LOWELL — Extra hockey doesn’t mean extra money in Norm Bazin’s paycheck.
“Not that I know of,” a smiling Bazin said when asked if he gets paid extra now that the UMass Lowell hockey team has played in four straight overtime games, a program record.
When UML defeated Providence on freshman Carl Berglund’s OT goal on Saturday, it marked the first time the River Hawks had prevailed in extra time in 645 days. The previous OT winner was pocketed by Connor Wilson at Vermont.
Ironically, Berglund came close to being the overtime hero the night before, but BU goaltender Sam Tucker used the top of his stick to reject Berglund’s breakaway bid.
“There’s so much parity,” Bazin said. “There’s so many teams that are so close. It feels good to win, period. But it does give you a little bit extra oomph. This is a new group. We will have success in overtime this year.”
UML is now 2-10-10 in its last 22 overtime games.
Sophomore defenseman Chase Blackmun said he’s never played in four straight overtime games.
“But it’s very exciting. Overtime hockey is the (most fun) hockey you play,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve turned over a new leaf in overtime.”
Offense from defense
Bazin-coached teams have always featured plenty of offense from defensemen.
But entering Friday’s meeting with BU, the seven defensemen in UML’s lineup had combined for zero goals and only three points in six games. (Sophomore Jon McDonald has two assists, but he’s sidelined with an injury).
That changed last weekend.
Blackmun (goal, assist) and Seth Barton (goal, 2 assists) produced important offense in a 3-3 tie with BU and a 3-2 overtime win over seventh-ranked Providence.
“You have to play the game honestly,” Blackmun said. “The offense will come as the season goes along. You can’t chase it. You can’t force anything. You’ve got to let the game come to you.”
“I think it’s important to get offense from everywhere. You’ve got to play the right way,” Bazin said.
Senior Tyler Wall was named the Hockey East Goaltender of the Week after sparking a three-point weekend.
Wall, who tied a career high when he made 40 stops at Providence, is tied for third in the nation with a .947 save percentage and his 1.52 goals-against average is the eighth-best mark.
Wall has 44 career wins and trails only Dwayne Roloson (51) and Martin Fillion (50) for most Division 1 victories in program history.
Wall said his only goal before every game is to be “solid and dependable,” and he’s certainly doing that this season.
“He’s been outstanding. He’s been the backbone of the team,” Blackmun said.
Offensively, senior Kenny Hausinger (4-5-9) and freshman Matt Brown (3-6-9) are tied for seventh in the country for most points.
Brown is tied for the freshman scoring lead, though Wisconsin’s Cole Caulfield and Minnesota State’s Lucas Souder have played two fewer games.
Brown is a major reason UML’s freshman class has scored 11 of the team’s 21 goals. Berglund (3), Andre Lee (3) and Zach Kaiser (2) have also found the back of the net more than once.
NOTES: UML commit Ben Meehan continues to pile up points in his first season in the United States Hockey League. The Cedar Rapids defenseman has 11 points in 10 games. His six goals lead all defensemen and his 11 points are second among blueliners. The Walpole native was named the USHL’s Defenseman of the Week. … The 17th-ranked River Hawks (4-2-2) play two Hockey East games at Vermont (1-3-0) this weekend. Bazin calls Vermont senior Stefanos Lekkas an “exceptional” goaltender.