BURLINGTON — Vermont was victorious in their regular season finale, defeating Massachusetts-Lowell, 4-2, in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
A third period comeback for the River Hawks resulted in a 4-4 tie last night, but tonight it was the Catamounts who were strong late in the game.
Senior Jack Downing and sophomores Ben Albertson, Sebastian Stalberg, and Chris McCarthy scored for Vermont, while freshman Shayne Thompson and senior Jason DeLuca scored for Mass.-Lowell.
“First I want to congratulate Vermont; for us, I thought we ran out of gas a little bit,” Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald said.
Lowell freshman Chad Ruhwedel sent a hard shot from the point in the first period, but he rang the right post instead of hitting the back of the net.
Thompson got revenge for the River Hawks just seconds later at 3:43 when he redirected the puck over the goal line from close to the crease.
Lowell junior Michael Budd picked up a tripping penalty later in the period at 13:52. Though it was Vermont on the power play, it was Lowell freshman Joseph Pendenza and senior captain Scott Campbell who took control of the puck. Pendenza fed the puck to Budd right in front of the Vermont net, but Budd did not score.
This left Lowell with a one-goal lead to take into the second period.
“We felt like we were maybe thinking too much in the first period, worrying about them; the second and third period, we just let the guys get after it,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said.
Lowell started off the second with a penalty when Campbell was called for holding at 24 seconds.
Downing took advantage of the resulting power-play opportunity and scored the equalizer for the Catamounts at 1:20. Downing received a pass from junior Drew MacKenzie and sent in a wrist shot from the slot.
The Catamounts then took their first lead of the game at 7:13 when Albertson knocked in a rebound past freshman goaltender Doug Carr.
Vermont was not done in the second, as Stalberg gave his team a 3-1 lead at 10:46, picking up the puck from senior Dan Lawson near the Lowell net and one-timing it in for the score from the right circle.
The River Hawks got back to within a goal at 15:20 when DeLuca scored, backhanding the puck into the Vermont net as he fell to the ice.
It looked as though the Catamounts had the last laugh of the period when Albertson appeared to score for the second time, knocking a loose puck across the goal line as the period was winding down into its final minutes at 18:30. The officials reviewed the play though, and it was ruled to be a no-goal.
Vermont outshot Lowell 17-7 in the second and held a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
Vermont freshman Connor Brickley picked up a cross-checking penalty at 11:49 while DeLuca was called for a hitting after the whistle penalty simultaneously.
During the resulting four-on-four, Stalberg carried the puck all the way to the Lowell crease and tried to poke it around Carr, but was unsuccessful.
Then Ruhwedel was called for a slashing penalty at 13:06 and the Catamounts had a man advantage. McCarthy capitalized on this just as Brickley and DeLuca were about to exit the penalty box, scoring to double Vermont’s lead over Lowell.
“The four-on-three power play against, that was just difficult; that came at a bad time and it was difficult for us to defend that,” MacDonald said.
McCarthy’s goal proved to be enough for the Catamounts to secure the 4-2 victory.