t stop the bleeding. It wound up being a long night."

Mallen suspended Tim Lovell before the series for a violation of team rules.

"We have certain principles that we want our players to uphold," said Mallen. "Tim crossed the line on some of those principles. It doesn’t make a difference if we lose 12-0 or 2-0, it’s a loss. I’d rather try to uphold what I think is proper discipline and proper player accountability."

As of this writing, no determination has been made on the length of the suspension. Coupled with Brad Norton’s unhappy departure for the pros a couple weeks ago, the Minutemen are now without their two team captains and appear lacking in team chemistry

"I don’t think that chemistry-wise it’s been ideal all season," said Mallen. "And that’s with those two guys in the lineup. I just think that we’ve had some strange things happen to us that have led to our circumstances.

"But one thing I can say about this team is that the chemistry, from the beginning until now, hasn’t clicked at 100 percent. We’re trying to find a way to resolve that."

Unfortunately for the Minutemen, they’ll be trying to fix the team chemistry while the most combustible team in the East faces them for a home-and-home series — not to mention two against BU next weekend.

"We knew that the month of February was going to be a tough, long month against top competition," said Mallen. "Everything has come to fruition where UNH and BU have come to the top. There’s not much we can do about it. We joined this league to be involved in the best competition in the country and we’ll definitely see it this month."

PICKS: This could be as ugly as some of those sumo wrestlers on the Olympic telecasts. UNH, 7-1 and 6-0.

No. 4 Boston University (21-5-2, 12-4-2 HEA, 3rd) vs.

Providence College (13-13-3, 7-10-2 HEA, 7th)

Friday, 7 p.m., Schneider Arena, Providence, RI

Saturday, 7 p.m., Walter Brown Arena, Boston, MA WABU-TV68

Boston University opened last weekend with a 5-2 loss to UMass-Lowell at home that was not as close as even the three-goal margin. After the game, coach Jack Parker was brutally candid about his team’s performance.

"They played smarter than us, they outworked us, they took it to us in our own building and we acted like we didn’t care," he said. "I’m surprised it was a 5-2 game. It should have been 10-2.

"Lowell played real good; we played lousy. Lowell played with a lot of heart and spunk; we had neither. Lowell looked disciplined and smart; we were dumb and uncaring.

"Colin Sheen gave us a heckuva game. Mike Sylvia gave us a strong game. Chris Drury worked like hell. Everyone else stunk the house out.

"I never thought I’d be associated with a BU team that would take a dive after a Beanpot like they took a dive. That’s for other schools to do, not for us. It was an embarrassment to see us go out there after the first period and continue the way we did….I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow night. You can’t bench them all.

"Mentally, we were never there and Lowell was there for 60 minutes."

If Parker isn’t a master of team psychology, then no one is. He could have dismissed the loss as a Beanpot hangover or noted that a team with so many inexperienced faces might have to endure such letdowns or explained that after a seven-game win streak his team was due for a stinker. Instead, he pointed out that the emperor indeed had no clothes and issued as public a challenge to his team as possible.

Ten minutes into the rematch at Lowell, the Terriers led 3-0 on the strength of two goals by Drury, who would eventually record a hat trick, and another by Sylvia. BU won 5-1.

"How inept we were on Friday and how unfocused we were on Friday made it more urgent that we be ready to play on Saturday," said Parker. "And we certainly were. Things fell our way, too. The goaltender didn’t have a great night for Lowell. Michel Larocque played well for us. But more than anything else, it was just that we were so bad the night before."

That Drury and Sylvia led the rebound should surprise no one.

"It certainly wasn’t unexpected that those were the guys that said, ‘That wasn’t us last night. We’re not going to let that happen again,’" said Parker.

The loss isn’t something that Parker or his team will dwell on now.

"It’s water under the bridge," he said. "It’s something you learn from and hopefully move on from. But I remember a few years ago, we won the Beanpot and then went down to Providence and lost 8-1, so it’s not the first time it’s happened to us. It’s not the first time that teams involved in the Beanpot had a letdown, win or lose.

"It’s a weird emotional thing for the Beanpot to be in the middle of the long winter hockey season. You go out and play those two games and then you’re back to the winter hockey season. It’s always been a tough challenge. The Beanpot certainly is exciting, but once it’s over, it has nothing to do with what we’re really all about. So it’s not unusual that that would happen."

Looking at the stretch run, Parker sees one primary concern.

"The constant question mark with us is our offensive output, whether it be on the power play or five-on-five," he said. "We get opportunities and we just don’t seem to bury them. It’s not for lack of shots or lack of time in the offensive zone. It’s just that we seem to be making goaltenders look good.

"It may be the case that there are a lot of good goaltenders in our league. That seems to have something to do with it. Goal scoring is down everywhere. But it also seems that we have some opportunities and take them for granted and all of a sudden we don’t get a goal."

This week, the Terriers take on Providence, with whom six weeks ago they had a scoreless game for over 59 minutes until Jeff Kealty provided the 1-0 margin.

The Friars are one of the most physical teams in the league. Other than Mike Omicioli and a select few, they are a collection of redwoods that like to use their size in the corners. For past BU squads, this would match strength against strength. Not so this year.

"We’ve come to the realization that we’re not that type of team," said Parker. "We’re more of a speed-oriented, quickness type of team. We have a lot of smaller or decent-sized forwards, but we don’t have any Doug Friedmans or Mike Griers or John Pratts.

"You can’t have just one of them. If you’re going to be a physical team, you have to have three or four of those type of guys. We don’t have those type of guys anymore. Certainly, we’ve got guys that play physical, play hard and play through people, but there isn’t the immense physical presence that we’ve had through most of the nineties.

"In some ways, that’s very bad. In other ways, it just changes our style. We’re not looking for that anymore. It’s just not going to happen."

Providence lost two to New Hampshire last weekend, beginning with a 4-2 game on Friday night. The Wildcats took a 3-0 first period lead, but PC came back to make it 3-2 before a UNH open-netter.

"We played a good game, but came out of the gate slow," said coach Paul Pooley. "In the second and third period, we really picked it up, played well and had a chance to tie the game. It was a good effort on our part.

"I think we went into that game thinking that UNH was a really good team and we came out watching. When we started playing, we got thinking that, hey, we could play with these guys. And we did."

UNH shut the Friars out 5-0 on Saturday.

"It was a great effort, but a couple things just unraveled. We missed some great chances. We hit the crossbar and they came down and scored on a turnover. The third period we played pretty well, but the second period was our nemesis again.

"We’ve got to score early and get in front and make ourselves feel good. When we do that, as opposed to having to come from behind, we’re a different team. Against UNH, if you get down two or three goals, you have to take chances and they just wait [and take advantage]. They’re very good in transition, [Mark] Mowers, [Tom] Nolan, [Jason] Krog and [Derek] Bekar. They can do some damage on you."

The Friars now move from No. 3 UNH to No. 4 BU, their two likeliest playoff opponents unless they can make a move in the standings.

"Every game is big for us from now on," said Pooley. "It’s a confidence thing.

"You’ve got to get good goaltending to win. Every team does, no matter who they are. So our goaltending and our specialty teams will be key. We need to stick with our system — we didn’t give up any odd-man advantages up at UNH. I think that’s why we stayed in that game, for the most part.

"BU is going to be a challenge for us; I’m excited to play them at this time of the year."

Boyd Ballard, who looked so exceptional in the first half but faltered in mid-January and hasn’t played the last two weekends, will be replacing Mark Kane in the nets for at least one of the two games.

"It was good for Boyd to sit and relax a little bit," said Pooley. "I’m hoping he’s really eager to get back in there. I’m hoping he’s hungry. I hope he wasn’t happy to see Mark play.

"That’s an intangible. You’ve got to be hungry to get back in. But I think he’s ready to play a game this weekend, if not two."

PICKS: BU, still stinging from its loss on Friday night, sweeps 3-2 and 4-2.

Maine (12-12-3, 9-10-2 HEA, 5th) at

Northeastern (17-11-2, 10-6-2 HEA, 4th)

Friday, 7 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston, MA FOXNE

Saturday, 7 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston, MA AudioNet

This series will likely determine the fourth and final home ice berth for the playoffs. Maine needs at least three of the four points to stay alive. For the Huskies, a split will be good enough to eliminate the Black Bears, but might not be enough to avoid getting caught from behind by UMass-Lowell.

Northeastern took a pratfall last weekend,

losing to Army 6-5.

That had a disastrous effect on their Pairwise Ranking, dropping them to 16th.

"We’ve had some pretty good success so far, but you’ve still got to put it in the context that we are playing 18 freshmen and sophomores," said coach Bruce Crowder. "Things like that will happen with a veteran team. I thought we played well and we had some chances here and there. But I thought Army played very well. They deserved to win the hockey game.

"With our guys, we’re at the point in the year where everybody’s expectations are maybe a little ahead of where they should be."

As a result, Crowder isn’t going to dwell on the loss, but move forward.

"We’ve got six big games coming up, starting with Maine coming in after they absolutely destroyed Amherst," he said. "We have to just play our game. We have to keep it simple.

"We’re going to have to keep Steve Kariya in check. We’re going to have to stay out of the penalty box, because their power play is excellent. And we have to play for 60 minutes.

"We’re a team that needs everybody playing for 60 minutes. We can’t rely on half the team or three-quarters of the team. We need 100 percent from everybody for us to be successful. I know that that’s what we didn’t get on Friday night."

The Huskies hope to get Scott Campbell and David Dupont, two of the three junior-seniors who have played regularly, back from injury. They are both day-to-day. Campbell has resumed skating.

Unfortunately, that can’t be said for sophomore defenseman Aaron Toews. Toews suffered a neck injury in a Jan. 30 loss to New Hampshire and has sadly had to call it a career.

Maine demolished UMass-Amherst, 6-1 and 12-2 last weekend.

"I think we caught them at the right time," said a gracious Shawn Walsh. "In retrospect, the timing of Tim Lovell’s departure may have adversely affected their mindset."

As for the Black Bears’ mindset, scoring 18 goals on a weekend could be just what the doctor ordered.

"I was just concerned with us stepping up our game," said Walsh. "I think we’ve played pretty well over the last couple months. It was nice to see the puck finally go in the net for us.

"The second night, we really had jump. I think what happened was that after we scored six the first night, it relaxed everybody. We were making plays that I didn’t see us make earlier when we were kind of tight."

The Black Bears got offensive contributions from an almost absurdly diverse cast. Six different players scored on Friday and an eye-catching 10 on Saturday.

"That was encouraging," said Walsh. "We didn’t rely on Stevie [Kariya] to provide the offense. A lot of our freshmen really stepped up and contributed."

Now, Maine prepares for its pivotal trip to Matthews Arena. Two weeks ago, the Huskies visited Orono and opened some eyes with a 5-3 win.

"Certainly, we saw how good Northeastern is," said Walsh. "I don’t think there’s any fluke about how they’ve played. To me, they’re just a terrific team that’s very underrated and has a lot of talented players that only now people are beginning to notice."

Walsh sees one key element of his team’s play that must improve from the game two weeks ago.

"We have to play sounder defensively," he said. "We gave up eight or nine odd-man rushes against them. You just can’t do that."

If Maine does have a successful weekend, say, picking up the three of four points that it needs at a minimum, it could parlay that into a great deal of momentum going into the playoffs. After this weekend, the Black Bears have remaining only two games against Nebraska-Omaha and another against UMass-Amherst. That could mean only one loss in their final nine regular-season games.

"[Momentum] is a factor, because it affects how your players think and how relaxed they are on the ice surface," said Walsh. "For our team, we’re now back to .500. It’s been a tough road and it’s been a climb. Our schedule has been very difficult in January and we knew that February would be different. You just keep on improving each and every game.

"We’ve got some guys who are now really starting to play. Robert Ek has become maybe our best defenseman. He’s just played terrific. He’s given us a stabilizing force back there that we haven’t had. Things like that are making us a better team. We’ve just got to continue in that direction."

PICKS: Northeastern, 3-2, in overtime on Friday night. Maine, 4-3, on Saturday.

UMass-Lowell (11-13-3, 8-8-3 HEA, 6th) vs. Merrimack (9-19-1, 4-15-0 HEA, 8th)

Friday, 7 p.m., Paul E. Tsongas Arena, Lowell, MA

Saturday, 7 p.m., Volpe Complex, North Andover, MA

UMass-Lowell stunned Boston University on Saturday, beating them in all phases of the game as well as 5-2 on the scoreboard.

"It was a good team effort and that was our focus tonight," said coach Tim Whitehead after the game. "We wanted to play 60 or 65 minutes from start to finish with no letups. Win, lose or draw, we just wanted to play the game hard and let the chips fall from there.

"We worked hard. I was pleased with the team effort and that every one was contributing in one way or another."

One week earlier, BU had used a flurry of power-play goals to dust off the River Hawks 7-3.

"We made a couple adjustments, but there really were no secrets," said Whitehead. "We just worked hard, five-on-five and shorthanded. That was our goal."

Some dismissed Lowell’s performance, preferring to chalk it up to a Beanpot hangover for the Terriers.

"I’ve heard that in the past," said Whitehead, "but I’ve been in the league eight years now and BU does not seem to be fazed by it. So that was the last thing on our minds. We didn’t even talk about it."

Beanpot hangover or not, Lowell was greatly aided by finally having a healthy lineup. For the first time since late November, Mike Nicholishen and Chris Libett, the two River Hawk senior defenseman, both played in the same game. Several other players returned from short-term injuries for the game at the intimidating Walter Brown Arena.

"We had some seniors back in the lineup and they were a good calming effect on all the freshmen and sophomores," said Whitehead. I hope we can keep them in there for the stretch run. It’s really nice to have these guys back from their injuries.

"They’ve been through the atmosphere [here at Walter Brown Arena] and have been through some tough games here, so I think that was a big difference for us. Their leadership was real strong."

Marty Fillion played in his second straight game — the first a 3-1 win over UMass-Amherst — and made three terrific saves late in the first period to keep BU off its game.

"It had been a while since he’d been in there," said Whitehead. "We felt that in the stretch run it was going to be important for our seniors to really lead the way. He got the call against Amherst and I thought it was a great first game for him.

"Scott Fankhouser has done a nice job, too. It’s good to know that there’s a chance that we’ll have two strong goaltenders down the stretch. We just felt that as a senior, Marty would come to play. Down the stretch, the games are going to mean a lot to the seniors."

Another senior, Shannon Basaraba, the only upperclassman to have played in all this year’s games, scored a goal and added an assist. He noted, "When guys see that we can beat BU like this, then there’s no reason we can’t go into other games with the same attitude and know that we can win."

Unfortunately for the River Hawks, though, they couldn’t make it a back-to-back sweep over BU the way they did two years ago on the way to an NCAA quarterfinal appearance. In the rematch, BU scored three times in the first ten minutes en route to a 5-1 win.

"BU really came out to play early in the game and our guys did not," said Whitehead. "That first 10 minutes knocked us out. Falling behind three goals to BU is a tough one to climb back from.

"We had a real strong second period; we outshot them two-to-one, but that was after the fact. They did the damage they needed to do in the first and they played well and continued to do what they had to do to win the game. They clearly outplayed us.

"We outplayed them on the first night and they soundly outplayed us on the second night."

Fankhouser gave up the three early goals on Saturday and was replaced by Fillion a few minutes later. Although no decision has yet been made on who will start this weekend, Fillion seems a solid bet to start at least one of the two games.

Still, splitting with BU has given the River Hawks an outside chance at home ice, depending on how the Northeastern-Maine series pans out. If those two teams split while Lowell sweeps Merrimack, the River Hawks will have passed Maine and be only one point astern of Northeastern for home ice. "We’ve got to play well at home on Friday," said Whitehead, whose Hawks lost their first two games in the new Tsongas Arena. "We’ve been like a visiting team here. Part of that is understandable with a new arena, but we had such a big home ice advantage at the Tully, we really have to grab that back.

"We can’t wait till next year to grab home ice advantage because every game is crucial. We’ve got to play well in our own building on Friday night and then worry about Saturday night when that happens."

Although they’re 0-2 in the new facility, both crowds have been great. A sellout crowd of 6,496 christened the building on Jan. 27, but many of the high rollers in attendance didn’t know the proverbial blue line from a clothes line. Lowell followed that up, however, with 4,685 against BU.

"We’re real pleased at the crowd that was there," said Whitehead. "We just need to get some more students out and we’ll be set. We’re getting great community support. Hopefully, the students will jump on board and then we’ll be really happy.

"But we’re really excited about the crowds we’ve had the first two nights. That was more than any game we ever had at the Tully."

Prior to the hatchet job performed on coach Ron Anderson, the Merrimack Warriors took Boston College into the final 13 seconds before a Brian Gionta goal gave

the Eagles a 4-3 Friday night win.

One night later, BC completed the sweep, 4-1.

"[Friday night,] we had a lot more energy," said Anderson after the game. "We’re not a real swift-skating team, so it’s hard for us to play two nights in a row against a team that can handle the puck the way BC can.

"We didn’t have as good legs tonight as we had last night. And they looked a little quicker than they were last night. That’s a bad combination when you have the talent that they have. Our effort was there and our will and determination were there, but we just didn’t have the physical presence tonight."

Both nights, BC scored twice on the power-play, capitalizing on its league-leading man-advantage unit against Merrimack’s league-worst penalty-kill.

"We need experience back there [shorthanded]," said Anderson. "It’s a combination of goaltending, defense and our forwards recognizing situations. When they get the man advantage and have the firepower they have out there, they should score goals, no matter who you have out there."

Merrimack’s trio of Martin Laroche, Kris Porter and Rejean Stringer — who should also score goals, no matter who is out there against them — has struggled of late and are no longer a unit. Porter has only one point, a goal, in the last four games; Stringer has only one point, an assist, in the last six; and Laroche has only one point, a goal, in the last seven.

"They’re being checked a little tighter and all of a sudden they’re not freewheeling as much as they were," said Anderson. "They’re not playing as strong as they were before because of that. Instead of fighting their way through the traffic into opportunities, they’re looking around for them and they’re just not there. People are covering them pretty close."

At the other end, goaltender Tom Welby turned in his most impressive performance to date on Friday night, stopping 44 of 48 shots.

"He played well," said Anderson. "He’s given us a couple of good games. We’re reasonably pleased with his progress. He’s gone through a bit of transition as a freshman, but he’s making some strides."

Despite Welby’s fine performance, Anderson came back with usual starter Cris Classen on Saturday.

"Cris is like a freshman as well, so we’re trying to develop them both," said Anderson. "We’d like to think that come next year, we’ll have two guys that will have played a lot this year and can both play next year."

Newcomer John Pyliotis, a freshman who joined the team in January, has started to show his stuff and is now left wing on a line with converted defenseman Ryan Guzior and Casey Kesselring. He has recorded three points in his last four games.

"He’s working real hard, trying to improve himself," said Anderson. "That’s all you can ask. He’s really like a first-semester freshman. He’s going to be a fine player because he works hard and he pays attention to the little things."

The Warriors will try to stop their seven-game losing streak this weekend against UMass-Lowell.

"They’re playing well," said Anderson. "We have periods of good play, but we just have to pull it together and be a little more consistent over two nights."

PICKS: UMass-Lowell sweeps, 4-2, 4-1.