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An ideal beginning for Lock Monsters

By Bill Burt
Eagle-Tribune Writer
 
LOWELL -- Get out your Lowell Lock Monsters trivia notepad. The first puck was dropped at 7:49 p.m. The first shot was taken by a Portland Pirate 1:51 into the game. The first goal was scored by Lock Monster Mark Lawrence. And the first all-out brawl took place, with players from each team wrestling on the ice, as the game expired.
 
And, oh yes, the Lock Monsters won their inaugural game in exciting fashion, 5-4. Before a boisterous crowd of 6,494, only four fans short of capacity, the New York Islanders farm team in the American Hockey League, the Lock Monsters, made history.
 
Nearly 31/2 years after being awarded a franchise, the Lock Monsters finally played. Mark Lawrence, now in his seventh season of minor league hockey, gave the home team a 1-0 lead only 4:18 into the game, redirecting a pass from behind the net.
 
Portland's Alexandre Volchkov tied it 42 seconds into the second period. Lowell then scored three goals, two on the power play, in succession -- Vladimir Orszagh (5:53), Sean Haggerty (9:06) and Lawrence (12:35) -- to take the lead for good.
 
But Portland crept close with two power play goals in the final five minutes of the second period (Casey Hankinson and Steve Poapst). Lowell went ahead, 5-3, only 1:08 into the third period. Dane Jackson scored the eventual game-winner, stuffing in a nice pass from Haggerty. Portland again wouldn't go away when it appeared the Lock Monsters would break away, scoring with 7:26 remaining in the game.
 
Lowell goalie Marcel Cousineau fended off a flurry of Portland shots while his team was two players down with about four minutes remaining. Charpentier made 32 saves in all. Former UMass-Lowell star Craig Charron, who turns 31 next month, had two assists for the Lock Monsters.
 
Lowell, now 1-0, plays at home again tonight against the New Haven Beast. The game begins at 7:30. Tickets are available.