UMass-Lowell, Providence show promise in young season
This weekend saw the Big Ten/Hockey East challenge come to a close, with the Hockey East winning 7-4-2 overall. In the midst of the victory, two teams, UMass-Lowell and Providence, impressed during their respective sets.
The defending NCAA Northeast Regional Champion UMass-Lowell River Hawks stumbled out of the gate this season, but rebounded this past weekend with a 4-1 over Michigan State and a 2-1 win at No. 4 Michigan—to raise their own national ranking to No. 15 as they sit at 3-3-0 on the young season. Sophomore goaltender Connor Hellebuyck saved 62 of 64 shots over the weekend and was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week.
The Providence College Friars had a tough assignment this weekend as well, as they were slated to take on the Miami Red Hawks at home, a team ranked No. 3 at the time. With both a victory and a tie in the weekend series, Providence emerges as they only remaining undefeated Hockey East squad—as they rise the rankings and steal Miami’s previous mark of No. 3 team in the country.
The Friars scored seven goals during the set, all of which were scored by a different skater each time. Freshman Niko Rufo scored the Friars’ game-winner in overtime on Friday night and was named the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week.
Both Notre Dame and Northeastern saw their perfect seasons come to an end, as the Irish lost to No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth and the Huskies dropped a game to St. Lawrence. Notre Dame and Northeastern are now ranked No. 2 and No. 19, respectively.
The Maine Black Bears swept Massachusetts this weekend, thanks to a 5-point performance from Senior Mark Anthoine—good for him to receive Warrior Hockey East Player of the Week—that included the game-winning goal on Saturday as well.
The Minutemen and the Black Bears will play another set this weekend, as Hockey East action gets going for the rest of the conference beginning Friday. No. 2 Notre Dame will play twice at Vermont, New Hampshire will play a home-and-home against No. 15 UMass-Lowell, No. 3 Providence will play a set against No. 18 Boston University and No. 19 Northeastern and No. 8 Boston College will play a home-and-home as well.
In other news, sophomore Kevin Roy (12 points) of Northeastern was named Warrior Hockey East Player of the Month, sophomore Providence goaltender Jon Gillies (3-0-1, 1.71 GAA) was named Stop It Goaltender of the Month and freshman Vince Hinostroza (8 points) of Notre Dame was named Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Month.