LOWELL, Mass. — The penalty kill kept the Wildcats alive. But the power play couldn’t net the equalizer and the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team remains in search of its first road win of the season.
The Wildcats failed to capitalize on back-to-back late third-period power plays and fell 3-2 to an energized UMass Lowell squad playing in front of a program-record 6,826 fans at the Tsongas Center on Friday night.
“We had our chances,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “But in the end, we didn’t get it done.”
Senior captain Mike Borisenok tapped home a one-timer midway through the third to bring the Wildcats within a goal, but UNH couldn’t muster the tying goal despite two power plays, a breakaway, and 19 third-period shots.
The Wildcats’ dominating play in the third period came after a flat second period.
“We didn’t play a 60-minute game,” Umile said. “We left people uncovered. That’s how they got their goals.”
All three River Hawks goals were off rebounds.
The first, less than three minutes in, came off a bouncing puck that Stephen Buco batted in.
Despite the flat play in the second period, the Wildcats killed both penalties it took and allowed only one goal in the frame, setting up the high-flying third period.
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 0-6-2 on the road.
“We’re not going to get to the top of this league until we win on the road,” Borisenok said. “For us to win on the road, we’re going to have to play 60 minutes. We didn’t do that tonight.”
The Wildcats were outshot 14-6 in the second.
Matt Ferreira deflected a shot in front of the net that sat in the crease before Terrence Wallin poked it in for Lowell’s go-ahead goal late in the second. David Vallorani inflated the River Hawks lead to 3-1 after burying a juicy rebound.
“That’s their game,” Borisenok said. “They get pucks on net. You saw how effective that can be.”
UNH fell below .500 again at 6-7-2 with the loss, while UML improved to 8-4-0. The teams meet again tonight at the Whittemore Center in Durham.
Greg Burke, of Lee, knotted the game at 1-1 midway through the first when he polished off a one-timer at the doorstep from Grayson Downing.
The River Hawks came out energized in front of the record crowd, many of who were on hand to see the Stanley Cup, which was set up for photos with fans. The line to touch the Cup wrapped around two hallways, a staircase and approached the exit door.
Bruins black and gold was scattered throughout the seats and was more prominent than River Hawk red and blue.
Rene Rancourt, the legendary national anthem singer for the Bruins, gave his rendition while wearing a red, white, and blue vest in exchange for his usual gold one. He completed his performance with three fist pumps.
Despite it, the Wildcats came out slowly and the penalty kill kept them in the game. The PK unit killed off all five River Hawks chances, including a brief 5-on-3.
UNH unleashed 10 shots on its four power-play chances, but wasn’t able to find twine and watched its best chances fritter away late.
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Distributed by MCT Information Service.