Hockey struggles in UMass matches

Vermont dropped two games Feb. 3 and 4, on the road against UMass-Lowell.

The River Hawks won the first game of the weekend series 3-1 and, despite a late Vermont comeback, captured the second 6-4.

Vermont’s record falls to 5-21-1 (2-17-1) after the weekend.

Though Vermont got the first goal and played a promising first period Feb. 3, the River Hawks battled back in the second with two quick goals, never giving up the lead.

“I was really pleased with our effort coming out of the gate tonight,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “It’s a game of momentum; you’re never going to be perfect from start to finish, but we certainly want to finish more scoring chances than we did tonight. I was pleased with our effort, our intensity, our physical play – all those things were a real positive tonight.”

Sophomore Nick Bruneteau scored the only Vermont goal of the evening at 6:37. Bruneteau scored after picking up a pass from senior Drew MacKenzie.

The Catamounts carried their one-goal lead into the second period, but Lowell’s Joseph Pendeza and Riley Wetmore scored at 9:51 and 14:52, respectively, to take over the lead 2-1.

Scott Wilson became the third Lowell player to record a goal at 3:34 of the third period.

Bruneteau made a last-hope shot for the Cats, but the puck hit the post and didn’t make it past the goal line.

The Catamounts fought back fiercely the following night’s game after being down 5-2 with less than two minutes in regulation.

The River Hawks held their ground, knocking in an empty-netter to seal their second victory of the weekend.

“Playing from behind against a good team that knows how to win is a difficult task, but I give our guys a lot of credit for sticking with it, trying to play physical and competing hard for each other right to the final buzzer,” Sneddon said.

UMass-Lowell’s Chad Ruhwedel and Terrence Wallin both scored unassisted goals within a minute of each other to start the game off in the first period.

Junior Sebastian Stalberg put Vermont on the board at 12:39 of the first.

After Scott Wilson buried the puck for Lowell with a one-timer at 13:51, first-year Kyle Reynolds fired back for Vermont, bringing the score to 3-2 Lowell. Reynolds scored by sending a low wrist shot into the net.

The game’s second period belonged entirely to the River Hawks, as the only two goals of the period were from UMass.

In the third period, UVM faced a three-goal deficit.

Stalberg was the first to chip away at the Lowell lead, maximizing a two-man advantage that the Catamounts secured when two Lowell skaters were sent to the box for high sticking and charging penalties

After Vermont took a time out, Stalberg scored at 18:21, bringing the score to 5-3

Sophomore Matt White scored less than a minute later, bringing the Catamounts within a goal at 5-4 with 49 seconds to work with.

Time ran out for the Cats though, as Lowell’s John Holmstrom scored an empty-net goal, leaving the score at 6-4.

Vermont will face Boston College at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Feb. 10.