# 3 UMass-Lowell Wipes Out WCHA Champ Wisconsin

Wisconsin center MARK ZENGERLE (9), the undrafted junior from Rochester, New York, who finished as the third-leading scorer with 32 points (nine goals) for the Badgers this season, is harassed by UMass – Lowell defenseman CHAD RUHWEDEL (3), the undrafted junior by way of San Diego, California, and the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, while River Hawks right wing JOSH HOLMSTROM (12), the junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado, who also skated with Sioux Falls in the USHL, chases from behind during the Northeast Regional semifinal contest watched by 8,049 spectators at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.

A relatively early goal against the run of play in the first period and two more unanswered strikes in the second session combined with continued good form from the standout freshman netminder to propel the # 3 ranked UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS – LOWELL to a decisive 6-1 triumph over six-time NCAA champion WISCONSIN on the opening day of the 2013 NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament.

UMass – Lowell goaltender CONNOR HELLEBUYCK, the newcomer who was chosen in the fifth round (# 130 overall) of the 2012 National Hockey League Draft last summer, stopped 31 of 32 Wisconsin shots to pick up right where he left off after winning the Most Valuable Player award at the 2013 Hockey East post-season tournament. The 19-year-old from Commerce, Michigan, has won eighteen of his last nineteen starts since taking over as the number one netminder for the River Hawks. Hellebuyck has been particularly sharp for streaking UMass – Lowell as of late, halting 100 of 102 shots faced in the River Hawks’ last three games against Providence College, Boston University as well as Wisconsin.

Hellebuyck pulled off a signature save for the evening with just a little less than four minutes remaining until the first intermission after Wisconsin center JEFFERSON DAHL, the homegrown junior from Eau Claire who scored seven goals in 42 games for the Badgers on this 2012/13 campaign, had been hauled down from behind and awarded a penalty shot.

UMass – Lowell, who also qualified for the Sweet Sixteen On Ice last season but are still only appearing in the annual NCAA tournament for the fifth time in school history, stormed to the lead after JOSEPH PENDENZA, the homegrown junior from Wilmington, raced down the left wing and whipped a wrist shot past Wisconsin backstop JOEL RUMPEL to the far side with little more than seven minutes having been played. The Badgers went on to outshoot the River Hawks 11-4 in the first twenty minutes but, on the heels of Hellebuyck’s late first period heroics, the River Hawks quickly grabbed a second goal just 3:12 into the second session at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester after Swedish import CHRISTIAN FOLIN, the freshman defenseman from Gothenburg, worked a smooth give-and-go with Canadian legionnaire SCOTT WILSON, the sophomore left wing from Oakville, Ontario, who was a seventh round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins (# 209 overall) at the 2011 NHL Draft and currently leads UMass – Lowell with 16 goals this season.


Badgers defenseman JOE FAUST (24), the seasoned junior from Bloomington, Minnesota, who was selected in the fourth round (# 114 overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Draft by the New Jersey Devils, cannot prevent UMass – Lowell’s Canadian legionnaire SHAYNE THOMPSON (7), the hard-working junior left wing from Brockville, Ontario, from slipping the puck past Wisconsin’s Canadian legionnaire netminder JOEL RUMPEL (33), the undrafted sophomore from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, with time running out in the second period of the NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament Northeast Regional semifinal contest in Manchester, New Hampshire.

UMass – Lowell established what turned out to be a death-grip on the game after Canadian legionnaire SHAYNE THOMPSON got in behind the Wisconsin defense to collect a home run pass from River Hawks rearguard JAKE SUTER, the sophomore who hails from Flambeau, Wisconsin, just before reaching the Badgers blue line; a third goal of this season from the traditionally low-scoring junior left wing, who has now netted exactly eight goals in three years with UMass – Lowell, at the 14:08 mark of the second period left Wisconsin deep in a 3-0 hole.

Wisconsin finally got on the scoreboard more than forty-eight minutes into this NCAA tournament fixture after in-form freshman left wing NIC KERDILES, the native Californian who was the second round choice (# 36 overall) of the Anaheim Ducks at the 2012 NHL Draft last summer and the MVP of the WCHA’s Frozen Five tournament this season, netted with the man-advantage. It should be noted that the Badgers never did get much of a contribution in the post-season playoffs from junior right wing MICHAEL MERSCH, the junior who led the Big Ten this season by scoring 22 goals in 36 regular season games for Wisconsin, however. The closely-watched Mersch managed to tally just one goal in six playoff contests for the Badgers this spring.

UMass – Lowell, who improved its record this term to 27 wins against 10 losses with two ties, might have responded by adopting ultra-defensive tactics in an effort to effectively kill off the remainder of the game with Wisconsin. Instead, however, the enterprising River Hawks retaliated for the lost shutout by shooting three more goals in the final six minutes of play. Right wing DEREK ARNOLD, the homegrown junior from Foxboro who scored UMass – Lowell’s only goal in the 2013 Hockey East tournament final against Boston University, worked a one-two with left wing RYAN MCGRATH, the 21-year-old freshman from O’Fallon, Missouri, and stretched the Red Hawks’ margin to 4-1 at the 13:56 mark of the third period.

Wisconsin, who ended its 2012/13 campaign with a final slate of 22 wins against 13 losses with seven ties, made one last ditch attempt at a comeback and, accordingly, lifted its Canadian legionnaire netminder JOEL RUMPEL in the waning moments. This development only enabled UMass – Lowell fourth line right wing ADAM CHAPIE, the 21-year-old freshman from Oxford, Michigan, to amass his sixth goal of the season via an empty net strike. The explosive Red Hawks also tacked on a power play goal by McGrath with just three seconds remaining after Wisconsin center BRANDON WOODS, the sophomore who was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fifth round (# 129 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft last summer, had gone off for roughing.


UMass – Lowell goaltender CONNOR HELLEBUYCK (31) prepares to deal with the backhand effort from Wisconsin right wing MICHAEL MERSCH (25), the junior from Park Grove, Illinois, who was the fourth round pick of the reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at the 2010 NHL Draft, as Badgers left wing JOSEPH LABATE (16), the sophomore from Eagan, Minnesota, who was tabbed in the fourth round (# 101 overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, hopes for a rebound during the opening round match of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Verizon Wireless Center in New England.

NCAA Northeast Regional Semifinal
Verizon Wireless Arena – Manchester, New Hampshire

07:11 … UML – Pendenza 14 (White, Houck)
23:12 … UML – Folin 6 (Wilson)
34:08 … UML – Thompson 3 (Suter)
48:19 … WIS – Kerdiles 11 (LaBate, Ramage) – ppg
53:56 … UML – Arnold 13 (McGrath)
59:12 … UML – Chapie 5 (none) – eng
59:57 … UML – McGrath 7 (Amlong) – ppg

UMASS – LOWELL : Hellebucyk – Kamrass, Ruhwedel ; Amlong, Folin ; Houk, Suter – White, Pendetta, Holmstrom ; McGrath, Wetmore, Arnold ; Wilson, Fallon, Wallin ; Thompson, Buco, Chapie

WISCONSIN : Rumpel – McCabe, Simonelli ; Schulze, Ramage ; Wittchow, Faust – Kerdiles, Zengerle, Barnes ; LaBate, Woods, Mersch ; R. Little, Dahl, S. Little ; Navin, Meuer, Paape

Notes — University of Massachusetts – Lowell River Hawks, the first-time Hockey East playoff champion this term, had only two of its three National Hockey League draft choices suited up for its opening contest at the 2013 NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament as compared to the nine NHL draft picks who were in uniform for the Wisconsin Badgers.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.