River Hawks Stay Perfect for the Year
LOWELL -- New year, new team.
The UMass Lowell hockey team improved to 5-0 in 2019 with a solid 2-0 victory over Vermont for a Hockey East weekend sweep before 4,244 fans at the Tsongas Center on Saturday night.
UMass Lowell 2, Vermont 0
UML (13-8-1, 7-4-1) received goals from Ryan Dmowski (No. 7) and defenseman Mattias Goransson (No. 4), and a 25-save effort from junior Tyler Wall, who made his first start in net since a Dec. 29 loss to Denver.
“It feels good,” Dmowski said after UML’s fifth straight win, its longest streak of the season. “We’re doing all the little things and we’re finding ways to win.”
UML was coming off a wild 6-5 victory over the Catamounts 24 hours earlier in which 14 River Hawks registered points.
It’s likely coach Norm Bazin aged more than just one day when he celebrated his 48th birthday Friday. The coach isn’t a fan of defensive breakdowns and Friday’s game was full of them. It was the highest-scoring UML-Vermont meeting since UML skated to a 9-4 win on Feb. 21, 1984.
Bazin said Saturday’s win was more like it. Wall earned his third shutout of the season and sixth of his career. UML killed off all five Vermont power plays.
“I like some of the roles the guys are filling. I think they’re finding out what it takes to win. It’s a tough league,” Bazin said.
Vermont (8-13-1, 1-10-1) dropped its fifth straight. Vermont goaltender Stefanos Lekkas made 30 saves and overcame a tough start.
UML was dominant in the opening period Saturday, outshooting the Catamounts by a 19-5 margin and grabbing a 2-0 lead.
Dmowski tallied his 30th career goal at 10:21 after a nice backhand pass into the slot by Connor Sodergren.
Goransson made it 2-0 at 12:48 with the teams skating 4-on-4. The big defenseman was wide open cruising down the slot and his roommate, Ryan Lohin, spotted him. Goransson did the rest, sending a wrist shot past Lekkas.
Goransson almost tripled UML’s lead in the opening 20 minutes, but he was stopped on a penalty shot at 17:16. Goransson had been hooked on a breakaway by Dallas Comeau.
Due to the snow storm, the game was moved up one hour to 6 p.m., but the River Hawks were ready from the opening faceoff.
In the second period, UML was forced to kill off two early penalties, doing so with relative ease.
Wall wasn’t tested much in the opening 35 minutes, but he came up big late in the second period.
First, he denied Vlad Ozhioshvili at the right post while prone on the ice. He received a little luck with just under a minute left in the second when Matt O’Donnell’s slap shot rang off the right post. He then rejected an Alex Esposito one-timer from the slot with five seconds left, a huge save that kept UML ahead 2-0 after 40 minutes.