LOWELL -- A pair of UMass Lowell hockey players were selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Incoming freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was drafted with the ninth pick in the fifth round (130th overall) by the Winnipeg Jets and redshirt freshman defenseman Dmitry Sinitsyn of Moscow was taken with the second pick in the seventh round (183rd overall) by the Dallas Stars.
The River Hawks have now featured six players taken in the NHL Entry Draft since 2000 and 35 overall in the history of the program.
As a goaltender for the Odessa Jackalopes in the North American Hockey League, Hellebuyck assembled a 26-21-5 record in 2011-12. The six-foot four-inch tall netminder collected a .930 save percentage and 2.49 goals against average with three shutouts.
Hellebuyck was named the first-team goaltender on the NAHL's All-Rookie Team while leading the league in minutes played (3,085:37) and total saves (1,695).
Sinitsyn joined UMass Lowell midway through the 2011-12 season despite being just 17 years old. The talented defenseman ultimately redshirted, but is expected to contribute heavily this season.
Prior to joining the River Hawks, Sinitsyn played 36 games for the Dallas Stars U-16 team in the Tier I Elite League. He led the team in scoring with 31 points on 11 goals and 20 assists in 36 games played.
The newly drafted duo looks to help the surging River Hawks after they completed the second largest turnaround in NCAA history in 2011-12, posting a 24-13-1 record--19 more wins than the previous year. The program, under the guidance of the Hockey East Coach of the Year Norm Bazin, reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996 and fell one win shy of its first-ever Frozen Four.