Massachusetts-Lowell downs Boston University, gets rare season sweep


When Massachusetts-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin was a student at Lowell, he was a criminal justice major.

When he got his master’s degree, it was in educational administration.

But when it comes to hockey and facing Boston University, Bazin is clearly a history major.

In 1994, Bazin was a senior on the team that beat the Terriers for just the second time in 33 games. He knows that even since that time, Lowell has struggled to earn victories against BU.

So on Saturday night, when the River Hawks beat the Terriers 3-1 to earn a season sweep for just the second time since the clubs began playing in 1983 and win the season series in consecutive years for the first time ever, Bazin wasn’t afraid to relish the history.

“In my time here as a player and as an assistant coach, I didn’t have too many wins against BU,” said Bazin. “So I’m going to take some time to sit back and enjoy this.

“[BU is] a good organization and we respect them a great deal, but this weekend was our turn.”

Despite a lopsided shot count (39-16) and time of possession in favor of the River Hawks, the game was hardly a cakewalk. In fact, when BU’s Even Rodrigues took advantage of a Lowell turnover and wrapped the puck around the net and past UML netminder Connor Hellebucyk (15 saves), BU climbed within a goal at 2-1 with 11:35 remaining.

But often-forgotten center Joseph Pendenza did what he does best, creating room for himself on a rush and burying a shot five-hole on BU netminder Sean Maguire (36 saves) with 7:55 left.

From there, BU killed comeback hopes with penalties and never threatened to even the game.

“It’s a huge concern,” said BU coach Jack Parker about the penalties his team took which resulted in 10 power plays for UMass-Lowell. “Penalties have been a concern for us all year long. It’s killing us.”

Lowell controlled the play for much of the first period, outshooting the Terriers 12-4. Thanks to Maguire, though, the only blemish was a laser shot under the crossbar by Lowell sophomore Scott Wilson at 5:47. Finding room on the left wing side, Wilson unleashed a shot over the blocker of Maguire for a 1-0 lead.

In the second, the River Hawks had ample opportunity to extend the lead thanks to three BU penalties. It wasn’t until the third man advantage that Lowell could solve Maguire and even then, it took an extraordinary effort.

After a failed BU attempt at a shorthanded three-on-two, the River Hawks skated back four-on-oneMaa. After Maguire robbed Pendenza on a doorstep feed from Derek Arnold, late man Chad Ruhwedel dug the puck from behind the goal line and roofed it before Maguire could come to his feet.

BU had its best chance of the period to climb within a goal at 13:32 when BU captain Wade Megan had a blocked shot carom right to his stick. With a quick release one-timer, the puck appeared headed for the empty net before Hellybucyk threw his glove out to make the save.

The victory for Lowell (18-9-2, 12-8-2 Hockey East) is its fourth straight and 14th in its last 17 games. It pulls the River Hawks into a tie with Boston College for fourth place in Hockey East, but just two points behind New Hampshire and Providence, both tied for first place.

The lost weekend for the Terriers (14-14-2, 11-9-2 Hockey East) drops them from third to begin the weekend all the way to sixth.