Hockey East: UMass Lowell shakes off rust with comeback win over Boston University

LOWELL, Mass. — UMass Lowell hasn’t played a lot of hockey over the last couple of weeks and won’t hit the ice again until the last week of December after its Hockey East home-and-home series with Boston University this weekend.

The River Hawks shook off a bit of rust Friday night at Tsongas Center and used a two-goal rally in the third period to down the Terriers, 3-2. Chris Forney and Ryan Collins scored the deciding goals for Lowell, which advanced to 9-7-0 overall and 6-5-0 in league action with its fifth victory in six contests.

“It was a back-and-forth game against another good Hockey East opponent. I thought we did some things well, and some others we have to improve upon,” said River Hawk head coach Norm Bazin, whose team had not played since a Nov. 28 overtime loss to Bentley. “The break is something we’ve had to navigate. It’s not great not playing games two weekends in a row, so we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

The River Hawks recorded 10 of the first 12 shots on goal in the final period and put two goals past BU sophomore Jake Oettinger in less than nine minutes.

Forney drove home a power-play goal of his own at 4:41, taking Kenny Hausinger’s feed at the top of the left circle. Just 4:01 later, the River Hawks scored the winner on the most fortunate of bounces as Ryan Collins’ centering pass to the net front bounced off BU defender Brien Diffley’s skate and slid by Oettinger.

“Two traffic goals is a positive. Two power-play goals is a positive,” Bazin said. “We’re trending in the right direction.”

BU jumped out of the gates with goals in the first minute of both the first and second periods. Brady Tkachuk got the scoring started just 42 seconds into the contest, beating Lowell junior Christoffer Hernberg on a rebound from the low slot.

The River Hawks did respond to the first goal against quickly, as Jake Kamrass deflected senior classmate Forney’s shot from above the right wing circle at 7:34. Forney and defense partner Tommy Panico traded passes at the points before Forney ripped the shot that led to Kamrass’ goal.

BU took a 2-1 lead on Drew Melanson’s power-play goal 36 seconds into the second and had multiple opportunities to pad its lead, but Hernberg made 10 saves in each of the last two periods to preserve his ninth victory.

Melanson’s goal was his first for BU. Jordan Greenway assisted on both Terrier goals.

“He’s played well. He’s been out of position at center for the last 10 games so I wanted to get him on the wing and maximize his ability,” BU head coach David Quinn said of Melanson, an RPI transfer. “Moving Bobo (Carpenter) gives us a little more depth down the middle with three natural centers. Obviously, it was good to see (Melanson) get his first goal.”

Hernberg’s diving stop on Shane Bowers’ rebound try with 1:37 left in the second was the game-saver. He also denied Bowers and freshman classmate Logan Cockerill on a nifty give-and-go play in the slot minutes earlier.

“Those were big saves because they keep you in the game. It was 2-1 at the time, so it could have been the insurance goal for them,” Bazin said. “I thought the third period was our best period. Hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come because we know how tough it is on the second day in Hockey East.”

Hockey East roundup

Merrimack 4, Army West Point 1

The Warriors cruised to a non-conference victory at Lawler Rink, scoring four unanswered goals after Army took the lead just 6:30 into the game.

Laine McKay tied the score with his first collegiate goal before Merrimack teammates Jace Hennig, Sami Tavernier, and Ludvig Larsson all found the back of the net on the power play.

Defenseman Jared Kolquist and Brett Seney combined for five assists for the Warriors, while Craig Pantano made 18 saves.

No. 9 Providence 8, RIT 3

Providence scored eight goals on 30 shots and had 14 players record at least one point in an easy home victory over Atlantic Hockey’s Tigers at Schneider Arena. The Friars built a 4-0 lead in the first period, including three goals in the first 4:53 of play.

Scott Conway and Brian Pinho each scored twice for PC, while Erik Foley led five multiple-point scorers with one goal – his team-leading 10th of the season – and two assists. Hayden Hawkey made 18 saves in the starting net for the Friars before Gabe Mollot-Hill made three in the final period.

Maine 7, Quinnipiac 4

It was a night of goal streaks for Maine in Hamden, Conn., as it became the first team to score seven times against Quinnipiac since 2010. Maine dug out of a 3-0 hole by the 10:18 mark of the second period as Tim Doherty and Patrick Holway scored on the power play.

Karlis Cukste gave the host Bobcats the lead just 2:50 into the third, but the Black Bears rattled off four straight to clinch their seventh win of the season.

Eduards Tralmaks scored two of Maine’s last four goals, while Cedric Lacroix’s first goal of the season at 15:41 was the game-winner. Maine was out-shot by a whopping 54-30 count, so Jeremy Swayman hit the 50-save mark in the win.

Connecticut 4, No. 16 Colgate 2

The Huskies enter the semester break as winners in five of their last six games after scoring pairs of goals in the second and third periods to down a nationally-ranked ECAC foe at XL Center.

UConn netted both of its tallies in the final frame on the power play; Johnny Austin scored the game-winner, while Maxim Letunov added an insurance tally to go along with two assists. Adam Huska earned his eighth victory of the season with 28 saves.