Stopping all 20 shots he faced in the first period, and all 17 he faced in an equally frantic third, junior goaltender Clay Witt (Brandon, Fla.) led the Northeastern University Huskies to a 4-1 win over the UMass Lowell River Hawks in Saturday's somewhat soggy matinee at Boston's Fenway Park.
The two squads were surprisingly able to generate a lot of quality offensive opportunities despite light rain and wet ice conditions in the first period, combining for 33 shots on goal. It wasn't until almost midway through the second, however, that either team was able to find the back of the net.
The first goal came about after a UML defenseman stumbled at the offensive blueline, yielding a 2-on-1 for the Huskies. Senior sniper Braden Pimm (Fort St. John, B.C.) brought it into the zone and elected to take the shot himself, beating Lowell goalie Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) with a short side wrister over the shoulder at the 7:22 mark. Less than two minutes later, Northeastern made it 2-0 on the power play on a pretty play started by sophomore Kevin Roy (Lac-Beauport, Quebec.) Roy gained the line and dropped a pass to Mike Szmatula (Commerce Township, Mich.), who curled into shooting position in the left circle and let it go. Carr made the original gut save, but left the rebound on the doorstep for rushing Husky defenseman Matt Benning (St. Albert, Alta.) to tap in.
Carr was victimized again later in the frame when NU captain Josh Manson (Prince Albert, Sask.) was left uncontested coming down ice on a penalty kill, and calmly found the 7-hole under Carr's glove for a shorthander to make it 3-0. Desperation mode kicked in for the River Hawks at that point, and they were able to get one back with just five seconds left in the period. Shortly after a big hit on a Husky player in the defensive zone, UML defenseman Zach Kamrass (Atlanta, Ga.) got involved at the other end, finding the high corner on a great backhand pass from Joe Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) from just behind the left goalline. It was the River Hawks' 31st shot on goal in the game, and the only one that was able to sneak past Witt.
Witt added 17 more saves in the third period, finishing with 47, and was an easy selection as the game's first star. Pimm was the second star, having added a second goal, a shorthanded empty-net tally, as the game wound down. It was Pimm's second two-goal effort in as many games.
Carr finished with 27 saves to drop his impressive senior season record to 7-2-1. It was just the third loss in 17 games for the River Hawks, two of which have come at the hands of the Huskies.