Armstrong-Kingkade, River Hawks fend off Black Bears – Lowell Sun

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LOWELL – They should have been as rusty as an exposed nail on an ancient fence.

Playing their first game in 16 days and just their second in 34 days, the UMass Lowell River Hawks received two goals from sophomore Nik Armstrong-Kingkade en route to a 5-3 victory over Maine before 4,217 fans at the Tsongas Center on Friday night.

The layoff left the River Hawks less than sharp, but three first-period goals enabled the team to remain in first place in Hockey East (9-2-1) and their 12-3-3 overall record matches the best start in the Norm Bazin era.

“We were lethargic. There are no excuses in hockey,” Bazin said. “What I liked most is the fact that the guys stuck together.”

Leading 4-1 after two periods, the River Hawks held on despite allowing goals to Nolan Renwick and Donavan Houle, who scored with 54 seconds left with Maine on a 6-on-4 advantage with its goalie pulled and Andre Lee in the penalty box. UML was assessed 23 penalty minutes compared to eight for Maine.

Ryan Brushett scored UML’s third-period goal with the River Hawks on a two-man advantage.

“Hockey is a game of rhythm and a game of conditioning,” Bazin said, hoping his River Hawks are sharper for the rematch Saturday (7:15 p.m.) with the Black Bears.

Savory was UML’s best player during a shaky opening 10 minutes. The understandably rusty River Hawks were a step slow.

“He’s an excellent goalie and he settled things down,” Bazin said.

But then, in the blink of an eye, the Swedish connection got the hosts on the board. Lee sent a pass to Carl Berglund and Berglund one-timed the dish inside the left post at the 8:28 mark. Both juniors had 49 career points after the goal. Sam Knoblauch set the play in motion, dishing to Lee.

UML is now 9-1 when scoring the opening goal.

Armstrong-Kingkade then scored twice in a span of 2:52 to give the River Hawks a 3-0 lead after one period.

Armstrong-Kingkade’s first goal came with the River Hawks shorthanded. Dogged penalty killing by Zach Kaiser, who finished with two assists, led to a Maine mistake and Armstrong-Kingkade took advantage, wristing a shot over the right shoulder of Connor Androlewicz and under the crossbar at 15:52.

The sophomore tallied again before the period ended, tapping in the rebound of a Lucas Condotta rebound.

Victor Ostman took over in Maine’s net to start the second period and he was tested when UML freshman Matt Crasa broke in alone. Crasa, however, was denied and Maine cut the River Hawks’ lead to 3-1 seconds later when Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup sent a shot through traffic and past Savory at 4:51.

Later, UML fans chanted “Hobey, Hobey” at Savory, a Hobey Baker nominee, when he waited out an uncovered Jack Quinlivan at the right post. When he finally ran out of room, Quinlivan was forced to throw a shot off the side of the net.

Ostman was terrific in the period, stopping the first 14 shots he faced. But he caught a tough break on the 15th. Sophomore defenseman Ben Meehan wristed a long shot which deflected off a Maine player and behind Ostman with just 13 seconds left in the middle period. Kaiser earned an assist on the play. It was Meehan’s fourth goal in 11 games.

UML is now 6-0-1 in its last seven games with Maine, its best-ever stretch against the Black Bears, and the River Hawks remained unbeaten (6-0-3) at home this season. Savory finished with 20 saves.



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