OMAHA, NE (Oct. 20, 2006) – Mike Potacco (Kinnelon, NJ) had two goals and four freshmen posted multi-point games as UMass Lowell defeated Niagara, 7-4, Saturday afternoon in college hockey action as part of the Mutual of Omaha Stampede.
Kory Falite (Billerica, MA), Ben Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, CO), Nick Schaus (Orchard Park, NY) and Paul Worthington (Langhorne, PA), all freshmen on the squad, had multiple points on the night. Falite had a goal and two assists, while the Holmstrom, Schaus and Worthington each and a goal and an assist in the win. UML dominated much of the first and second periods holding a 23-3 edge in shots after one period and a 36-12 advantage through two.
“We played a very good first period,” said UML head coach Blaise MacDonald. “We had 23 shots in the first period. And I thought we played great in the second period and all of a sudden started to convert on some of the power plays and got some goals. I’m very happy we had a lot of freshman score their first goal tonight. It was good outing. We did enough to win and we did enough to learn from.”
Despite the edge in shots for UML in the first period, the game was tied, 2-2, after one. And for the first time this season, the River Hawks did not score the game’s first goal. Niagara’s Sean Bentivoglio (Thorold, ONT) provided the game’s first offensive strike, netting an even strength goal at 10:21 from Ted Cook (Hogansburg, NY) and Chris Moran (Buffalo, NY).
Less than a minute and a half later, at 11:04, Paul Worthington recorded his first collegiate goal on the power play. Falite and Schaus earned the assists.
Ryan Annesley gave Niagara a 2-1 lead at 13:28, only to have the River Hawks score the equalizer less than a minute later, at 13:44, on Potacco’s first strike of the night. Todd Fletcher (Chelmsford, MA) and J.R. Bria (Monroe, CT) set up the goal.
UMass Lowell entered the second period having not held a two-goal lead all season. That changed by the 3:05 mark of the period as Bergeron and Holmstrom scored to give UML a 4-2 advantage. The River Hawks continued to build on the lead and took a 6-2 lead in the locker room after two periods of play.
Bergeron’s goal, at 2:39 of the period, was unassisted after he intercepted a pass in the offensive zone for his second tally in as many nights. Holmstrom’s goal, the first of his collegiate career, came at the 3:05 mark and was assisted by Worthington and Falite. Before the period was over, Potacco picked up his second of the night and Schaus found the back of the net on the power play. Chris Auger earned an assist on the Schaus goal, his first collegiate point.
Niagara battled their way back into the game in the third period, out-shooting the River Hawks 17-6 for the frame and scoring twice to cut the UML lead to two goals. Cook, who earlier had an assist, netted the Eagles first goal of the period. After a five-minute major for checking from behind was called on UML defenseman Jeremy Dehner (Madison, WI), Bentivolglio scored his second tally of the night on the man-advantage.
“We came out and took care of business in the second period and the third period was just awful,” said MacDonald. “It’s a great learning opportunity for us. There’s a lot of key mistakes that me made that are easily solved.”
UML out-shot the Purple Eagles 40-29 and went 2-for-7 on the power play. Niagara converted on two of their three man-advantage attempts. The 40 shots for the River Hawks is a season-high, surpassing the 27 shots they posted on October 13 at Minnesota Duluth.
The win was the first of the season for the River Hawks, who improve to 1-2-1 on the season. The Purple Eagles drop to 2-4-0 with the loss and were out-scored 16-5 in the two games of the Stampede.
UML begins Hockey East play Friday night at Boston University. The River Hawks host Providence College Saturday night at Tsongas Arena for the 2006-07 home opener.