UMaine’s Michael Mancinelli checks UMass Lowell’s Ryan Brushett during second period action of the game at Alfond Arean on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. UMass Lowell won the game 2-1. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

ORONO, Maine — The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Gustavs Davis Grigals and the University of Maine’s Victor Ostman showed why they are on the Mike Richter Award watch list for the nation’s top goalie Friday night.

Grigals made 25 saves to lead the No. 16 River Hawks to a 2-1 win over Ostman and the Black Bears at Alfond Arena. Ostman finished with 32 tops.

UMass Lowell improved to 12-8-1 overall and 6-4-1 in Hockey East while UMaine fell to 8-10-2 and 2-6-1. They will play again on Saturday at 7 p.m.

UMass Lowell goaltender Gustavs Davis Grigals blocks a shot by University of Maine’s Didrik Henbrant in the first period of the game at Alfond Arena Friday night. UMass Lowell won the game 2-1. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Senior defenseman Marek Korencik’s goal 6:36 into the game and sophomore defenseman Isac Jonsson’s goal at the 9:00 mark of the second period provided the River Hawks with a 2-0 lead. UMaine freshman center Reid Pabich cut the lead in half with 1:05 left in the middle period.

“We got outworked and outdetailed,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr. “The things we needed to do better than them we didn’t do. They finished more hits, they turned fewer pucks over and they got to the net better than we did.”

Korencik’s third goal of the season came off a drop pass by Jon McDonald. The 35-foot wrist shot from the high slot beat Ostman high to the blocker side. Carl Berglund also assisted on the goal.

University of Maine’s Nolan Renwick skates with the puck during first period action against UMass Lowell at Alfond Arena Friday night. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN
UMaine’s Reid Pabich skates the puck through UMass Lowell’s Marek Korencik (left) and Stefan Owens in the third period of the game at Alfond Arena on Friday. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

UMaine had a glorious chance to equalize when two simultaneous River Hawk penalties gave the Black Bears a full two-minute, two-man advantage.

But the Black Bear power play — a dismal 56th among 60 Division I teams in efficiency at 11.9 percent — didn’t generate a high-percentage scoring chance among its four shots on goal during the two minutes.

“You have to score on a five-on-three,” Barr said.

“I was out there for that and I take full ownership. We’re just not getting the job done,” said UMaine junior center Lynden Breen. “We didn’t make the right plays. It’s frustrating.” 

UMaine’s Reid Pabich reaches his stick around UMass Lowell’s Marek Korencik for the puck in the third period of the game at Alfond Arena on Friday. UMass Lowell won the game 2-1. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Ostman came up with a terrific save off a point-blank one-timer by Stefan Davis early in the second period but Jonsson scored moments later.

He pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle, spun around and wristed the puck through a maze of players into the top short side corner past the screened Ostman for his third goal of the season.

Korencik and Ryan Brushett notched assists.

“They had a guy who was willing to get to the net front” and screen Ostman, Barr said. “We aren’t willing to do that on a regular basis.”

Grigals preserved the 2-0 lead by making a pad save off a Thomas Freel breakaway created by a Luke Antonacci pass and then getting his blocker on Killian Kiecker-Olson’s 25-foot slap shot off a Donavan Houle pass.

UMaine’s Nolan Renwick skates the puck past UMass Lowell’s Zach Kaiser in the second period of the game at Alfond Arena on Friday. UMass Lowell won the game 2-1. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Pabich’s second goal of the season was set up by Jakub Sirota and Brandon Holt.

Sirota passed it across to Holt at the left point and Holt quickly snapped a wrist shot toward the net that Pabich deflected past Grigals.

The River Hawks did a terrific job protecting the lead in the third period, outshooting UMaine 10-4. Ostman made several key stops to keep UMaine within one.

Nolan Renwick had the best UMaine chance of the period in the waning minutes when his wrist shot fro the left faceoff circle hit Grigals and rolled slowly across the crease. But River Hawk defenseman Ben Meehan alertly cleared the puck out of danger.

UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin was happy with the victory.

“It’s great to win on the road,” Bazin said. “Tough opponent, tough barn. I thought our penalty kill was good. We were very pleased with the way we defended the five-on-three. Our defensemen contributing like that with two goals was huge and the goaltending was excellent.”