UNH took an early lead at nine minutes, 43 seconds on a breakaway, shorthanded goal off the stick of Grayson Downing and would proceed to score the next three goals in the game to race out to the 4-0 lead on the River Hawks. The goal was Downing’s sixth of the season. He would later score his second of the game, while Kevin Goumas and John Henrion also scored for UNH. The 4-0 lead was more than enough for UNH and they would hold on for the 5-2 victory over Lowell.
UNH improves to 10-1-2 on the year with the victory and 7-1-1 in Hockey East, while UML falls to 4-6-1, 2-4-1. Coupled with a BC loss to BU on Friday night, the win moved the Wildcats to within one point of the Eagles in the Hockey East standings, with a game in hand. The loss was the first for UML in three games and UNH is unbeaten in seven tilts.
What I saw
- Lowell actually played really well in the first two periods but so did UNH. The Wildcats took advantage of every mistake that the River Hawks made. Turnovers and bad positioning gave UNH many opportunities in the slot and on the breakaway. Grayson Downing capitalized for a shorthanded goal 9:43 into the first and it seemed as though that one play was microcosm of the game.
- UNH has become really good at making their opponents pay for their mistakes and tonight was no different. It seems as though they have a knack of being in the right places at the right time. This is something that good teams usually have the knack of and if that’s the big test, UNH passes with flying colors.
- As well as Lowell played, the Wildcats played that much better. The shots were even throughout the game. The difference in the game was UNH’s ability to finish, while Lowell struggled in that department.
What I thought
- After returning from Colorado with a win and a tie, UNH didnt seem spent as many would have expected. They looked like the stronger team in this game, and were rewarded for their strong forecheck and strong defensive play.
- Lowell continues to struggle to find ways to score. For much of the game they had some marvelous opportunities that went by the wayside because of their lack of finishing ability. We know that Lowell has some talent, they proved it last year. When they find the knack around the net they could be scary. The opportunities have been numerous, but the confidence of putting it in the net, not so much.
- UML made a valiant effort late in the waning moments of the game to get back in the game, as they scored two unanswered goals to make it 4-2. When Austin Block scored for UNH with 2:15 remaining the game was decided and the comeback attempt was stifled. This comeback would have been huge for the River Hawks going into Saturday nights game, but it was not enough.
What they Said
UML coach Norm Bazin said,
“It was a game of ebbs and flows, in that we didn’t peak at the right times in the game. We had our opportunities to get a lead early on. We missed on those opportunities and they capitalized on theirs.”
“The shorthanded goal was a good execution on their part and bad execution on ours. We had plenty of opportunities to come back in this game but we just missed our opportunities to make it 4-3. That seemed to be a microcosm of the game in my mind.”
UNH coach Dick Umile said,
“We again had a 4-0 lead and we again almost let them back in the game. When they scored the goal after two periods ad the two goals we gave up we werent playing too smart. Lowell battled back but we will take the win, it wasn’t pretty but we will take it.”
“Penalty kill has been great for us this year.Obviously we scored another shorthanded-goal. A big part of that is always goaltending.”
UNH forward Grayson Downing said,
“Doing the little things has been so important for me, lately. Its not going to happen if you try to hard. Once that first goal came for me it has been happening. Ever since then its been keeping doing the little things. Tonight I got two unbelievable passes. On the second one, I could have had my eyes closed and scored that goal.”
“Anytime you can score shorthanded you get the momentum on your side. For us scoring shorthanded it gets a team more into the game and scoring the first goal of any game is huge to help your team out.”
What they didn’t say
Grayson Downing was limping while entering the press conference. His play in recent weeks, including his two goals on Friday night, has been important for UNH. The injury could be something to watch going into tomorrow night’s contest.
What Else You Should Know
These same two teams will play again tomorrow night at the Tsongas Center on the campus of UMass-Lowell. UNH, with their victory on Friday night, has won both meetings against the River Hawks this season and have clinched the season series against them.
UNH has killed off 27 straight opponent power-plays and have given up just two goals in 47 attempts on the penalty-kill. This is good for second in the nation.