BURLINGTON, Vt. - 20th-ranked UMass Lowell scored twice on the power play and added a shorthanded goal late in the third period to defeat Vermont 4-2 in Hockey East action on Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts fall to 6-10-4 (3-7-4 HEA), while the River Hawks move to 10-7-1 (4-6-1 HEA) with their sixth straight win.
"It comes down to special teams," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "We did a pretty good job on the kill and then we let a couple kind of softies in. We've got to be better in front of our net. We've just didn't help our goalie much at all on those couple of plays. Our power play was ineffective and you can't give up a short-handed goal."
Colin Markison and Connor Brickley both returned from injury on Friday, and they helped the Catamounts get on the board less than eight minutes into the opening frame. Markison sent a pass down the right wing into the corner for Brickley, and the junior spun a pass through the slot. Anthony DeCenzo collected in the left faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot off the left post over Connor Hellebuyck's right shoulder.
Scott Wilson answered with two goals to close out the frame and give the River Hawks the lead. After narrowly missing a backhander, Wilson tapped in a pass from Christian Folin at the left post to knot the score at the 10:54 mark. The sophomore gave UMass Lowell the lead with just 29 left seconds in the period as he stuffed a puck home at the top of the crease.
UMass Lowell added to its advantage midway though the second period with another power play tally. Ryan McGrath wristed a shot from the slot, and Josh Holmstrom tipped the puck between Brody Hoffman's pads to make it a 3-1 game. Vermont out-shot Lowell 10-2 in the middle frame but couldn't find a way past Hellebuyck.
With five minutes remaining in the third period, the Catamounts made things interesting with a delayed penalty call coming on UML's Jake Suter. Kyle Reynolds collected the puck behind the net and fed a pass to Nick Luukko in the low left circle. Luukko whipped the puck past a sprawling Hellebuyck from a weak angle to cut the River Hawk lead in half. Matt White picked up the second assist on the play.
Vermont went on the power play immediately after the goal, but Adam Chapie grabbed a shorthanded goal to put the game out of reach. Chapie skated in on a 2-on-1 and beat Hoffman short side from the right circle less than 90 seconds after the Luukko goal.
Hoffman stopped a Ryan McGrath penalty shot roughly 30 seconds later to keep the Cats alive, but the River Hawks shut the door and hung on for the two-goal win. Lowell finished the night 2-7 on the power play, while UVM was 0-4. Hoffman and Hellebuyck each stopped 21 shots on the night.
The Catamounts and River Hawks close their weekend series on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 7:05 p.m. from Gutterson Fieldhouse. All the action can be heard beginning at 6:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com as Alastair Ingram calls the play-by-play. The game will also be televised on WCAXtra, and live online video is available for free on CatamounTV.
NOTES: Vermont entered the weekend 2-0-2 in its last four home games against UMass Lowell dating back to the schools' Hockey East Quarterfinal series in 2009 ... The Catamounts held the River Hawks to just eight shots in the final 40 minutes ... Anthony DeCenzo scored his third goal in the last two games ... Colin Markison and Connor Brickley had played just eight games combined this year entering the night ... Markison had been out since the season opener on Oct. 12, while Brickley hadn't played since Nov. 16 ... Kyle Reynolds skated in his 50th career game on Friday.