Lowell, MASS.- Vermont entered the Tsongas Center as the easy underdog against Massachusetts-Lowell but hung around the River Hawks for large portions of the game and went back to Burlington with a key point in Hockey East play. Lowell was able to use a porous turnover late in the first period to take a 1-0 lead on the Catamounts, but the score would not hold as Vermont would score a goal off the stick of Colin Markison with 8:43 remaining in the third to tie the game.
Vermont would control the latter portions of the game but the score would remain tied and both teams would come out with a point in both teams’ Hockey East opener. The game was hard fought on both sides and a great College Hockey game to watch for the 6711 that attended, which was a UMass-Lowell record for a home opener. The crowd was also the second largest in River Hawk history.
What I Saw
-Massachusetts-Lowell controlled play for much of the first two periods and raced out to a 30-19 shots advantage but, as with many teams in the early going of the season, the River Hawks struggled to put them home. Lowell was the faster team and used it to their as they took advantage of slower Vermont defensemen for 2 on 1’s and 3 on 2’s, especially in the second period.
-Vermont was able to hang around throughout the first two periods and was only plagued by a poor turnover by sophomore defenseman, Michael Palliotta, late in the first period. This turnover could have changed the complexion of the game as Vermont had three power-plays in the first period and were unable to capitalize on them. A strong third period kept the River Hawks off the board and helped Vermont score the late tying goal. Vermont controlled the play through the overtime but were unable to capitalize on opportunities.
-Vermont freshman goaltender, Brody Hoffman, was kept busy in the first two periods stopping 29 shots in the first 40 minutes of play. He held his own and singlehandedly kept the Catamounts in the game. His positioning was phenomenal in his first collegiate game.
What I Thought
-Vermont failed to receive consistent goaltending most of last season and tonight was the polar opposite of that. Hoffman looked poised. Instead of feeding off the negativity of poor goaltending, Vermont was able to feed off of great road goaltending. There are many similarities to Lowell last season coming into this one but it will be interesting to see if Vermont can take a similar path than Lowell did last year.
-Lowell seemed faster to begin the game but after killing off seven minutes of Vermont power-play time in the third period, they seemed like a worn bunch of guys. Vermont controlled large amounts of play late in the third, as the River Hawks were unable to take advantage of the momentum change that should have taken place after the power-plays were over. This never seemed to happen and Vermont looked like the better conditioned team, late in the game.
What They Said
Vermont Coach Kevin Sneddon said, “This is a new season for us. I thought it was a great college hockey game with a lot of momentum swings. I thought both goaltenders, really did a great job.I thought Brody (Hoffman) was our star tonight and for him to come into tonight and play this well he did a great job on the road for us.”
UMass-Lowell Coach Norm Bazin said, “I was pleased with the point tonight because Hockey East is such a great league. When you kill seven minutes of power-play time for the other team it just drains your best players. Both goalies played well and we let the game slip away from us in the second period when we had three 2 on 1s and hit a crossbar. Those opportunities didn’t go in tonight.”
UMass-Lowell Goalie Doug Carr said, “The game was a little wide open at team with both teams getting a lot of chances. Overall it was a great game, both teams battled, but we were unable come home with the two points.”
What else you should know
Lowell will make their way west next weekend to take on Colorado College and Denver, on back to back nights. This road trip should be a good test as Lowell will play two good WCHA teams. These games are always huge in terms of the Pairwise.
Vermont will have two weeks off, when they will return to the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts to play Merrimack College for a two game set.