HANOVER, N.H. – The UMass Lowell men’s hockey team came away from Thompson Arena this weekend as the champions of the 28th Ledyard Classic thanks to a 7-4 win Saturday night against the hosts from Dartmouth.
The River Hawks (12-5-3) broke a 4-4 tie with 8:56 remaining in the third period before adding two empty-net goals in the final 1:10 to earn their first Ledyard Classic title in their fourth appearance.
The Big Green (4-6-3) dropped their first game at home this season in the final contest of 2016, but not for a lack of effort as they erased a two-goal deficit in the second and a one-goal lead for UML in the third before eventually succumbing to the visitors’ attack.
“They (Lowell) are a really good team and we can all see why,” Bob Gaudet said following his 900th career game as a head coach in his 29 seasons between Brown (9) and Dartmouth (20). “The expectations from a lot of people on the outside was Lowell was going to win this easily, but the disappointment in our locker room right now says to me that we expected to win this game tonight.”
Freshman Daniel Warpecha scored twice in the game, opening the scoring at 2:11. Lowell followed with a pair of goals from C.J. Smith at 6:00 and 8:00, respectively.
Joe Gambardella made the UML lead 3-1 with his second goal of the weekend just 6:04 into the middle frame. That’s when freshman Clay Han responded with his second of the year on a shot from the point through traffic. Sophomore Cameron Roth netted the first of his career with another point shot just 41 seconds later to pull Dartmouth even.
The Dylan Zink shooting exhibition began at 14:03 of the middle frame with a perfectly placed wrist shot under the cross bar as the River Hawks moved the puck from left to right across the offensive zone, shifting the defense with it.
That 4-3 score remained until Warpecha’s second of the night and fifth of the season – tying him for the team lead — found the back of the net with 12:47 to go on the clock.
However, Zink netted another just over four minutes later on a one-timer in the slot for the eventual game winner. John Edwardh and Smith added the empty netters with Smith’s earning him the hat trick and capping the scoring.
Lowell scored on three of its five power-play chances, while Han’s marker was the lone Dartmouth score in four opportunities with the man-advantage.
Junior Devin Buffalo made 36 saves in the losing effort, while Tyler Wall earned the win in relief of Garrett Metcalf, who was pulled after the Han goal.
The Big Green will remain at home for a pair of ECAC Hockey contests next weekend, closing out a three-game homestand with Princeton and Quinnipiac on Friday and Saturday nights.
Tim Harrison – Colgate
CJ Smith – UMass Lowell
Dominic Franco – Army West Point
Daniel Warpecha – Dartmouth
Dylan Zink - UMass Lowell
Parker Gahagen – Army West Point
MVP: Joe Gambardella – UMass Lowell