Junior Dean Strong registers goal and three assists for Catamounts

Junior Dean Strong had a goal and three assists for Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont junior co-captain Dean Strong (Mississauga, Ontario) scored the game-winning goal with 25 seconds remaining and added three assists to lift the Catamounts to a 4-2 victory over No. 10 Massachusetts in front of the 63rd straight sellout of 4,003 at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Tuesday night. Vermont improved to 3-5-2 (3-2-1) with the win and ended a six-game unbeaten streak for UMass (5-3-4; 3-2-4 Hockey East).

Junior assistant captain Peter Lenes (Shelburne, Vt.) setup Strong for the game-winner with a pass from behind the net with the score tied 2-2. Strong came free in front and sent a one-timer past UMass freshman goalie Paul Dainton.

"I found myself in the slot and Lenes had a bunch of time behind the net which is nice," Strong said. "He knew where I was the whole time."

The goal was the second this season for Strong and the 24th of his career. His four points and three assists were both career highs. The Catamounts are now 30-8-6 when Strong records at least one point through the first 86 games of his career.

Junior assistant captain Corey Carlson (Two Harbors, Minn.) added an empty-netter with three seconds left to put UVM above .500 in Hockey East play.

Sophomore Colin Vock (Plymouth, Mich.) scored a goal and had two assists. Freshman Kevan Miller (Los Angeles, Calif.) notched the first goal of his career for the Catamounts.

"I thought we played a very complete hockey game," Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. "I thought we really did a good job for 60 minutes tonight. We were better defensively, better offensively and had good jump in our legs."

Sophomore Will Ortiz scored his sixth goal of the season for UMass. Junior Cory Quirk knotted the game 2-2 with his goal just 42 seconds into the third for the Minutemen.

After a scoreless first period in which UVM out shot UMass 14-7, Miller gave the Catamounts a 1-0 lead 6:03 into the second. From the right circle he sent the puck in front and it deflected off Quirk into the net. Strong and Vock both assisted.

Ortiz tied the game 1-1 for UMass less than two minutes later with a quick wrister from the right circle.

Vock put the Catamounts back in front 2-1 when he skated in all alone on Dainton 13:13 into the second. Strong sent a long pass up the ice from his own zone and Carlson tipped it ahead to Vock, who used a backhander to beat Dainton five-hole.

"That was the best I've seen Colin Vock look all year," Sneddon said. "I thought he was fantastic. I thought he was the best player on the ice tonight."

Vermont took a 2-1 lead to the final period but Quirk quickly tied it for UMass. Defenseman Justin Braun fired a shot from the point and Quirk deflected the puck from slot into the upper right corner of the net.

Vermont responded with the goals by Strong and Carlson in the final 25 seconds to win for the 31st straight time when scoring at least four goals. After dropping a 9-1 decision to Boston University last Friday, UVM has won two straight.

"We seem to have learned from that," Sneddon said. "The way we have played in the last two games is Catamount hockey. We've come together as a team."

Senior goalie Joe Fallon (Bemidji, Minn.) made 29 saves for UVM while Dainton had 25 stops for UMass. Both teams went scoreless on the power play as the Catamounts were 0-for-4 and the Minutemen went 0-for-2.

Vermont returns to action on Sunday (11/25) at Maine for a 2pm start.

NOTES: The Vermont men's soccer team was recognized on the ice during the first intermission. The Catamounts won the America East Tournament last weekend to advance to the NCAA Tournament this coming weekend ... Vermont is 18-4-2 at home all-time against Massachusetts and 28-11-4 all-time in the series ... UVM is 29-7-7 in its last 43 games when scoring first and 51-3-8 in its last 62 games when leading after two periods.