Saturday, January 09, 2016

UNH Falters Late; Can’t Muster Up a Goal in Loss to UMass Lowell

UNH Goalie Danny Tirone
26 Saves vs Lowell

DURHAM, NH - #10 in the nation UMass Lowell made the short trip to Durham Friday night to face a Wildcat team that was looking to stay above .500 on the season.

UNH had not beaten UMass Lowell in six consecutive games dating back to 2012 and looked for revenge to start off the home games in 2016.

It was a clash between two polar opposites in Hockey East. The Wildcats offense came in sixth in the nation in scoring (3.95 GPG), while the lockdown River Hawk defense came in with the fourth best defense in the nation (1.84 GAA).

With such strengths on opposite sides of the puck, it was difficult to predict what type of game would unfold. Like so many games between these two teams in the recent past, this game did not disappoint.

It was a defensive battle throughout, as both goaltenders made spectacular saves for each side and kept their teams in the game.

UNH sophomore goalie Danny Tirone looked as good as ever between the pipes with aggressive and unorthodox saves. UNH fans may remember seeing exciting performances like this from him in the second half of last season. The Wildcats will need him to continue to play this well as they steamroll through Hockey East play.

Meanwhile, across the lake, senior goalie Kevin Boyle had a dominant game against the high-powered UNH offense. Lowell's trademark stingy defense kept the ‘Cats to the perimeter for a large majority of the game.

Through more than 57 minutes of hockey, the two teams remained scoreless, until a scrum in front of the net of Tirone ensued. The River Hawks batted away at the puck. Tirone attempted to crawl back towards the loose puck, but was unable to reach it due to the multitude of bodies, mostly UNH defenders, diving to keep the puck out. It finally crossed the goal line off the stick of sophomore Ryan Collins. Tirone could only watch as the puck trickled across the goal line. The goal gave UMass Lowell a 1-0 lead with only 2:44 left in regulation.

UNH Head Coach Dick Umile summed the game up in the post game press conference by saying, “It was a tough one to take because I thought the guys played hard and it was an unfortunate loss”.

Umile was also happy with the team's defensive effort: “It was as good of a defensive game as we’ve played,” he said.

The 1-0 loss to Lowell is only the second time this season the Wildcats have been shutout. The first time came back on November 6th against Michigan State.

Here are the video highlights of the UMass Lowell game courtesy of UNH Athletics:

UNH fell to 8-8-4 overall and 2-2-4 in Hockey East. UMass Lowell improved to 12-4-4 overall and now holds a 7-2-3 record in conference play. They are in 1st place in Hockey East with 17 points. UNH returns to action next weekend with a home-and-home series against Northeastern University.

Box Score


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