Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – Goals from Jake Massie and Liam Coughlin gave the Catamounts a two-goal lead heading into the third period, but the UMass Lowell River Hawks rallied back to win 3-2 in overtime on Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The River Hawks jump to 14-10-0 overall and 9-6-0 in Hockey East play, while Vermont falls to 4-15-4 (1-9-3 HEA).
At 11:58 in the first period, Vermont took the lead on Massie’s first collegiate goal. The freshman defenseman snuck into the offensive zone and wired a slap shot from above the left faceoff dot over the glove of Tyler Wall (21 saves). Alex Esposito fed Massie for the opening goal and Matt Alvaro earned the secondary assist.
The River Hawks tried to answer back late in the opening frame as Ryan Lohin snuck past the Vermont defense for a breakaway, but wristed the shot well over the Catamounts’ net.
The UVM lead was doubled with 8:54 left in the second period when Coughlin banked a shot off a River Hawks defender into the back of the net. Craig Puffer set up the play in the UMass Lowell zone and dished a pass to Coughlin for a two-goal lead. Jarrid Privitera was awarded the secondary assist.
Lowell had a plethora of chances to cut the lead in half late in the middle frame on four power play opportunities, including a 4-on-3. Led by Stefanos Lekkas (31 saves), Vermont’s penalty killers ultimately won the special teams battle in the period and recorded 14 blocked shots to retain a 2-0 cushion.
The Catamounts were close to entering the second intermission with a three-goal lead as Anthony Petruzzelli batted a rebound past Wall, but the puck stopped just before the goal line.
Charlie Levesque put River Hawks on the board just past the midway point of the third period when he one-timed a shot in the low slot past Lekkas. Levesque won the draw back to Croix Evingson, who quickly wristed a shot on goal that caromed off Connor Sodergren to Levesque for the open finish.
UMass Lowell then tied the game with 7:03 remaining in the game on a shorthanded goal by Sodergren. The freshman jumped on the ice and received a cross-ice pass from Levesque for a breakaway before slipping a shot low shot blocker side on Lekkas.
Lowell continued to push the pace and nearly took the lead when Levesque broke free with 2:25 left, but Lekkas held his ground and turned it away to preserve the tie.
Connor Wilson clinched the game for UMass Lowell on a power play goal with 2:34 left in overtime when he redirected a pass from Colin O’Neill into the back of the net off his right skate. The played was reviewed briefly on video but the call on the ice was confirmed.
Vermont returns to action on Saturday (Jan. 20) for a rematch against the River Hawks at 7:05 to close a four-game homestand on Handy Toyota Night at Gutterson Fieldhouse.