LOWELL, Mass. — The Mass.-Lowell River Hawks and the No. 16 Vermont Catamounts both blew two-goal leads on Friday night, as the River Hawks fell to Boston University 6-4 and the Catamounts tied Providence College 2-2. After going up 2-0 on Saturday night, the Catamounts took four consecutive second period penalties, giving the River Hawks several opportunities to get back in the game, but ultimately held on to win the game 3-1.
“We go from feeling kind of bad about letting one go to a great weekend,” said UVM Coach Kevin Sneddon. “This is a tough road trip. Playing at Providence is a tough place to play, and Lowell’s playing great hockey, and coming in here’s no easy task.”
“At the end of the day, we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” said River Hawks’ Coach Blaise MacDonald, whose team went 1-for-8 on the power play for the game. “Vermont’s a team, when they play with a lead on the road, they can clamp it down.”
The River Hawks outshot the Catamounts for the game 26-19, but had 22 more attempted shots blocked by the Catamounts’ defense, which went 7-for-8 on the penalty kill in front of freshman goaltender Rob Madore.
“I can’t say enough about the job that our [penalty] killers did tonight,” said Sneddon. “Lowell’s a great team, very skilled on their power play. They move the puck very well. If you’re not in the right place at the right time, good stick positioning in the shooting lanes, they can pick you apart. I thought we did an excellent job and that was the difference.”
On the other end of the ice, it was junior Nevin Hamilton in net for the River Hawks making his season debut. Carter Hutton, who had started five-of-six games for the River Hawks this season, left Friday night’s game against BU with a sprained ankle, and will be out “for a month at least,” according to MacDonald.
Viktor Stalberg scored the first goal of the game for the Catamounts at 4:16 in the first period, just 11 seconds into the Catamounts’ first power play opportunity of the night. It was the first time all season that an opponent scored a first period goal against the River Hawks.
After killing off the last 17 seconds of a River Hawks’ power play to start the second period, the Catamounts extended their lead to 2-0 at 1:57. It was Wahsontiio Stacey on the doorstep who collected the rebound off of a Drew MacKenzie slap shot and put it past Hamilton.
Ben Holmstrom scored the River Hawks’ lone goal of the game on a power play at 9:32 in the second period. Jeremy Dehner couldn’t put a wrap-around shot in the net, but regained control at the right dot, and passed it to Holmstrom at the left post, where he chipped it over Madore.
The Catamounts opened up the third period on a power play after Mark Roebothan was called for hooking as time expired in the second period. The Catamounts took advantage of the power play 37 seconds into the third stanza when Brayden Irwin tipped in a Peter Lenes shot to put the Catamounts up 3-1.
The River Hawks had three power play opportunities of their own in the third period, including a 6-on-4 opportunity with an empty net towards the end of the period, but could not close the gap.
The River Hawks will close out their five-game home stand next Friday night when they host No. 5 New Hampshire, while the Catamounts are back in Burlington Friday night to play No. 10 Northeastern.