Scoring heats up as UMass Lowell tops Michigan State

Michigan State Win (Photo/Justin Soderberg/View from 123)

Connor Hellebuyck wins his first game of the season. (Photo/Justin Soderberg/View from 123)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – UMass Lowell rebounded from a two-game sweep by the Quinnipiac Bobcats last weekend to defeat Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. on Friday night, 4-1.

“I think chemistry is earned. I think if we can put together two or three games of solid, compete hockey, chemistry will develop. This weekend will go a long way in some of that bonding,” UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin said before Friday night’s game.

Joseph Gambardella was the first UMass Lowell River Hawk to get on the board tonight at the Munn Ice Arena. Gambardella tallied his first career collegiate goal at 12:33 in the first period, assisted by fellow freshman Michael Kapla.

Gambardella, who tallied 15 goals along with 21 assists for 36 points last season for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League, already earned his first point of the season during the River Hawks’ 3-1 loss to Quinnipiac a week ago.

UMass Lowell was lead by the team veterans on Friday night, 3-0f-4 goals were scored by a junior or senior. Stephen Buco tallied his first goal of the season, upping the score to 2-0 at 8:52 in the second.

The River Hawks managed to score only their second power-play goal of the season when Josh Holmstrom tallied his first goal of the season at 7:08 in the third period, giving UMass Lowell the 3-0 lead.

Following a Michigan State goal at 8:48 in the third by Mackenzie MacEachern, Joseph Pendenza notched his team leading third goal of the season and all but sealing the deal for the River Hawks with only 2:36 left in regulation.

Connor Hellebuyck, one of three UMass Lowell players playing in front of a “home” crowd, picked up his first win of the young season with his most solid performance of the season, finishing with 24 saves. Hellebuyck was only 11:12 away from earning his first shutout of the season.

After back-to-back games last weekend with only a single goal per game, scoring four goals will do wonders for the River Hawks heading into Ann Arbor, Mich. on Saturday night. The River Hawks face the No. 4 nationally ranked University of Michigan at the Yost Ice Arena.

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Justin Soderberg has covered the UMass Lowell River Hawks and Hockey East for over two years. Soderberg also contributes to Boston Bruins coverage for Inside Hockey. Follow him on twitter: @JMSoderberg