LOWELL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell River Hawks are able to rebound from a shocking loss on Friday night against Sacred Heart to beat their in-state rival Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday night, 5-2. Saturday night’s victory for the River Hawks marks the first win for goaltender Doug Carr since Jan. 26, 2013.
After a upset loss on Friday night, UMass Lowell standout goaltender Connor Hellebuyck took a seat on the bench while Carr took the ice in his first regular season start since Feb. 3, 2013. “I think overall as a team we really wanted a big effort tonight,” said Carr. “I was excited I had the opportunity to play and the guys played hard in front of me.”
Carr made 27 saves, surrendering two power-play goals on his way to the win. He stopped 14-of-15 shots fired at him during the third period.
Last season, the River Hawks began the season alternating their goaltending between Carr and Hellebuyck until the latter took over the starting role for good, leading the team to a Hockey East tournament championship and Frozen Four appearance.
“I wanted to give both [goaltenders] a game this weekend,” said UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin. “They’re both good goalies and they both need time to prove that.” It will be interesting to see how things pan out for the remainder of the regular season, likely Bazin will alternate goaltenders and play it game-by-game.
Joseph Pendenza was once again helpful to the River Hawks during the school’s opening weekend. The senior forward tallied a goal last night and scored the games second goal on Saturday night. Ryan McGrath and freshmen Chris Maniccia added a goal and an assist each, Michael Kapla added his second assist of the season and senior defenseman Joe Houk tallied his first goal in his Hockey East career, which ended up being the game-winning-goal.
A few freshmen seem to be fitting in well on the River Hawks roster. Maniccia and Kapla have two points each over their first two contests of their collegiate career.
“We have several areas we have to keep mending, keep refining,” Bazin said. “However, scoring the first goal was a big thing, good goaltending was a big deal for us, and an overall better compete level – those were the three big things for us tonight.”
The River Hawks win on Saturday night gives them a 1-0-0 lead in the Alumni Cup against the Massachusetts Minutemen. They will square off for the other two contests against the Minutemen in February to complete the cup. “We play for something called the Alumni Cup every year, and you can’t play for it if you don’t have a deciding contest,” said Bazin. “I’m not a huge fan of shootouts so game one tonight is a non-conference game and the other two will count in the league points.”
UMass Lowell welcomes fellow Frozen Four team Quinnipiac University to the Tsongas Center on Friday night and will visit the Bobcats in Connecticut on Saturday night.