Lowell, MASS - The River Hawks and Golden Knights have seen each other a lot in recent weeks, as the two non-conference opponents squared off for the third consecutive game, for both teams. The teams played to a 1-1 draw of Friday night at the Tsongas Center, but on this night the first period saw more goals than the previous night. Clarkson came out flying early in the first and racked up as it found the net twice in the first five minutes of the contest. A.J. Fossen opened up the scoring at three minutes, 11 seconds of the first as Aj. Fossen scored into a wide open net after a rebound. Clarkson followed that up two minutes later, when Matt Zarbo found a puck right in front of UML goaltender, Doug Carr, giving his team a 2-0 lead. Scott Wilson scored on a net drive at 9:45 of the period to bring the River Hawks within a goal but the scoring was done, and the teams went into the first intermission with Clarkson leading, 2-1.
Clarkson continued to control the possession in the second period, but Lowell had the upper-hand on goal scoring. Lowell scored the first two of the second period off the stick’s of Ryan McGrath and Chris Maniccia, while Clarkson got a goal from Sam Labreqcue to send the teams into the second intermission tied at three. Lowell got a go-ahead goal at 9:55 of the third period when Joe Pendenza tipped a puck from out of nowhere giving the River Hawks the 4-3 lead. The lead held for a final as the River Hawks defeated the Golden Knights 4-3. The win improved UML’s record to 14-5-1, while Clarkson’s record fell to 12-6-2.
What I Saw
- Both teams played great shut down defense, but both teams struggled with mistakes in their own zone. On all six goals in the first and second periods, a skater was left wide open or the goaltender gave up a huge rebound to allow the goal. It was very uncharacteristic of both teams, as both are known for clogging the slots and stifling any of their opponents’ Grade A opportunities.
- Unlike the first two games, Clarkson was the better of the two teams in terms of possession. On Friday night, Lowell sent 39 shots on net while Tech sent 28 towards the net. Tonight, though, Clarkson did a great job with clogging up the zone, despite the mistakes it made. They were able to keep Lowell from sending pucks at will toward freshman goaltender Steve Perry, which was seemingly the case the night before. Lowell also had 34 shots on the Clarkson net last Sunday, but tonight was a much more concerned effort with keeping shots off of its netminder. This is what Clarkson does best and despite the loss tonight Clarkson continues to grow in its own system.
- UMass-Lowell, like Clarkson, is a team that relies on strong defense and possession to win it hockey games. The first 10 minutes of the contest was very Un-Lowelllike in that it allowed Clarkson tons of space to operate and it allowed two goals. In the first, 10 minutes of the contest it allowed 10 shots to a Clarkson team that often struggles to generate offense, this was concerning but Lowell got better as the game went on. The latter point is something that River Hawks teams under Norm Bazin have done very well with.
What I Thought
- Clarkson and Lowell appeared to know what each other was going to throw at them on this night. The two teams have played three consecutive games against each other, and the fact both teams put up a lot of goals can probably be attributed to just that. The set plays were few and far between, while both teams seemingly knew just where the other was going to be. If anything this three game series will help both teams going forward into their respective first and econd round playoff series, where they will again see a team three times in a row.
- Both Steve Perry and Doug Carr struggled at times in their respective nets. Both left juicy rebounds to skaters and both left pucks right in front of them. The only goal that comes to mind not on goaltending was the fourth Lowell goal, which saw Joe Pendenza tip a puck from out of nowhere into the net. Other than that, though, both goalies struggled. Steve Perry especially struggled on the night, which is especially surprising because of his great play last night on the same ice. Perry seems to be the front runner for the Clarkson job going forward,
What They Said
Clarkson Coach Casey Jones said,
“Lowell was opportunistic tonight and took advantage of our mistakes. I feel as though we made strides in this game and in the second half we have gotten better every game.”
UML Coach Norm Bazin said,
“We are extremely excited to get the win tonight, being down two goals and being able to come back. We faced a little adversity tonight. I am glad the guys were able to do that tonight.”
“We seemed to get better as the game went along. Other than a little lull in the second period, I was extremely pleased with the effort.”
Clarkson forward Ben Sexton said,
“I felt that we played a little better of a team game tonight but that is often the game of hockey, you win some and you lose some.”
What Else You Should Know
Clarkson will host UMass-Lowell’s Merrimack Valley rival, Merrimack College for a pair at Cheel Arena next weekend. Merrimack comes into the weekend having played in the first game of Frozen Fenway on Saturday.
UMass-Lowell will next play during the second Saturday of Frozen Fenway. They will face Northeastern at 3Pm at the World’s Most Beloved Ballpark.