No. 16 River Hawks hit the road for Michigan State

Thursday vs. Michigan State: Live statistics | Watch (B1G+, $) | Game Notes
Friday against Michigan State: Live statistics | Watch (B1G+, $) | Game Notes

LOWELL, Mass.—The No. 16 UMass Lowell men’s hockey team (2-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) heads west for its first road trip of the year, the 13th and Oct. 14, to face non-conference opponent Michigan State (1-1-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten). Thursday night’s puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m., while Friday’s start time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


The River Hawks are heading to the weekend series with Michigan State on a winning streak after posting a comeback victory Saturday night against Miami (OH). In the first three matches, the seniors Brian Chambers and Carl Berglund became leaders for UMass Lowell. Berglund and Chambers led the River Hawks with a team-high three points each past weekend against the RedHawks. Berglund scored two goals and added an assist, while Chambers provided three career assists on the outing. The veteran forward pair currently hold a team-best four points. Berglund’s three goals in three games are good for the team’s first, while Chambers’ three assists are also the team’s best mark.

UMass Lowell’s defense has been successful at both ends of the ice this season, adding depth to the River Hawks’ offense. Three of the team’s seven multipoint scorers this year come out of the blue line, with isaac jonsson, Marek Korencik and Jon McDonald both having two points to their name this season. The defense has also worked hard to put bodies in front of the shots this season. Junior Brehdan Engum is averaging 2.0 blocks per game in his first three appearances this season for a team-high six so far. Not far behind, McDonald’s owns five, while Korencik, Jonsson and sophomore Gabe Blanchard have four each.

Transfers of graduates Gustavs Davis Grigales is likely to get the nod again for UMass Lowell after going 2-0-0 on Saturday. The goaltender stopped 22 shots against the RedHawks to help the River Hawks complete a 4-2 comeback. In his first two games, he posted a 1.0 GAA and a .961 save percentage.


The Spartans enter this weekend’s series after a 1-1 home run with Bowling Green. Michigan State dropped Game 1 to the Munn before hitting the road to visit the Falcons for a narrow 2-1 victory. The freshmen led the scoring for Michigan State’s opening weekend, with all three of their goals coming off the freshmen’s bats. Daniel Russell was a scoring force for the Spartans with goals in both games against Bowling Green, including Saturday’s game winner. Shoudy scored the tying goal for the Spartans on Saturday to help secure the series split.

On defense, the Spartans fired five key members of their defensive core from last year: Nash Nienhuis, David Guicciardi, Christian Krygier, Cole Krygier and Powell Connor. Nienhuis was involved in both of Russell’s goals last weekend and is currently tied for first with Russell. Michigan State bolstered its experienced blue line with the addition of Michael Underwood, a transfer graduate from Clarkson. The newcomer has 130 games of experience under his belt with a 5-13-18 line, 98 career PIM and 161 blocked shots.

Between the posts, Dylan St. Cyr played both games last weekend for the Spartans. In Friday’s 3-1 loss, he made 26 saves, then rebounded on Saturday with 16 saves and only one goal allowed in the 2-1 victory. A new face for the Spartans, St. Cyr joined the teams as a graduate transfer from Quinnipiac.


Last year’s homestand against the Spartans saw a number of firsts for the River Hawks in the scoring column. In particular, the defender Brehdan Engum scored his first collegiate goal in the team’s opening night 2-2 draw with the Spartans. Nik Armstrong-Kingkade had a career night on night two for UMass Lowell, scoring twice for the first multi-point, multi-goal game of his career. Senior Carl Berglund registered a goal and an assist to finish with two points in both games.


The Miami (OH) RedHawks visited Mill City for the River Hawks’ first two-game series of the year. The home team suffered a fall on the first night, losing 3-1. UMass Lowell bounced back in epic fashion on Saturday night with a 4-2 thriller from behind at the senior-led Tsongas Center Carl Berglund and Brian Chambers. Graduate student Filip Fornåå Svensson picked up his first two points as a River Hawk with a goal and an assist in Saturday night’s win. Senior Marek Korencik also notched his first home goal, scoring the second-half equalizer that sparked UMass Lowell’s comeback effort. Transfer graduate Gustavs Davis Grigales continued to impress with his acrobatics in net, stopping 22 shots to move to a 2-0-0 mark as River Hawk.


UMass Lowell currently ranks fourth in the nation in face-off point heading into this weekend’s slate. The River Hawks have won 112 of their 180 faceoffs for a .622 winning percentage in their first three games. Leading the charge for UMass Lowell, senior Jake Stella, a transfer from AIC, has a .566 game winning percentage. His 30 wins put him 20th nationally alongside RIT’s Andrew Petrucci. Not far behind Stella, senior Brian Chambers is tied for 28th in the NCAA with 28 wins.


Only one currently listed River Hawk hails from
Michigan. Graduate student Jon McDonald calls the Great Lakes state home. Hailing from Livonia, Michigan, the hometown of McDonald’s is just outside of Detroit and about an hour and a half from the Munn.


The River Hawks have enjoyed quite a bit of success against the Big Ten throughout the program’s history, recording an all-time mark of 9-2-2 against foes B1G. Last season, UMass Lowell amassed a 1-0-1 record against the conference last season after a two-game homestand against
State of Michigan.


After a 1-1-0 weekend against Miami (OH), the River Hawks fell just one spot in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls to 16 after being ranked 15 in both la last week.


A win today would take the River Hawks to a 3-1-0 season record and an 8-5-1 record against the Spartans. The head coach Norm Bazin would also go to a 4-0-1 career mark against Michigan State. It would also extend UMass Lowell’s active winning streak and winning streak against Michigan State to two games.


The River Hawks open conference action next Saturday, October 22, on the road against defending regular season champions Hockey East and current number 7/8 Northeast. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena.

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