Since UConn joined Hockey East, they have had success against UMass Lowell, registering a 4-2-1 record against the River Hawks. The Huskies looked to find their footing against a welcomed opponent but could not do so as they allowed two goals in the first six minutes on their way to a 5-2 loss in Lowell on Friday.
“I think Lowell outplayed us in all facets of the game,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “My hat’s off to Lowell, I thought they played the better game.”
Max Kalter and Spencer Naas each scored for UConn. Naas’ goal was his fifth of the year and Adam Huska made 19 saves.
The first period started off very poorly when Jesse Schwartz took a penalty in the first minute. The Huskies were able to hold off the River Hawk attack, but were not so lucky when David Drake went to the box at 4:34 for cross-checking.
John Edwardh took a shot from the top of the left circle on the power play and Huska was screened by the defenseman. The shot went up and over Huska’s blocker at 5:01, and UMass Lowell had a lead that they would extend just 32 seconds later.
Charlie Levesque and Ryan Dmowski got in on a two-on-two on the rush and Levesque scored on a shot from the slot for a 2-0 lead that would hold for the remaining 20 minutes.
“We’re trying to find answers [on slow starts],” Naas said. “You can’t start games spotting teams a couple goals.”
Early in the second, the Huskies got as close as they would get. Naas got the goal at 1:23 after Maxim Letunov got in on Christoffer Hernberg and the play turned into a scrum in the crease.
It kicked the River Hawks into another gear as they struck again at 6:00. Edwardh got his second of the game when he beat a pinching Adam Karashik to the puck. Derek Pratt tried to get over but his snap shot beat Huska to make the score 3-1.
At 13:42, Benjamin Freeman drew a hold from Tyler Mueller on a breakaway, giving him his second penalty shot of the year. He had a good opportunity, but Hernberg stacked his pads to make the save.
That missed chance proved more important at 18:33 when the River Hawks went up 4-1 when Dmowski beat Huska.
Headed into the third period, things looked dire for UConn, but Kalter gave the Huskies life at 2:40 when he stole the puck shorthanded and went down the left side. His shot beat Hernberg to make it 4-2.
UConn committed three penalties in the first 8:36 of the third but clung to a two-goal deficit until Dmowski iced it with his second of the game with 2:40 to go.
“We had to kill three penalties there. That certainly was an issue,” Cavanaugh said.
UConn (3-9-2, 2-5-1) and UMass Lowell complete their series on Saturday afternoon at the XL Center. Puck drop is at 3:35 p.m.