Senior defenseman Joe Houk scores game-winner in final second of regulation for River Hawks

Senior defenseman Joe Houk scored the game-winning goal for the River Hawks

LOWELL, Mass. - Senior defenseman Joe Houk (Richboro, Penn.) scored with .1 seconds on the clock to propel the No. 7 ranked River Hawks hockey team to a 3-2 victory against Massachusetts on Friday night at the Tsongas Center in front of a crowd of 4,640 fans.

The win improved UMass Lowell to 20-7-3 overall and 10-4-2 in Hockey East contests. It marks the first time in the school's Division I history that the team has registered three straight 20-win seasons. Overall, it's the 16th 20-win season in school history and the 11th 20-win season in the school's Div. I history. The Minutemen fall to 8-18-4 overall (4-10-3 HEA) in the losing effort.

UMass scored both of its goals in the third period on the power play with Adam Phillips and Conor Sheary getting goals at 6:51 and 10:12, respectively. Sheary's goal was the 100th point of his collegiate career for the Minutemen.

Freshman forward Evan Campbell (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) scored a career-high two goals on the night, including his second tally at 17:25 of the second period, as he beat UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz high glove side on a wrist shot. Sophomore forward Michael Fallon (Glenview, Ill.) and junior defenseman Jake Suter (Flambeau, Wis.) assisted on Campbell's sixth goal of the year. Campbell now has five goals in his last six games, after starting the season with one goal in his first 17 games as a River Hawk.

With 1:12 left in the second period, Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.) stopped a great chance by UMass' Steven Iacobellis coming down the right side of the slot with his left pad. Hellebuyck finished the game with 24 saves, while Mastalerz recorded 29 stops in the loss for the Minutemen.

The River Hawks took a 1-0 lead with just 49 seconds left in the period as Greg Amlong (O'Fallon, Mo.) and Adam Chapie (Oxford, Mich.) chipped the puck out of the defensive zone along the boards and Evan Campbell cut down the right side of the ice through the slot and beat Mastalerz just as the net came off its mooring for his fifth goal of the season.

With 16:39 left in first period, senior forward Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) had great chance on his knees in front of the crease than sailed just wide of Mastalerz's right pad. Pendenza won 16 of 28 faceoffs (57%) on the night, while freshman forward Chris Maniccia (St. Catharines, Ont.) chipped in winning 10 of 13 (77%) from the faceoff dot.

UMass Lowell returns to action on Friday night, February 21 at Boston College in the first game of a home-and-home series featuring the two top teams in the Hockey East standings. Game time from Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. is 7pm.

The River Hawks will return to action for senior night on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Tsongas Center (7pm) for their final regular-season home game against the Eagles.