LANSING, Mich. (October 25, 2013) - The UMass Lowell River Hawks' (2-3-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) looked to the current road trip as an opportunity to work on team chemistry. The tactic seemed to work as the team put together a solid team effort to down Michigan State University (0-3-0, 0-0-0 Big 10), 4-1, in front of a raucous crowd of Spartans fans at Munn Arena.
"I think chemistry is earned. I like if we can put together two or three games of solid, compete hockey, chemistry will develop. This weekend will go a long way in some of that bonding," UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin said before tonight's game.
Freshman forward Joe Gambardella (Staten Island, NY) picked up his first collegiate goal, scoring on an assist from fellow freshman Michael Kapla (Eau Claire, Wisc.) at 12:33 of the first period. Stephen Buco upped the lead to 2-0 with an even-strength goal at 8:52 of the 2nd.
UMass Lowell was able to breathe some life into what has been an anemic power play this season, with improved puck movement. The team, which entered the game 1-for-25 with the man advantage, scored on their third opportunity tonight as team captain Josh Holmstrom (Colorado Springs, CO) scored at 7:08 of the 2nd with Travis Walsh in the box for hooking to give the visitors the commanding 3-0 lead.
"Our puck support was much better tonight and our special teams kicked in and contributed a goal," said Bazin.
MSU battled back less than two minutes after Holmstrom's goal as Mackenzie MacEachern got the Spartans on the board with the teams skating 4-on-4 at 8:48 of the 2nd period. That would be as close as MSU would get, however, as senior forward Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) closed the door with the River Hawks' fourth goal of the night, an even strength goal at 17:24 of the final period.
Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.), one of three UMass Lowell players playing in front of a "home" crowd, picked up his first win of the young season with his most solid performance of the season, finishing with 24 saves. The River Hawks tested MSU goalie Jake Hildebrand with 33 shots. UMass Lowell was 1-4 on the power play while the team's penalty killing unit held the Spartans at bay, killing 5-of-5 MSU opportunities.
MSU will face Boston University tomorrow night while UMass Lowell travels to nearby Ann Arbor to face the University of Michigan tomorrow at 7:05 PM. River Hawks fans can listen to both games on the ESPN River Hawk Radio Network: ESPN 900 (flagship station), ESPN 1250 AM, WSMN 1590 AM, WCAP 980 AM, www.espnnh.com and the ESPN Radio smartphone app.