BURLINGTON, Vt. - Chris McCarthy provided a goal and two assists and Vermont held UMass-Lowell to 20 shots on goal to end the regular season with a 4-2 victory over the River Hawks in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse Friday night.
Rob Madore finished the night with 18 saves in between the pipes for the Catamounts who improved to 8-18-8 (6-14-7 HEA) with the win.
Doug Carr turned aside 31 shots in net for the River Hawks who ended the season with a 5-25-4 (4-21-2 HEA) mark.
Seniors Dan Lawson, Jack Downing, Josh Burrows, Kevan Miller and Kyle Medvec played in their final home game for the Catamounts and were honored following game.
"They're a great group and I always get emotional," said Vermont head Coach Kevin Sneddon. "Their resumes are very impressive and I think they were a big part of the opportunity to go to the Frozen Four, they were a big part of the run to get into the tournament last year. This year hasn't gone exactly how they would've liked it to but we still have more hockey to be played because of their leadership. They're going to be extremely successful. I've said it about the whole group, but this group is going to be very successful in life. They are great guys and they're going to be successful in hockey, they're going to be successful in business; whatever they put their minds to and do beyond Vermont, no question that we're going to see some great things from them."
The River Hawks struck first on the man advantage, as Connor Brickley was serving a penalty for cross checking. Shayne Thompson took a feed from Josh Holmstrom in the crease and redirected the puck past Madore for an early 1-0 lead at 3:43 of the opening period. Patrick Cey had the second assist on the play.
Trailing by a goal after the first intermission, the Catamounts didn't waste much time evening the score at 1-1, when Jack Downing scored his team leading 13th goal of the season at 1:20 of the second, while Vermont was on the power play. Downing took a feed from Drew MacKenzie who has positioned behind the net. MacKenzie laced a pass to Downing who got a clean look at the goal from the slot and wristed a shot past Carr. McCarthy began the play and picked up the second assist on the play.
Vermont took the lead at 7:13 of the second stanza when Matt Marshall received a pass from Dan Lawson on the near wall and carried the puck into the River Hawk zone. Marshall held onto the puck and hit the post with a bid that caromed right onto the stick of Ben Albertson, who stuffed home his third goal of the season.
Sebastian Stalberg picked up his eighth goal of the year three minutes after the Albertson tally when he one-timed a shot from the right circle that eluded Carr five-hole for a 3-1 Catamount advantage. Stalberg took a feed from Lawson who carried the puck in the slot and dished it off for his second assist of the frame. McCarthy also picked up his second helper of the period on the play.
UML responded quickly with a tally of its own when Jason DeLuca swatted at a puck as he fell to the ice with the backhand as Madore was out of position to make the save. Derek Arnold and Chris Ickert both assisted on the goal at 15:20 to bring the UVM lead to a single goal, 3-2.
Albertson had what would have been Vermont's fourth goal of the night at 18:30 of the second frame when he got a stick on a loose puck in the air glove side of Carr. The ruling ice was a goal, but after review it was overturned and the score remained 3-2 heading into the second intermission.
McCarthy added an insurance goal at 13:47 of the final frame while Vermont was skating with a 4-on-3 advantage. McCarthy took a feed in the slot from MacKenzie and lifted a shot over the blocker of Carr for a 4-2, UVM lead. Nick Bruneteau picked up the second assist on the play.
Vermont secured a playoff berth the previous night with a 4-4 (ot) tie against UML and will return to action when it travels to second seeded New Hampshire (No. 8 in the country), for the Hockey East Quarterfinals, for the second straight season. The scheduled games are set for Friday (March 11), Saturday (March 12) and if necessary Sunday (March13). The start time for each game is still to be determined.
"We believe we can beat anybody," said Sneddon. "We are looking forward to that opportunity."
NOTES: The senior class has a record of 64-60-27 heading into the weekend ... Vermont defeated New Hampshire last year at the Whittemore Center in three games as the eight seed in the 2010 Hockey East Quarterfinals ... McCarthy has 12 points in the last nine outings for UVM ... MacKenzie has nine points in as many games ... Madore needs four saves to tie Tim Thomas' 1994-95 single season record of (961 saves) and become third in single season saves for Vermont goaltenders ... Check back to WWW.UVMathletics.com for more information and details about the Catamounts upcoming playoff schedule.