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Winter Sports Chilling Competition

Hockey, Basketball and Stanley Cup Come to the Tsongas

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The Stanley Cup and Hoop Slam will keep the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell busy this weekend.

By Julia Gavin

The winter sports season at UMass Lowell is off to a strong start with the hockey team leading the charge. The River Hawks have already won more games this season than they did last year and are improving rapidly under new coach Norm Bazin.

The Tsongas Center is in for a big weekend with two special events. UMass Lowell has partnered with Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union to bring the Stanley Cup to the game Friday evening against the University of New Hampshire. The cup, won by the Boston Bruins in 2011, has toured the globe and will be available to ticketholders for pictures before and during the game. 

The second annual UMass Lowell River Hawk Hoop Slam will welcome basketball fans to the Tsongas Center as the men’s and women’s teams play against Merrimack College on Saturday. The women will play at 2 p.m. and the men at 4 p.m. One lucky fan will have a chance to shoot for $10,000. 

The River Hawks are recovering well from a rough 2010-11 season as they shut out Alabama-Huntsville 3-0 last week, bringing their record to 7-4-0 in regular play and 4-3-0 in Hockey East. Sophomore goaltender Doug Carr was named the Hockey East Goaltender of the Month for November. Carr was 5-0-0 last month with a .941 save percentage and 1.40 goals against average. He stopped 112 of 119 shots, only allowing seven goals in five games and two shutouts.

This weekend they’ll play a home-and-home series against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. Check out a preview video of the weekend.

In addition to the Stanley Cup’s appearance at the Friday home game, the U.S. Army, UMass Lowell's Air Force ROTC and the Student Veterans' Organization will be on hand as part of American Heroes Night. Fans are asked to bring a donation for the Student Veterans Organization's annual care package drive to support the troops. 

The River Hawks snapped a four-game losing streak to beat Stonehill 76-72 in a Northeast-10 Conference game. Junior Brianna Wilson led the team with a career-high 23 points for the night. Check out a highlights video

“This shows us that we can beat anyone,” says head coach Sarah Behn. “We had a solid game plan with 10 players in the game and every one of them played well. I’m really proud of them. When you’re in a losing streak it’s harder and harder to snap out of it the longer it gets.”

“We can build off this win,” Behn says. “Our shot selection was better. We made our free throws. We’ve been working hard on defense and the offense is coming along.”

The River Hawks slipped to 4-23 overall and 1-23 in the Northeast-10 after a 72-59 loss to Stonehill College. Sophomore Akeem Williams continued his high-scoring streak with 21 points and senior Andre Tongo followed with 17. 

"Our offense is struggling," says head coach Greg Herenda. "We are not taking good shots and we're turning the ball over. That's not a good combination. We did a nice job limiting Stonehill's interior game, but we gave up nine threes."

As the team readies to play Merrimack on Saturday at Hoop Slam, Herenda is looking forward to playing in front of home court fans

"Saturday is a great opportunity to get back to the Tsongas Center and play in a great arena in front of our own fans," Herenda says.