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From Despair to More Hardware, UML Hockey Program Thriving under Bazin

Members of the UMass Lowell hockey team
Members of the UMass Lowell hockey team celebrate after winning the Ledyard Classic on Saturday night in Hanover, N.H. The River Hawks defeated host Dartmouth in the title game, 7-4.

Lowell Sun
By Barry Scanlon

In the spring of 2011, the UMass Lowell hockey team was coming off a 5-24-4 record and a 4-21-2 mark in Hockey East.

Worse, there were whispers that many in the university system wanted to devote more resources to UMass Amherst and place less of an emphasis on UMass Lowell.

Things were "The Revenant" bleak at the Tsongas Center.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when the River Hawks won yet another title, the Ledyard Classic, with victories over Colgate and then host Dartmouth.

To say coach Norm Bazin, now in his sixth season, has done an amazing job at his alma mater is like saying Kate Upton has some followers on Twitter.

Under Bazin, UMass Lowell has played in four straight Hockey East championship games (winning in 2013 and 2014) and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

UML has won 10 tournaments under Bazin -- six in-season tourneys, two Hockey East tourney titles, one Hockey East regular season crown and one NCAA Northeast Regional title.

These are heady times for UMass Lowell, which has been ranked in the top 10 all winter and looks primed for a run at another NCAA postseason appearance.

Senior Joe Gambardella is tied for first in the nation with 21 points and his 31 points placed him seventh nationally.