LOWELL, MASS. – The No. 11 ranked UMass Lowell Hockey team topped Massachusetts, 5-0, on Saturday night in Hockey East action, behind a pair of goals from sophomore forward Gage Hough (Omaha, Neb) and a shutout from senior goaltender Kevin Boyle (Manalapan, N.J.) at the Tsongas Center.
Boyle picked up his sixth shutout of the season, tying a UMass Lowell single-season record, while Hough scored his third goal in two games, as UMass Lowell swept the Minutemen in a two-game series. With the series sweep the River Hawks won the Alumni Cup for the 16th time in 22 years, awarded to the winner of the season series between the only two Division I hockey programs in the University of Massachusetts state system.
“The team found a way to stick together and win a trophy, and that’s a big deal” said Head Coach Norm Bazin. “We continue to solidify our group and bring this group together towards the playoff push. We only have eight games left and the playoffs will be here before we know it”
With the victory, the River Hawks improve to 14-4-4 over and 9-2-3 in Hockey East action, while Massachusetts drops to 7-12-4 (2-7-4 HEA) with the loss.
Sophomore forward C.J. Smith (Des Moines, Iowa) struck early in the opening period on a short-handed goal, guiding the puck past Massachusetts goaltended Nic Reynard and into the back of the net 4:30 in the first period.
UMass Lowell pushed the margin to 2-0 with a Ryan Collins (Newton, Mass.) tally 10:31 into the opening period. Collins picked up a loose rebound in front of the goal, finishing the play with a backhand into the left corner of the Minutemen’s net.
The lone goal of the second period came with just less than three minutes of play, when Hough kept the River Hawks rolling and created a 3-0 buffer, as the forward posted his first goal of the night.
The home team continued to press the Minutemen coming out of the second intermission, as the River Hawks tacked on two goals within two minutes of each other. Hough netted his second goal of the night, extending the lead to 4-0, when moments later UMass Lowell gained a 5-0 lead, after a goal from senior forward A.J. White (Dearborn, Mich.).
With Saturday’s victory, the River Hawks continue to hold a strong 43-25-7 in the all-time series against Massachusetts. UMass Lowell is back in action and on the road at Providence, set to take on the reigning National Champions, on Friday, January 22 for a 7 p.m. game from Schneider Arena.