Men’s hockey bounces back after close loss

Curt Berry, Staff Writer

The Catamounts fell just short of their fifth win of the season Friday tonight, as the University of Massachusetts Lowell came back from a two-goal deficit.

Vermont held a two goal lead with 11 minutes left in third, until Lowell scored three unanswered goals, including an overtime goal by forward Connor Wilson.

The Catamounts started the game off strong, outshooting Lowell 10-5 in the first period. One of those shots ended up in the back of the net by sophomore defenseman Jake Massie at 11:58. He was assisted by first-year forward Alex Esposito and sophomore forward Matt Alvaro.

Vermont’s good start died during intermission. Lowell outshot UVM 15-7, and had many powerplay chances in the second.

Sophomore goaltender Stefanos Lekkas was able to hold it off. With 9 minutes to play in the period, junior forward Liam Coughlin extended the lead to 2-0, assisted by junior forward Craig Puffer and senior forward Jarrid Privitera.

UVM couldn’t prevent the River Hawks from finally breaking out in the third period.

Forward Charlie Levesque cut the lead in half at 9:40. A few minutes later, forward Connor Sodergren tied it up while on a penalty kill.

The game stretched into overtime, and a bench penalty from UVM lead to a power play goal by forward Connor Wilson at 2:23.

This was UVM’s 15th loss this season.

“We played well for 90 percent of the game, but if we’re going to puck watch and lose guys defensively, then that’s gonna happen,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.

Sneddon said that his team were going to use the same strategy in their matchup Saturday night.

The Catamounts offense responded Saturday, with a 6-3 win. Coughlin had three goals on the night, including a late open netter.

UVM played very strong in the first period, getting out to a 3-0 lead while netting two goals on a 5 on 3. Esposito, Coughlin and senior forward Anthony Petruzzelli all scored late in the first within three minutes of each other.

UMass made an effort to come back in the second period. They put up three goals, with all three scored on power plays.

Coughlin scored on a power play for his second goal of the game at 2:32 before that. The score was 4-3 at the end of the second.

UVM was able to hold off the River Hawks comeback threat for a second night in a row. At 10:44, sophomore forward Ross Colton took advantage of a breakaway, giving the Catamounts a two goal lead. This time they held on.

Coughlin got his hat trick at 18:27 on an open net, sealing a 6-3 victory for the Cats.

Sneddon was pleased with the team’s effort, especially his powerplay unit.

“We got the lead on our powerplay executing well and a great job by Coughlin to get a couple goals for us on it,” Sneddon said.

The team’s physicality was a huge factor in the game as well.

“We did a great job tonight finishing checks and had a lot of blocked shots out there,” Coughlin said.

The Catamounts look to keep winning as they travel to North Andover, Massachusetts to face Merrimack College Jan. 26 and Jan. 27.