The Mack Report

Final: Lowell 3, Merrimack 1

UML's Josh Holmstrom#12 2nd goal at 8-40 of P1 vs. MC Final UML3 MC1 Photo Walter Rossini 3-3-13 #6747

Photo by Walter Rossini

NORTH ANDOVER — Two weeks ago the mood inside Lawler Rink was vastly different than it was on Sunday.

Instead of battling Boston College with first place on the line, the Warriors were trying to stop a tailspin that has seen them plummet from the top spot in Hockey East down to sixth.

They did themselves no favors, falling to UMass Lowell, 3-1, at Lawler Arena. They’re now 0-4-1 in their last five games, scoring just six goals over that span.

Josh Holmstrom put the River Hawks on the board twice in the first period. First, sneaking out from behind the net as Joseph Pendenza fired a puck towards the crease off the left-wing wall and tipping the incoming puck past Rasmus Tirronen.

Then 4:22 later, he stood on the doorstep and had both the opportunity to tip an incoming Scott Wilson shot, and then whack away at the rebound before finding a hole through Tirronen.

Shawn Bates scored the Warriors’ lone goal. Rhett Bly picked the pocket of a Lowell defender and raced in with Bates, feeding him the puck as they entered the offensive zone and Bates rifled it past Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who won his 12th straight game.

It was Merrimack’s only goal on the weekend.

The Warriors were in danger of being shutout in back-to-back games for just the third time in program history, having previously laid goose eggs in back-to-back games in 2005 (Boston College and Vermont) and 1999 (Boston College and Niagara).