BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont cut a three-goal deficit to one in the third period but No. 20 UMass Lowell held on for a 6-3 Hockey East victory on Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts fall to 6-11-4 (3-8-4 HEA), while the River Hawks swept the weekend series and move to 11-7-1 (5-6-1 HEA).
UMass Lowell opened the scoring with three minutes left in the first period as Stephen Buco tipped in a Ryan McGrath shot on the power play. Early in the middle frame, Vermont took three consecutive penalties but was able to kill off a lengthy 5-on-3. The Catamounts got a man back at the tail end, but Joseph Pendenza took a feed from Riley Wetmore and beat Brody Hoffman under his blocker for a 2-0 lead.
UVM got on the board at the 14:11 mark of the frame after an individual effort below the goal line from Robert Polesello. The rookie deked past a Lowell defenseman and slid a backhand pass to Brett Bruneteau, who fired a quick shot over Doug Carr's left shoulder to cut the lead in half. Matt White picked up the second assist on the play.
UMass Lowell responded with the game's next two tallies to take a 4-1 advantage. With 1:18 to go in the second period, Wetmore beat Hoffman high to the short post on the power play from the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Early in the third, Scott Wilson netted another power play tally as he curled into the slot and wristed a shot past Hoffman's glove.
Vermont called its timeout after the fourth River Hawk goal and replaced Hoffman with fellow freshman Billy Faust. The Cats then began to storm back into the game as Kyle Reynolds finished a White centering pass at the right post cut the lead down to two at 9:12. Three minutes later, Caylen Walls picked up his first career goal as he rifled a low one-time drive inside the right post off a centering pass from Jacob Fallon.
The River Hawks had the answer after Walls' goal roughly 90 seconds later as Chad Ruhwedel skated down the left wing from his own zone, cut into the slot, and beat Faust glove side to restore the two-goal advantage. The Cats pulled Faust with just over two minutes remaining, but Terrance Wallin poked in an empty-netter at 18:33 to seal the victory for UML.
Vermont hits the road next Saturday (Jan. 19) to face Penn State at the Wells Fargo Center in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. Puck drop between the Catamounts and Nittany Lions is tentatively scheduled for 8:15 p.m. The game will be televised on the Comcast Network in the Philadelphia area, and radio coverage begins 30 minutes before faceoff on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com.
NOTES: Vermont closed out a five-game homestand on Saturday night ... H.T. Lenz played in his 90th career game for the Catamounts, while Michael Paliotta skated in his 50th contest ... From the start of the second period on Friday to the end of the first period on Saturday, UVM held UMass Lowell to 13 total shots on goal ... Next weekend's game against Penn State represents Vermont's final non-conference game of the season ... It will also mark the first-ever meeting between the Catamounts and Nittany Lions, who are in their inaugural season of Division I play.