Sophomore forward Josh Holmstrom had the game-tying goal for the River Hawks
LOWELL, Mass. - Sophomore Josh Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored a power play goal with three minutes remaining in regulation to tie Merrimack, 2-2, in the Tsongas Center on Saturday night.
UMass Lowell broke a 30-year old record for fans in attendance for a River Hawk and Merrimack game with 5,876 fans at the Tsongas Center on Saturday.
UMass Lowell improved its record to 20-10-1 overall with its first tie of the season, while moving to 15-9-1 in league play. The Warriors are now 16-9-7 with the tie and 12-8-5 in Hockey East action. With the night's result, UMass Lowell remains in third place in Hockey East, while Merrimack slips to fifth in the conference.
Merrimack set the tone in the first period, scoring a power play goal at 4:45 into play. Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, B.C.) cycled to Kyle Bigos (Upland, Calif.) at the far point and the one-timer was tipped into the net by Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.). The tally marked Bigos' eighth goal of the season.
After remaining silent through the first period, UMass Lowell leveled the score at 10:26 into the second period with a power play goal from David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.). Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) sealed the wall to stop the puck from clearing and Matt Ferreira (Brampton, Ont.) jumped on the loose puck. Ferreira then spotted Vallorani heading towards the back door and threaded a perfect pass for the uncontested goal.
The game remained even until the Warriors scored their second power play goal midway through the third. Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.) skated behind the net and found Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) low in the slot. Collins' shot went high short-side and handcuffed goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) for the score at 13:15.
With time running out, UMass Lowell earned a power play at 16:16 on a Merrimack tripping call. Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) found Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) behind the net. Wilson then spotted Holmstrom at the near edge of the far faceoff circle and the one-timer tipped off a defenseman and into the mesh at 17:00.
The two clubs battled intensely over the remaining three minutes, then played to a draw in the five minutes of overtime to end the night in a tie.
Carr improved to 19-7-1 on the season after turning away 28-of-30 shots and surrendering a pair of power play goals. The Warriors' Joe Cannata (Wakefield, Mass.) also allowed two power play goals, totaling 26 saves while moving to 15-9-7 on the year.
The River Hawks engage in a home-and-home series with Providence next weekend, traveling Friday and hosting Saturday. The Warriors also have a home-and-home, traveling to Massachusetts on Friday and hosting the Minutemen on Saturday.