BURLINGTON, Vt. - Dan Lawson and Sebastian Stalberg each recorded two assists and Jack Downing provided his second game-winning goal in three games to lead the Catamounts (5-12-4, 3-8-3 HEA) to a 2-1 win over Massachusetts in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse Friday night.
Vermont struck first as UMass forward Michael Pereira served a penalty for crosschecking at 8:20 of the first period. Stalberg controlled the puck at the top of the left circle, before dropping a pass to Lawson. Lawson cracked a one-time shot on goal that was deflected into the net by Josh Burrows who was camped out in front of Minutemen goaltender Paul Dainton at 9:22 of the first frame. It was Burrows' second goal of the year.
"We can finally say that our special teams were special," said coach Kevin Sneddon, whose team went 1-for-2 on the man advantage. "We moved the puck around on the power play, obviously a nice goal, but had some really good chances."
The Catamounts took a 2-0 lead at 16:54 of the first period when Lawson unleashed another one timer from the top of the left circle into traffic. Downing was able to get a stick on the puck as it beat Dainton who was shielded from the play. Stalberg picked up his second assist of the night on the play.
The two-goal lead was quickly cut in half exactly thirty seconds after the Downing goal as Connor Sheary took a centering feed from Periera and fired a one timer past Madore at 17:24 of the opening period. Chase Langraap provided the second assist.
Vermont went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, including a 5-on-3 that lasted 50 seconds to start the second period.
"I thought our penalty killers did a fabulous job tonight," said Sneddon. "They knocked down a 5-on-3 and then killed the rest of that 5-on-4. I can't say enough good things about the job the penalty kill guys did tonight."
Madore stopped 28 shots for the Catamounts and improves his record to 4-1-1 with a 1.57 goals against average against the Minutemen.
Dainton stopped 26 shots for Massachusetts (5-12-3, 4-7-3 HEA), but picked up his seventh loss of the year and fifth in league play.
Vermont returns to action tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. when it takes on Massachusetts in the second game of the two-game set at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The game can be heard on WVMT-620 AM and on the Internet at SportsJuice.com. Live video of the game is also available on a pay-per-view basis via CatamounTV. The game will be televised on WCAXtra with Jack Healy and Mike McCune calling the action. WCAXtra is located over-the-air on Digital 3.2, Comcast 168, Burlington Telecom 303, Charter 295 and Time Warner 165.
WCAXtra reaches more than 300,000 households throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. In addition, close to 3 million Comcast subscribers throughout New England will be able to watch replays of each game On Demand.
Promotions will be the Hockey East Strides Against Breast Cancer. Free admission to the women's game tomorrow (2 p.m.) is available when you present a ticket from tonight's men's hockey game.
NOTES: Sebastian Stalberg now has 10 points in the last eight outings for Vermont (4g, 6a) ... Rob Madore has given up only two 5-on-5 goals in the last 356 minutes of play for the Cats ... Vermont is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings with Minutemen at Gutterson Fieldhouse ... Dan Lawson was named the first star of the game, Stalberg was the second star ... Vermont is one point away from the eighth seed in Hockey East and trails UMass by two points heading into tomorrow night.
Vermont Athletics Hosts Celebrity Server Event on Monday at Texas Roadhouse Join Vermont student-athletes, coaches, and staff for a "pink" celebrity server event at Texas Roadhouse in Tafts Corner in Williston on Monday, January from 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. and help raise money for the Vermont Cancer Center.
All tips from the evening will go to the Vermont Athletic Department to support Hockey East Skating Strides for Breast Cancer and Pink Zone initiatives. Fans who dine at Texas Roadhouse on Monday and show a coupon, a tweet, Facebook invite or a copy the UVM Athletics newsletter will have 10 percent of their food bill donated to the Vermont Cancer Center courtesy of Texas Roadhouse. Coupons can be picked up at the promotions table at all home games.