DURHAM — Bedford’s Mike Robinson earned his fifth career shutout in the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team’s 1-0 triumph over No. 14 UMass Lowell Friday night in the Wildcats’ final game at the Whittemore Center this season.
The sophomore goaltender made 29 saves en route to the win, his fifth shutout of the season.
Despite the win, UNH (12-12-8, 8-9-5) remains in eighth place in the Hockey East standings due to seventh-place Boston College’s 3-1 win over Northeastern Friday. The Wildcats have qualified for the eight-team Hockey East playoffs and will play on the road in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
UNH ended a three-game losing streak with the win.
UMass Lowell (18-11-3, 12-7-3 Hockey East) had only been shut out once this season entering Friday.
“Michael, when he has good weeks of practice it translates over,” UNH coach Mike Souza said of Robinson. “I thought he had an exceptional week of practice. I thought he was focused. I thought his rebound control was good. I thought he was seeing pucks, (smothering) pucks and he played solid.”
The River Hawks outshot UNH, 8-1, in the third period and pulled goaltender Christoffer Hernberg (21 saves) for an extra skater with 1:51 remaining.
“I knew going into the third period, it wasn’t going to be easy,” Robinson said. “I knew we were going to get (UMass Lowell’s) best game and I thought we showed pretty good resilience against that and kind of weathering the storm and we’re pretty happy with the result.”
UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin said he thought his team created scoring opportunities but lacked determination.
“I thought we had enough looks on net but there comes a time where you’re heading towards the playoffs, you’ve got to show a high level of determination,” Bazin said. “And, obviously, it wasn’t good enough for us because when you come up with a goose egg on 29 shots, you’re not determined enough.”
The Wildcats tallied the game’s lone goal with 2:53 remaining in the second period, when freshman forward Jackson Pierson scored on a breakaway. Pierson, who had not scored in his previous seven games, stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated up ice and shot through Hernberg’s legs to log his eighth career goal.
Before Pierson’s tally, the Wildcats had not scored since Brendan van Riemsdyk’s goal that came 5:01 into the second period of their 6-3 loss to Northeastern on Feb. 22.
UNH held the River Hawks scoreless over their two second period power-play opportunities. The Wildcats finished 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-1 on the power play.
UNH has gone 0-for-20 on the power play over its last seven games, generating 22 shots on goal during the drought.
UNH junior defenseman Anthony Wyse did not play due to a lower-body injury. He is considered day to day.
“Like Coach (Souza) says, we want to play our best hockey going into playoffs and I think that’s as close to our best hockey as we’ve got in the past couple weeks,” Robinson said.