Hockey East Preview- University of Massachusetts Lowell Riverhawks

BY: JOSH BROWN

Head Coach – Norm Bazin (4th Season)

Last Season – 26-11-4 (HE: 11-6-3) Won Hockey East Championship, Lost NCAA Northeast Regional Semifinals

Losses – F Shayne Thompson, F Josh Holmstrom, F Joseph Pendenza, F Derek Arnold, D Joe Houk, D Daniel Furlong, G Doug Carr, G Connor Hellebuyck

Newcomers– F Dylan Hollman,F Gage Hough, F Michael Louria F C.J. Smith, F Jake Kamrass, F Ryan Collins, F John Edwardh D Tommy Panico, D Chris Forney, D Tyler Mueller D Lucas Kohls, G Jeff Smith

For the second straight year the Umass- Lowell Riverhawks name will be hanging in the rafters of the TD Garden. After winning their second consecutive Hockey East Championship, and winning a game in the NCAA Tournament, all was well in Lowell until coach Norm Bazin got the message his star goalie Connor Hellebuyck would be leaving to pursue his professional career.

Along with the losses of Derek Arnold and Joseph Pendenza, this Lowell team is going to need a lot of players to step up if they want to even come close to replicating the success the program has had over the past two seasons.

After also loosing backup goalie Doug Carr to graudation, Lowell will turn to Umass-Amherst transfer Kevin Boyle between the pipes in 2014-2015. Boyle spent 2011-2013 in Amherst posting a 16-17-6 record, with .896 save percentage and a 2.86 goals against average.

Adam Chapie and Evan Campbell will be asked to step up in lieu of the departures of Pendenza and Arnold, for a Lowell team who finished 7th in Hockey East last year, scoring 2.83 goals per game.  Despite the mediocrity on the offensive end, Lowell was able to be so successful the past few seasons because of their defense and Hellebuyck, who as a unit allowed a league low 1.88 goals per game last season.

Bottom Line- It was a good run for the Riverhawks who took the conference by surprise the past two seasons. Expect Lowell to finish in the bottom half of the league this season as they try to recover from a couple huge losses in the off season. The Riverhawks have as good a coach as anyone to lead them through this rebuild in Norm Bazin, who in his three seasons so far at Lowell has shown he’s one of the best in the country.