BURLINGTON, Vt. - Drew MacKenzie scored his fifth goal of the season with 46 seconds remaining in regulation and UMass-Lowell scored four third period goals as the teams skated off with a 4-4 (ot) tie in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse Friday night.
The Catamounts secured a spot in the Hockey East Quarterfinals with the point as Providence lost tonight at No. 7 Merrimack 6-1.
Rob Madore finished the night with 22 saves for Vermont who improves to 7-18-8 (5-14-7 HEA) with the tie. Doug Carr stopped 35 shots in between the pipes for the River Hawks who move to 5-24-3 (4-20-1 HEA).
"I literally think half of our team showed up and half didn't," said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. "I told them that doesn't get the job done. It wasn't about clinching playoffs, it was about playing as well as we possibly could this weekend going into the playoffs and I felt like a lot of guys took the easy way out tonight."
River Hawk forward Joseph Pendenza took a 5-minute major for hitting-from-behind at 18:45 of the first period. The Catamounts were unable to get on the score sheets with the man advantage.
Vermont was able to draw first blood at 7:28 of the second stanza when Anthony DeCenzo took a feed from Nick Bruneteau in motion and fired a low shot from the right circle past Carr for the 1-0 lead. Chris McCarthy picked up the second assist on the goal.
Connor Brickley gave Vermont a 2-0 advantage when he muscled home a loose puck at 19:26 of the second frame. H.T. Lenz whipped a shot from the high slot into the pads of Carr. When the River Hawk netminder couldn't control puck, Brickley got a stick on it, tallying his fourth goal of the year. Matt White also assisted on the play.
The River Hawks went into the final frame trailing 2-0, but cut into the Vermont lead while on the power play at 6:10 when Chris Ickert took a cross-ice feed from Maury Edwards and tucked home a shot on the left doorstep. David Vallorani picked up his first assist of the night on the play.
Matt Marshall, in his first game back after missing eight games with an injury scored his third goal of the season at 7:06 when he backhanded a loose puck that Carr coughed up in front of the net. Brett Leonard fired the initial shot and picked up his ninth helper of the season. Ben Albertson picked up the second assist on the goal that gave Vermont a 3-1 lead.
The two-goal cushion was short lived, as UMass-Lowell responded with a tally nine seconds after the Marshall goal. Riley Wetmore won the face off to Vallorani who raced in on net and took a shot that Michael Budd redirected past Madore at 7:15 of the third.
Ickert netted his second power play goal at 14:31 of the third period. Madore made the first save after a shot by Budd from the right side. Ickert collected the carom and evened the score at 3-3. Vallorani earned his second assist on the play.
The River Hawks were not done, as they took the lead at 17:45 on a blast from the slot by Wetmore. The Swanton, Vermont native took a feed from Vallorani, collected himself and sent a shot past Madore for a 4-3 lead. Budd picked up an assist on the goal.
MacKenzie evened the score at 4-4 for Vermont at 19:14 when he was able to get a stick on a loose puck in the goalmouth. Brickley fired a shot from the slot into the pads of Carr who seemed to have it under control. Sebastian Stalberg poked it loose and MacKenzie provided the equalizer bringing the Gutterson Fieldhouse crowd of 3,515 to its feet one more time.
Vermont wraps up the regular season tomorrow night when it hosts UMass-Lowell for the final time this season at 7:05 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Following the game Dan Lawson, Josh Burrows, Jack Downing, Kevan Miller and Kyle Medvec will be honored for senior night.
NOTES: Vallorani (assisted on all four UML goals) was awarded the first star of the game ... MacKenzie (game-tying goal) was named the second star ... Ickert (two power-play goals) was the third star of the contest ... UVM held UML to three shots in the second period ... McCarthy has nine points in the last eight outings for the Cats ... UVM is winless in nine straight contests with UML (0-5-4) ... Vermont scored twice in the final minute of a period, fans can redeem their game tickets at any local McDonalds for free fries.