UMass hockey heads to Friendship Four championship game with 2-1 win over UMass Lowell

Staff Writer 
Published: 11/25/2022 7:44:43 PM
Modified: 11/25/2022 7:42:25 PM

Freshman Kenny Connors posted his second two-goal effort of the season for No. 17 UMass in his team’s opening game at the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland, against No. 13/14 UMass Lowell.

Connors scored both of the Minutemen’s goals in a tight 2-1 victory on Friday to send UMass to the championship game. The Minutemen will face off against No. 4 Quinnipiac for the Belpot Trophy, with the puck dropping at 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

UMass goalie Luke Pavicich posted 32 saves for his sixth win of the season. 

Both teams were scoreless in the first period, though UMass had to kill off two penalties with Eric Faith and Cal Kiefiuk in the box for hooking and boarding, respectively. UMass-Lowell got just one shot off on both power play chances, and UMass made them pay early in the second. 

Connors’ first goal of the night came off a freshman connection just 2:11 into the second frame. Fellow first-year Cole O’Hara sent the puck into the crease, where Connors buried it past goalie Gustavs Davis Grigals. 

The Minutemen had a pair of power play opportunities, but couldn’t convert on either. Both teams went into the third period with UMass holding on to the 1-0 lead. 

Connors scored his second goal of the night less than two minutes into the third frame. Taylor Makar let loose an initial stop that Grigals stopped, but Connors was there to clean up the rebound and double the Minutemen’s lead. 

The River Hawks made it a one-goal game near the 10 minute mark of the third period when TJ Schweighardt picked up a loose puck and sent it past Pavicich.

UMass Lowell tried to tie the game late, pulling its netminder and pouring on the pressure with an extra skater, but the Minutemen staved them off for the win. 

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