Hockey East Preview: UMass-Lowell Riverhawks
Last Season: 24-13-1 (17-9-1), Finished 2nd, Lost to Providence in HE Quarterfinals, Lost to Union College in NCAA Regional Final
What Happened: As arguably the biggest surprise in the country last year, Umass-Lowell went from a tenth place Hockey East finish in 2010-2011 to second place last season. First-year coach Norm Bazin improved the team’s record by 19 wins, led the team to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1995-1996 and was named Hockey East Coach of the Year. After finishing second in the regular season, Lowell faced another surprise team, Providence, in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. The Friars dispatched the Riverhawks in three games, but Lowell was able to make noise in the NCAA tournament, defeating No.2 Miami (OH) in the first round before losing to Union College in the Regional Final.
- Matt Ferreira (F) – Ferreira finished fourth on the Riverhawks with 34 points (14 G, 18 A), which was double his previous career high. He also tied for the team lead with four game-winning goals. Ferreira finished his career with a scoring line of 29-30-59.
- David Vallorani (F) – David Vallorani spent his four-year career in Lowell as one of the team’s most consistent players. Vallorani played in the fourth most games in school history, 149, and finished with 114 points. He finished in the top five in team scoring in each of his four years as a Riverhawk.
- Doug Carr (G) – Carr came into his sophomore season and became one of the premier goalies in Hockey East. After a shaky freshman season, Carr was named to the All-Hockey East second team. Carr finished second in the conference in both Goals Against Average (2.13) and Save Percentage (.913) He is expected to once again be one of the conference’s top goalies and will have high expectations for 2012-2013.
- Scott Wilson (F) – Wilson burst onto the Hockey East scene and immediately became an impact player in the league. Wilson finished with a scoring line of 16-22-38, good for second on the Riverhawks and second among all Hockey East rookies. Wilson was a unanimous choice for the HE All-Rookie team and was honorable mention for the HE All-Conference team. Wilson will be looked upon to be one of the go-to scorers for the Riverhawks as a sophomore for the team to continue its success.
- Riley Wetmore (F) – The junior captain led the Riverhawks in scoring with 39 points, good enough for tenth in the conference. Wetmore earned 22 of his points in the second half of the year, including nine during a five game winning streak in late January through February. Wetmore will be expected to continue being one of the top players in Hockey East, and help young players such as Wilson develop if the team is going to continue being a threat in the conference.
2012-2013 Outlook: Umass-Lowell should expect to contend for the Hockey East Championship for a second straight year, as well as a second consecutive NCAA tournament berth. The team is very young, with only three seniors on the roster this year. But these players tasted success in 2011-2012 and now know what is needed to continue it. The Riverhawks have a strong, young nucleus as well as good veteran leadership in Wetmore. In addition to goaltender Carr, the team returns seven of its nine skaters with over 20 points from a year ago, and also returns solid defensemen Chad Ruhwedel (All HE Honorable Mention) and Zach Kamrass (Hockey East All-Rookie Team).
- Mike Sobel