LOWELL, Mass. - Sophomore goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) made 31 saves in a 3-0 win over eighth-ranked Merrimack on Friday night in the Tsongas Center in front of 5,093 fans. The victory moved the seventh-ranked UMass Lowell hockey team into sole possession of first-place in Hockey East.
The River Hawks improved to 19-7-0 overall with the win and 14-6-0 in conference play, which marks the latest in a season the club has ever held sole possession of pole position in Hockey East. The Warriors dropped to 15-7-5 on the year and 11-6-3 in conference action.
The first two periods played to a draw as both Joe Cannata (Wakefield, Mass.) and Carr were outstanding between the pipes. The two squads traded 15 shots each in the first, and then UMass Lowell peppered Cannata with 19 shots to Merrimack's five in the second period.
The game nearly shifted into the Warriors favor in the second as it took an official review to keep Merrimack off the board. Defenseman Dan Kolomatis (Basking Ridge, N.J.) fired a shot at the far point that was deflected in by forward Josh Myers (Colorado Springs, Colo.). The goal was later waived off after it was determined Myers' stick was higher than the cross bar.
With the game seemingly locked in a defensive stalemate, the River Hawks exploded for three goals in the third period.
Less than a minute into the third, freshman Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) charged into the offensive zone and carried behind the net, flipping a pass to sophomore Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.). The puck, along with Arnold, went crashing into the net in what was initially ruled "no goal", but was then overturned with video replay.
Arnold struck again late in the game as Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) won a face-off back to Wilson. The rookie found Arnold on the opposite wing for the one-timer at 17:03, his 15th goal of the year.
With the pressure mounting from the Warriors, UMass Lowell put the game out of reach with 1:34 remaining. Matt Ferreira (Brampton, Ont.) won the face-off to rookie Zack Kamrass (Atlanta, Ga.), who sent the puck off the boards and into neutral ice. Wetmore picked up the pass and back-handed a long-range shot into the empty net.
Carr improved his nation-leading record to 18-4-0, stopping all 31 shots he faced and blanking all five Merrimack power plays. Merrimack's Cannata was superb as well, stopping 39-of-41 shots while falling to 14-7-5.
Both teams have quick turnarounds as UMass Lowell hosts Maine on Saturday and the Warriors open the doors of Lawler Arena to New Hampshire. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. each night.