BURLINGTON, Vt. – Vermont sophomore Corey Carlson (Two Harbors, Minn.) scored two power-play goals and junior goalie Joe Fallon (Bemidji, Minn.) extended his school record for shutouts to 15 by turning away 21 shots as the 13th-ranked Catamounts topped Rensselaer 3-0 in front of the 46th straight sellout crowd of 4,003 at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Vermont has won nine of its last 10 games to improve to 11-5-1 (6-2-1, Hockey East) while RPI falls to 5-6-6 with the loss. The Catamounts will take on No. 6 St. Cloud State (11-3-3) in the championship game of the Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup at Gutterson Fieldhouse tomorrow at 7:05pm. Union (7-8-2) will play RPI in the consolation game at 4:00pm.
“I thought out power play did a great job tonight,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “That (second) unit doesn’t always get a lot of time but the way things worked out tonight they got the majority of the power play time and did a great job. Carlson obviously was the difference in the game on the power play but overall as a unit we did a great job and moved the puck well.”
Carlson recorded his first goal of the game on the power play at 4:34 of the first period to give Vermont a 1-0 lead. Junior assistant captain Mark Lutz (Stevens Point, Wis.) and senior co-captain Kenny Macaulay (Baddeck, Nova Scotia) both assisted on Carlson’s first goal since Oct. 7 in a 4-2 win at Miami in the championship game of the Ice Breaker Invitational.
Carlson struck again at 11:23 of the first period on the power play when he fired a rebound past Union sophomore goalie Mathias Lange. Senior assistant captain Chris Myers (South Boston, Mass.) redirected a shot from inside the slot on net and freshman Colin Vock (Plymouth, Mich.) also got a stick on the rebound but Lange turned away both attempts. However, Carlson was there to clean up the second rebound for his second goal of the game to make it 2-0 UVM.
Sophomore Dean Strong (Mississauga, Ontario) added an empty net goal with 18 seconds left to finish off the scoring and give the Catamounts a 3-0 victory. It was the 11th goal of the year for Strong and his third empty netter.
Fallon’s shutout was his fourth this season and he has turned away all 48 shots he has faced in three career starts in the Catamount Cup. Last season he made a total of 27 saves in a 1-0 victory against Dartmouth and a 3-0 win over Clarkson on his way to being named the MVP of the Catamount Cup.
Tonight also marked the third time in Fallon’s career he has recorded back-to-back shutouts after holding St. Lawrence scoreless in a 4-0 win back on Dec. 16 in his last start. He also lowered his season goals against average to 1.40, which ranks second best in the nation.
Vermont outshot RPI 25-21 and went 2-for-4 on the power play. The Catamounts stopped all four RPI power play attempts and the nation’s No. 1 penalty kill unit has killed off 51 of the last 53 power plays they have faced.
On Saturday in day two of the Catamount Cup Union and RPI will face off at 4:00pm and Vermont and St. Cloud State will follow in the championship game at 7:05pm. The first 1,000 fans will receive 2007 glasses courtesy of the Sheraton and TD Banknorth. Saturday is also Verizon Superpages Corporate Night. All giveaways will begin one hour before the scheduled start time of Vermont’s game.
Both games on Saturday will be streamed over the Internet via B2 Networks for a fee of $6 per game. Vermont’s game can also be heard live on the flagship station for Catamounts hockey on WVMT-AM 620 and on the Internet by going to www.sportsjuice.com. Saturday’s games are sold out.
GAME NOTES: Saturday’s Vermont and St. Cloud State matchup will be the first time the two schools have met since Oct. 30, 1999 in a game the Huskies won 4-1 at the Gut ... Vermont is 10-1-1 when scoring first this season ... Vermont is 9-1-0 when leading after two periods ... Vermont has won three straight games in the series against RPI ... Corey Carlson is the first Catamount to score two goals in a contest on more than one occasion this season ... The two assists for Mark Lutz gave him the first multi-point game of his career ... UVM is 23-4-3 over the last two seasons when Dean Strong records at least one point ... Vermont heads into tomorrow’s Catamount Cup Championship having won three straight in-season tournaments dating back to the Nye Frontier Classic in October last season.