River Hawks Ready for Arizona State
TEMPE, Arizona—In a long-awaited return to normal, the UMass Lowell men’s hockey team kicks off their road season with a pair of games against Arizona State on Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3. p.m. MST (10 p.m. EST) while Sunday’s morning game is scheduled for 4 p.m. MST (7 p.m. EST).
SCOUTING THE RIVER FALCONS
UMass Lowell begins the 2021-22 season after a 10-9-1 season and a visit to the Hockey East Championship game. The River Hawks lost eight players from the team last year. Some have gone pro, others have graduated and some are transferring. This year’s list shows nine new faces; seven are freshmen, two are transfers. UMass Lowell received votes in the USCHO and USA Hockey Magazine polls, but is not ranked in the top twenty. Hockey East coaches placed the River Hawks seventh in the eleven-team conference. The club see six of last year’s top ten scorers returning this season. Andre lee and Reid stefanson led the team with 16 and 15 points in 20 contests a year ago. Goalkeepers Henri welsch and Owen Savory combined to start 19 of the team’s 20 games a year ago. Welsch posted a goals against average of 2.54, Savory registered a score of 3.35.
SCOUTING THE SUN DEVILS
It has been over a year since Arizona State played a home game. The Sun Devils played all 26 games a year ago as a road team, ending the year with a 7-16-3 record. The state of Arizona is independent from Division I, but entered into a programming agreement with the Big Ten a year ago. Eight of last year’s top ten scorers return for another season. Matthew Kopperud led the club in goals (13) and points (19). Second-year goaltender Cole Brady, a New Jersey Devil draft pick, returns for his second season. Brady started 12 of the team’s 26 games a year ago. He posted an average of 3.31 and a save percentage of .910.
ALL TIME SERIES vs. ARIZONA STATE
This weekend’s games will only be the fifth and sixth between the two schools in a series dating back to 2016. UMass Lowell leads the series with a 3-1-0 record. The River Hawks swept both sets played at Lowell in 2016. The two teams separated a pair of games played at Oceanside Ice Arena in 2018, each winning by a score of 4-0. Tyler Wall got the shutout for the River Hawks, Joey Daccord scored the white for Sun Devil.
SCORE AGAINST THE STATE OF ARIZONA
Only three River Hawks have ever played games against Arizona State and only one has done so in the UMass Lowell uniform. Connor Södergren, playing in his fifth season UMass Lowell, is useless in two contests. Graduate transfer Nick austin also faced ASU twice during his freshman year at Colgate. He was held without a point, but was a plus-2. Junior transfer Ryan brushett got just one point, an assist while playing for Nebraska Omaha.
HOCKEY IN THE DESERT
UMass Lowell is one of the few college programs to play Division I hockey against Arizona State and Northern Arizona. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks were members of the Great West Hockey short-lived conference with US International and the two Alaska schools. The ULowell Chiefs and Northern Arizona shared four games during the 1983-84 season. The Chiefs won 6-5 when the two met at the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament and 4-3 later in the season at the Tully Forum. The Lumberjacks have won twice, 7-1 and 7-3, in Flagstaff.
ICE BY THE OCEAN
UMass Lowell and Arizona State are playing this weekend at the Oceanside Ice Arena. How far is it between the arena and an ocean beach …? It is approximately 358 miles from the arena in Laguna Beach, California. Why the nickname “Oceanside” …? It got the name Oceanside to match the west coast theme of an adjacent resort that included a water park with one of the first wave pools.
Vs. GREAT FOOTBALL SCHOOLS
UMass Lowell is 62-29-7 against Schools with Big Football Programs (FBS members) since Norm Bazin took over behind the bench. This includes a 9-3-2 record against Notre Dame, a 4-1-0 record against Penn State and 3-1-0 against Arizona State, and a 20-5-1 record against Massachusetts. The River Hawks are also 12-12-2 against Boston College and 9-6-2 against UConn. They also have winning records against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Miami.
When UMass Lowell and Arizona State play this weekend in the Oceanside Ice Arena, they will be in the Rocky Mountain time zone. At the moment, there is a difference of three hours. The River Hawks did not do well in the Rocky Mountain time zone. They are 4-11-1 all the time. A victory and a tie came against teams from the Eastern time zone. They beat Harvard and tied Brown in Denver Cup tournament games. Two of their time zone wins came against Colorado College and one against Arizona State.
UMass Lowell is 28-21-5, all-time, in the season opener and 2-2-1 in the last five and 5-3-2 in Norm Bazin‘s ten openers. The River Hawks are 31-20-4 in the opener at home, but are only 0.500 when they open the season at home, 11-11-3. UMass Lowell is 16-14-5 in the Hockey East opener and 14-17-5 in the Hockey East home opener. When the River Hawks open the road season, they are 17-10-2.
START ON THE ROAD
This is only the second time since Norm Bazin took over the hockey program as the River Hawks started the season on the road. The last time the team was invited to the first game was during the 2011-12 season. UMass Lowell opened the year at Minnesota State and swept the weekend series 4-2, 4-1. These victories were the first two of Bazin’s coaching career in Division I.