Senior David Vallorani (Hamilton, Ont.) scored a goal and assist to reach 100 career points as UMass Lowell hockey raced to a 7-2 victory over Rensselaer in the opening round of the Toyota UConn Holiday Classic.
The River Hawks resumed their winning ways after an 18-day holiday break to improve to 11-5-0 on the season. The Engineers dropped to 3-14-0 on the year.
UMass Lowell showed little rust from the holiday break, scoring just 43 seconds into the action. Two River Hawks broke into the Rensselaer zone alone and Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) converted on Matt Ferriera's (Brampton, Ont.) pass for his fifth goal of the season.
As play flowed back into UMass Lowell's zone, goaltender Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) stood tall in net, stifling a pair of shots on a Engineers' rush near the nine minute mark.
The River Hawks kept on the hunt, scoring again at the 11 minute mark. Freshman William Eiserman (West Newbury, Mass.) flung a shot from the far boards at the net, setting up classmate Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.) for the tip-in goal.
Despite incurring a penalty, the UMass Lowell offense stayed in high gear as they churned out another goal at 13:48. Vallorani and Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) engaged in a give-and-go as they broke into the RPI zone and Vallorani finished the play for his first shorthanded goal of the season.
The Engineers broke the shutout at 4:35 into the second period with a power play goal off the stick of Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.).
The River Hawks fired right back with an unassisted goal from Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) just 40 seconds later. A broken clear attempt by RPI landed at Wilson's feet and the rookie sniper fired one over goaltender Scott Diebold's (Buffalo, N.Y.) glove.
UMass Lowell struck again at 10:50 into the second as an odd-man rush allowed Michael Budd (Burlington, Ont.) to hammer home a delayed pass from Vallorani. The assist marked Vallorani's 100th career point--just the 40th player in program history to break the centaury barrier.
The scoring continued in the third as Terrence Wallin (Yardley, Penn.) banged home a one-timer from a Ferreira faceoff win at 3:21 into the final stanza.
The Engineers got one back with 3:14 remaining in regulation. Capitalizing on a turnover in the UMass Lowell zone, C.J. Lee (Staten Island, N.Y.) hit Zach Schroeder (Prior Lake, Minn.) with a pass from behind the net for a one-timer to beat Carr.
The River Hawks potted one more tally before the final horn as Pendenza tucked the puck inside the far post with 10 seconds left to play for a power play goal from Malcolm Lyles (Miami Gardens, Fla.) and Buco.
Strong in net, Carr turned away 23-of-25 shots to improve to 10-2-0 on the year. RPI's Diebold totaled 17 saves in the loss, dropping to 1-4-0.
UMass Lowell now advances to the Toyota UConn Holiday Classic championship game on Friday at 7:15 p.m. The River Hawks will play the winner of Army/Connecticut to be played Thursday at 7:15 p.m.