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A Trip Down Memory Lane for Sodergren

January 11, 2019
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BILLERICA -- It was just like old times for Connor Sodergren.

While most of his UMass Lowell teammates weren’t very familiar with the Hallenborg Ice Pavilion, the site of Wednesday afternoon’s practice, Sodergren looked right at home, not surprising given that Sodergren grew up a short ride away in Tewksbury.

UML hockey notes

Sodergren played games at the rink next to Billerica High School at the Squirt and Mite levels.

“It brings back great memories to me,” he said before the team hopped on the bus for the eight-mile trip back to campus. “I remember the drives coming here early in the morning and my parents driving me.”

The Hallenborg isn’t a state-of-the-art arena like UML’s home rink, the Tsongas Center.

One day after upsetting second-ranked UMass last Friday night, the River Hawks practiced at Janas Rink in Lowell, another older facility.

UML head coach Norm Bazin doesn’t mind when his team occasionally has to practice off campus. It reminds guys of their roots, he said.

“I was telling the guys that this is a great hockey town,” Bazin said of Billerica before praising the Hallenborg staff. “Billerica does a great job of maintaining the ice.”

Billerica has produced excellent players for UML through the years, from Paul Ames to Dean Jenkins to Kory Falite, to name just a few.

The 2018-19 River Hawks seemingly like to travel -- they are 7-3 in away games and just 2-5-1 in what is usually the friendly confines of the Tsongas Center.

“If I knew what the problem was,” Bazin said of the home record, “I would fix it.”

SCOUTING COLGATE: The River Hawks left Thursday morning for Hamilton, N.Y., and a weekend series against ECAC member Colgate.

Colgate (6-10-2) was struggling before defeating Quinnipiac and Princeton on the road last weekend.

Both games will begin at 7:30 p.m.

In an interesting twist, UML first-year assistant coach Juliano Pagliero will return to Colgate, where he spent the previous three seasons as an assistant.

Bazin said he’ll certainly ask Pagliero for his insight into Colgate “but you’ve still got to play the game.”

Colgate, averaging only 1.6 goals per game, is led offensively by Bobby McMann (5 goals, 6 assists). Mitch Benson (5-8-2, 3.01 goals against average) has played the majority of time in net.

UML is led in scoring by junior Ryan Lohin, who has 13 points in 14 games. Kenny Hausinger (5-5-10) and Charlie Levesque (2-8-10) are tied for second.

Christoffer Hernberg is coming off a terrific performance in net in the win over UMass.

UML has played two opponents since its Christmas break -- Denver is currently No. 3 in the nation, UMass is No. 2.

LOOSE PUCKS: Bazin was thrilled to learn that C.J. Smith tallied his first NHL goal as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-1, on Tuesday night. Smith scored 125 points in three seasons (2104-17) under Bazin.

One of Smith’s linemates, Joe Gambardella, remains in the NHL as well with the Edmonton Oilers.

Incoming recruit Matthew Brown continues to shine in the United States Hockey League. The Des Moines forward tallied two assists to lead Team West to a 5-3 win over Team East in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday. Another UML recruit, Andre Lee, also skated in the game. Lee skates for Sioux Falls, which also recently added Carl Berglund to its roster. Berglund and Lee are both from Sweden and both committed to UML. ... Freshman Sam Knoblauch and senior Connor Wilson lead the team in shooting percentage. Knoblauch has scored on four of his 19 shots (21.1 percent) and Wilson has scored on five of his 24 shots (20.8 percent).

Follow Barry Scanlon on Twitter@BarryScanlonSun

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