UMass Lowell downs New Hampshire in overtime thriller

(Photo/Hockey East Association)

(Photo/Hockey East Association)

DURHAM, N.H. – The regulation 60-minutes weren’t enough for the UMass Lowell River Hawks and New Hampshire Wildcats to decide a winner on Saturday night. It took an extra 3:17 into the overtime period for UMass Lowell forward Derek Arnold to tally the game-winning-goal, downing New Hampshire, 3-2.

“I saw a ton of room, and I had to take the shot,” Arnold said. “I got it elevated, and it was lucky to go post and in.”

After a scoreless opening period, New Hampshire was able to get on the board 10:28 into the second period on a Brett Pesce goal. The second period goal was the first of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes draft pick.

Joseph Pendenza evened the score at the 17:24 mark of the second period while UMass Lowell had the man advantage. The River Hawks’ power play has been much improved since the first few games of the season and went 2-for-5 during Saturday night’s victory, including Arnold’s game-winner during overtime period.

In addition to an outstanding power play, the River Hawks killed 4-of-5 penalty kills.

River Hawks defenseman and assistant captain Zack Kamrass assisted on all three UMass Lowell goals on Saturday night to improved his season point total to four points (all assists).

UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin called upon Doug Carr for the start in net during the back half of the home-and-home series against New Hampshire. After starting, and winning, three straight games for the River Hawks, Connor Hellebuyck took a seat on the bench and it turned out to be the right decision. Carr made 27 saves to pick up his second win of the season.

The River Hawks sweep of the Wildcats improves their current win streak to four games, puts them two games above .500 overall this season at 5-3-0 and undefeated in Hockey East play at 2-0-0.

“It was a great weekend,” said Bazin. “Whenever you can pick up points against a quality opponent like UNH, you’ve got to be very pleased. It wasn’t a work of art, but we plugged through the first period, and I thought we got better as the game went along. Both the penalty kill and the power play were big factors this weekend.”

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NEXT WEEKEND: UMass Lowell will honor the victims, survivors and first responders of the Boston Marathon bombing with “River Hawk Strong Night” on Saturday, Nov. 9 prior to the UMass Lowell vs. Northeastern game at 7:00 p.m. eastern. Marathon bombing survivors Celeste and Sydney Corcoran of Lowell, Karen Rand of Somerville and Roseann Sdoia of Dracut will drop the ceremonial first puck. They will be joined on the ice by first responders. A portion of the ticket sales from the game will support Boston Marathon bombing survivors through America’s Fund and the UMass Lowell Boston Marathon Scholarship Fund.

Following the Saturday night tilt, the River Hawks travel to Princeton University for a rare Tuesday night game on Nov. 12 and then off to Penn State University for a two game series on Nov. 14 and 15.

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