The point in the college hockey season when coaches say freshmen aren’t freshmen anymore is near. And that goes for players in all classes, too, because there’s no substitute for experience at the Division 1 level.
With the schedule clear until after Christmas following this weekend’s slate, New England teams have started to come together and new contributors emerged at the end of the first half. In Hockey East, that group includes several players with local ties.
UMass Lowell entered this season as one of the youngest teams in the nation, so building consistency took time. The River Hawks split their final Hockey East series of the calendar year against Boston University last weekend, earning a 5-3 road victory in the first game.
“It’s not an easy thing to build,” said head coach Norm Bazin, whose team finished the first half at 8-7-1. “Early on, I thought we had a little bit of a tough time closing out games, but we've corrected that over the last three or four weeks. There's a lot to learn with eight freshmen in the lineup every night, but you've got to let them play through it.”