Wilmington's Pendenza Leads UML Into Hockey East Semis
Joe Pendenza is the leading point scorer for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell men's hockey team, which plays at TD Garden on Friday night.
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell men’s hockey team is in the midst of a turnaround from also-ran to title contender in Hockey East. And among the faces leading the charge for the River Hawks is Wilmington’s Joe Pendenza.
Pendenza, who attended Arlington Catholic High School and moved to Wilmington early in his high school years, is the team’s leading point scorer.
Entering Friday night’s Hockey East semifinal round against Providence College, the junior forward has a team-high 35 points and a team high 22 assists. He is also third on the roster with 13 goals.
“Joe Pendenza has been one of our most consistent performers all year,” said UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin. “He has been especially dangerous offensively in the second half by playing stronger with the puck.”
Following his junior season at Arlington Catholic, Pendenza opted to play for the Boston Junior Bruins of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. The experience paid off as he grabbed the attention of UMass-Lowell, where he notched 13 points in 32 games as a freshman.
In his sophomore season, Pendenza’s statistics continued to improve. He played in all 38 games for the River Hawks and notched 10 goals and 19 assists for a total of 29 points.
Pendenza said he enjoys playing so close to home, and has enjoyed being a part of turning around the program that has just five wins during his freshman season.
“It’s really exciting knowing you’re helping the program start to be looked at in a different way,” said Pendenza. “My parents are there every game, and it’s good to know they are there rooting you on. Sometimes I go to the rink and people recognize me. It’s cool to think that they look at me the way I used to look at older players.”
UMass-Lowell and Pendenza hope to continue the team’s stellar season on Friday night at 5 p.m. against Providence College at Boston’s TD Garden. The winner will take on either Boston University or Boston College in the Hockey East championship game.
Bazin, the River Hawk head coach, said he knows Pendenza’s contributions will be critical as UMass-Lowell hopes to seal a spot in the Division 1 NCAA Tournament.
“His offensive output will continue to improve as he gets older,” said Bazin. “He is a very strong student and an outstanding citizen away from the rink. We will look to Joe for offense as we continue our playoff push.”