LOWELL -- He wasn't a big-time recruit. But Joseph Pendenza never doubted his abilities.
UML hockey notebook
A rare player from the Merrimack Valley to put on a UMass Lowell hockey jersey, the Wilmington native became the 42nd player in the program's history to reach 100 points last weekend.
He upped his point total to 101 with a two-goal, one-assist performance during last Saturday's 6-1 win over Providence.
"He should be the poster child for a senior. When he gets to the next level he'll be a rare player who should be able to play in all situations. He has unbelievable speed and a good head for the game," head coach Norm Bazin said.
Pendenza leads the River Hawks with 21 points (12 goals, 9 assists) in 25 games.
"It's pretty cool," the 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward said. "Only 42 players have done it. To be up there with those players is a great honor. I remember seeing Kory Falite play."
Falite, a Billerica native, scored 106 points from 2006-10.
Pendenza is proud to join the 100-point club, but he's more pleased the team success the River Hawks have enjoyed since he left the Boston Junior Bruins program to play for UML.
"Coming here, I knew I wasn't a big-time recruit. I knew I had to work hard," he said.
Bazin said he has no problem calling Pendenza one of the most complete players in Hockey East. Yes, Pendenza is piling up points. But Bazin is more impressed with Pendenza's ability to play in all three zones.
One of the best fastest skaters in Hockey East, Pendenza isn't in a rush to leave UML: "I wish there was a slow-mo button."
Two of his teammates are also poised to reach 100 points -- senior Derek Arnold and junior Scott Wilson have 90 points heading into this weekend's games with Merrimack College.
UML has nine games left in the regular season.
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Adam Chapie is UML's second-leading scorer with 15 points.
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UML's second-leading scorer among defensemen, with 12 points, is Christian Folin. And then there's Connor Hellebuyck, one of the top goalies in the country with a 1.87 goals against average and .939 save percentage.
All are sophomores.
"I think the best is yet to come with these kids," Bazin said.
Folin, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden, knew he was part of a special class when he stepped foot on campus.
"We showed last year that we're a group that can be counted on," Folin said. "I would say we're a really tight group. I would say we're really tight on the ice, too."
WEEKEND MATCHUP: UML (16-7-2, 6-4-1 HE) begins the weekend in fifth place in Hockey East. UML hosts last-place Merrimack (7-13-3, 2-7-2 HE) on Friday and Merrimack hosts the rematch Saturday.
"They've played some really good hockey after Christmas," Bazin said.
In one of their best games, the Warriors doubled up fifth-ranked Quinnipiac, 6-3, on Jan. 18.
Merrimack has had trouble scoring, but Mike Collins (8-10-18) is a proven sniper. Rasmus Tirronen, the pride of Espoo, Finland, has become Merrimack's No. 1 goalie (2.27 GAA).