For sports fans, there is nothing quite like a good rivalry. The intensity, passion, and competitive spirit of two teams vying for dominance creates a spectacle that captivates audiences and leaves an indelible mark on the history of the sport. In the world of college hockey, one rivalry that has stood the test of time is that of UMass Lowell.
UMass Lowell, located in Massachusetts, has a storied history when it comes to their hockey program. The River Hawks have a fierce competitive spirit that has led them to multiple championships and countless memorable moments. But perhaps most important are the rivalries that have developed between UMass Lowell and other powerhouse teams throughout the years. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most important matchups in UMass Lowell’s history.
The Early Years: Boston University
One of the oldest rivalries in college hockey is that between UMass Lowell and Boston University. These two teams have been battling it out on the ice since the early 1970s, and their rivalry has only intensified over the years.
In the early years, BU dominated the series, but UMass Lowell was able to turn the tables in the 1980s and 1990s. One of the most memorable matchups between the two teams was in 1994, when UMass Lowell defeated BU in the Hockey East championship game. This victory not only gave the River Hawks their first-ever conference championship, but it also ended a 23-year drought of BU winning the tournament.
The BU and UMass Lowell rivalry has continued to heat up in recent years, with both teams consistently ranking among the top in the nation. In the 2017-2018 season, UMass Lowell achieved a rare feat by sweeping BU in all four of their matchups, a sign of the intense competition between the two teams.
The Battle for Bragging Rights: UMass Amherst
As the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system, UMass Amherst is a natural rival for UMass Lowell. But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the two schools began facing off in hockey, and their matchups quickly became some of the most highly anticipated games of the season.
One of the most memorable UMass Lowell vs. UMass Amherst games was in 2000, when Lowell defeated Amherst 7-5 in the Hockey East semifinals. This was the first time UMass Lowell had ever made it to the final game of the tournament, and it was a thrilling victory that solidified the rivalry between the two schools.
In recent years, the rivalry has continued to flourish, with both teams regularly competing for the top spot in the conference and garnering national attention. And as both teams continue to excel, the rivalry shows no signs of slowing down.
The Storied Commonwealth Cup: University of New Hampshire
Another fierce rivalry for UMass Lowell is that with the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Known as the Commonwealth Cup, this rivalry dates back to the early 1990s and has produced some of the most intense and memorable matchups in UMass Lowell’s history.
One of the defining moments of this rivalry was in 2013, when UMass Lowell faced off against UNH for the Hockey East championship. After a hard-fought game, UMass Lowell ultimately prevailed, securing their fifth championship in the conference and cementing their dominance in the rivalry.
However, the following year saw UNH getting revenge by defeating UMass Lowell in the conference semifinals, and the two teams have continued to battle it out each season. In March 2020, UMass Lowell and UNH faced off in a thrilling game that ended in a 3-3 tie. This match showcased the intensity of the rivalry and left fans eagerly anticipating their next matchup.
The New Kids on the Block: Boston College
While not a traditional rival, Boston College has emerged as a fierce competitor for UMass Lowell in recent years. The two teams first faced off in 1979, and since then, their rivalry has only grown stronger.
One of the most talked-about matchups between UMass Lowell and Boston College was in 2012, when the two teams met in the Frozen Four semifinals. This was UMass Lowell’s first-ever appearance in the national semifinals, and they made a statement by defeating Boston College 4-3. They went on to capture their first national championship later that year, solidifying their place as a powerhouse in college hockey.
Since then, the rivalry between these two teams has remained fierce, with each team vying for dominance in the Hockey East conference and beyond.
As we have seen, UMass Lowell has a rich history of intense and memorable matchups against some of the top teams in college hockey. From their early days of battling it out against Boston University, to their more recent matchups with UMass Amherst, UNH, and Boston College, UMass Lowell has left its mark on the world of college hockey.
But beyond the numbers and achievements, what truly makes these rivalries special is the passion and love for the game that is shared by both teams and their fans. And as UMass Lowell continues to build on its legacy, there is no doubt that these rivalries will continue to be the talk of the college hockey world for years to come.