MANKATO, Minn. - Sophomore Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) scored two goals, including a pivotal third period tally, to help UMass Lowell hockey complete a weekend sweep of Minnesota State, 4-1, on Saturday night in Mankato, MN.
"I was glad for the guys, they completed hard this weekend and were rewarded," said head coach Norm Bazin.
The River Hawks improved to 2-0-0 for the first time since 2001-02 with the sweep. The pair of victories also had a greater historical sense, marking the first time UMass Lowell has swept a single opponent during opening weekend since 1993-94, when the program beat Air Force twice in Colorado Spring, CO. Minnesota State's skid continued as it dropped to 1-3-0 with its third consecutive loss.
As the first period rumbled towards a stalemate, the Mavericks were whistled for a five-minute major at 15:37. With the extended man advantage, the River Hawks potted a pair of goals before the buzzer.
The first tally came on a rebound play at 17:12, beginning with a Chad Ruhwedel's (San Diego, Calif.) shot from the blue line. As goaltender Phil Cook (Wheaton, Ill.) kicked out the shot, Arnold snuck in the back door and netted his first goal of the season against a diving Cook.
With the major penalty lending more time on the power play, UMass Lowell extended its lead to 2-0 at 19:02. From behind the net, Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) fired a pass to Matt Ferreira (Brampton, Ont.) who was all alone at the front to snipe his second goal of the year.
Special teams came through again in the second period as the River Hawks scored at the tail end of a tripping penalty on the Mavericks. A defender tried to poke the puck out of the zone, but sent it directly to Malcolm Lyles (Miami Gardens, Fla.). Lyles snapped off a wrist shot at the net that Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) and Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) each took hacks at, with Pendenza's finding the mesh.
Minnesota State showed some resolve in the third period, clawing its way onto the scoreboard at 8:56 into the frame. During a scrum at the net, goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) was muscled out of position and Justin Jokinen (Carlton, Minn.) found the opening for his first goal of the season.
With the Mavericks trying to shift the momentum, the River Hawks came back with another goal to essentially seal the victory at 14:50. Ruhwedel took the puck coast-to-coast and wrapped around the back of the net to hit the streaking Arnold with a pass. Arnold fired the puck through Cook's five-hole for his second goal of the night, settling the score at 4-1.
"That was a big goal for us," said Bazin of Arnold's goal. "Minnesota State was mounting some momentum and there's no better way to squash that than with a goal."
Standing tall in net all night, UMass Lowell's Carr finished with 24 saves as he improved to 1-0-0. Carr flashed the glove on several occasions and made a series of highlight reel saves in the opening 15 minutes to keep the scoreboard clean. Minnesota State's Cook earned his second loss of the season, making 31 saves while allowing all four River Hawk goals.
UMass Lowell was highly successful on the power play on Saturday, netting three goals in six chances. The Mavericks had five opportunities with the man advantage, but came up empty and managed just six shots. Overall on the evening, the River Hawks led in shots, 35-25.
UMass Lowell has a quick turnaround, playing again on Tuesday at the Conway Arena in Nashua, NH against Connecticut at 7 p.m.