Junior forward Riley Wetmore and freshman forward Scott Wilson each collect goal and assist for River Hawks

Junior forward Riley Wetmore had a goal and an assist for the River Hawks

The ninth-ranked River Hawks overcame a sluggish first period behind strong showings from junior Riley Wetmore (Swanton, Vt.) and freshman Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) to outpace Vermont, 3-1, on Friday night in the Tsongas Center. The duo each recorded a goal and assist in the win.

UMass Lowell improved its record to 17-7-0 overall with the win and 12-6-0 in Hockey East, in front of a crowd of 3,724. The win marked the largest turnaround in program history as the River Hawks have won 12 more games than in the 2010-11 season. The Catamounts dropped to 5-20-1 on the year and 2-16-1 in conference play.

Vermont struck first in the contest, netting a goal by Nick Bruneteau (Omaha, Neb.) at 6:37. Brooks Herrington (Bow, N.H.) swung the puck around the back of the net to Drew MacKenzie (New Canaan, Conn.) at the far point. MacKenzie cycled the puck to Bruneteau for the one-timer, capturing a 1-0 lead for the Catamounts.

The tables were flipped in the second period as sophomore Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.) and Wetmore put UMass Lowell ahead 2-1.

Pendenza leveled the score at 9:51, converting a weak-side tap in off of Matt Ferreira's (Brampton, Ont.) close-ranged shot. Then Wetmore buried a give-and-go with Wilson at 14:52 as the pair cruised down the near boards into Vermont territory.

The River Hawks then added an insurance tally from Wilson in the third period. Wilson dished to Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) between the circles and Arnold sent it back to Wilson on the far side for the wrist shot into the mesh at 3:34.

Sophomore Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) improved to 16-4-0 on the year after making 25 saves and stonewalling a pair of Catamount power plays. At the other end, Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) earned third star honors for stopping 38-of-41 shots while dropping to 1-4-0 on the season.

The two teams will lace up the skates once again on Saturday night, live on NESN at 7 p.m.