BURLINGTON, Vt. - 10 different players recorded a point and the Vermont men's hockey team upset tenth-ranked Ferris State 4-2 to wrap up the annual Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup on Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts improved to 4-13-1 (1-9-1 HEA) and snapped a five-game losing streak, while the Bulldogs dropped both of their tournament games and fell to 11-8-1 (7-6-1 CCHA).
"I think that was our first real 60-minute effort of solid compete and I'm very happy for the guys that they got rewarded for it," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "I thought we did a great job last night for good portions of the game but I think this was a true testament to the guys of just sticking with it and I thought we did a lot of great things whether it was a power play or gutsy performance on the penalty kill."
"Everybody contributed to the win and that's the satisfying thing right there, whether it was our fourth lines guys blocking shots in the waning minutes of the game or our penalty kill guys," Sneddon continued. "We capitalized on our chances against a very good hockey team. I'm certainly pleased for the guys and I hope this will spark more of an understanding that this is how we have to play all the time. We have to play gritty and that's Catamount hockey for us."
Vermont opened the scoring roughly halfway through the first period after Ferris State took two penalties in the span of three seconds. With nearly a full two minutes of 5-on-3 power play time, Blake Doerring and Michael Paliotta played catch with the puck at the points. Finally, Doerring set up Paliotta at the left side for a one-time slap shot and the freshman beat CJ Motte glove side for a 1-0 UVM lead.
The Catamounts doubled their lead less than eight minutes later. After a lengthy scrum in the right wing corner of the Ferris State zone, Mike Montagna worked the puck loose to Nick Bruneteau below the goal line. With Vermont in the midst of a line change, Bruneteau centered the puck to Tobias Nilsson-Roos who had just hopped onto the rink. The pass split two FSU defenders into the slot and Nilsson-Roos buried a one-timer through Motte's right armpit.
For the second straight night, Vermont took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, but the Bulldogs answered three minutes into the middle frame courtesy of their fourth line. Scott Czarnowczan whipped a shot toward goal from the left point and Justin Demartino tipped the puck into the lower right corner past Rob Madore to cut the lead in half.
UVM responded at the 12:18 mark as Tommy Hill was penalized for slashing to give the Cats their fourth power play of the night. Colin Markison led the puck down the right wing boards to Sebastian Stalberg and he gained the Ferris State zone. Stalberg faked a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle and slid the puck into the slot for Kyle Reynolds, who tapped it into the open net to restore the two-goal advantage.
Before the end of the period, the Bulldogs fought back as they created more traffic in front of Madore's crease. Simon Denis took a slap shot from the left point after some sustained pressure and Madore made the initial save. Jordie Johnston was waiting at the right doorstep to pounce on the rebound and stuff it home to make it a 3-2 game.
In the third period, the Catamounts went back on the man advantage and grabbed a key insurance goal at the 10:45 mark. Drew MacKenzie sent a pass from the left point to Stalberg who was waiting at the top of the right circle. Stalberg's slap shot trickled through Motte's left armpit and Markison was waiting in the crease behind the freshman goalie to finish it off for a 4-2 cushion.
Vermont finished strong and held off Ferris State late in regulation as the Bulldogs earned a power play and pulled Motte for a 6-on-4 advantage. Motte finished the night with 20 saves in net for FSU, while Madore stopped 24 shots to pick up his third win of the season. The Cats went 3-7 on the power play, setting a new season-high for power play tallies in a single game.
"We had opportunities on the 5-on-3 early on but I think Paliotta's goal early on gave us some confidence and I thought all night we moved the puck extremely well on the power play," said Sneddon. "Certainly the break-in goal was one of the prettier goals I've seen us execute in quite some time. There were three great passes and a tap in goal, you don't often see that. I think it was some confidence early on and we were able to maintain that throughout the game."
In the early game, R.I.T. defeated No. 16 Lake Superior State 3-1 to win the tournament behind 32 saves from sophomore goalie Josh Watson. Tigers defenseman Chris Saracino took home Catamount Cup MVP honors, as he finished the tournament with a goal and two assists. R.I.T. shut out Ferris State 3-0 on Thursday in the first game of the event.
After New Year's, Vermont returns to Hockey East play as it travels to face Maine at Alfond Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. Both teams then head to Boston for the Frozen Fenway 2012 doubleheader on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Fenway Park. UVM plays UMass Amherst at 4 p.m., which will be followed by New Hampshire vs. Maine at 7:30 p.m. The Boston Bruins face the Vancouver Canucks at 1 p.m. at TD Garden in Boston, and all three games will be televised on NESN as part of a "Hockey Day in New England".
|Chris Saracino (MVP)||R.I.T.||D|
|Nick McParland||Lake Superior State||F|
NOTES: Check back to UVMathletics.com for CatamounTV highlights and post-game reaction ... Tonight marked the first all-time meeting between the two schools in men's hockey ... UVM is now 11-4-1 in its annual holiday tournament under head coach Kevin Sneddon ... Sebastian Stalberg has five multi-point games in his last seven contests, with three goals and eight assists in that span ... Kyle Reynolds took over the team lead with his second game-winning goal of the season ... Nick Bruneteau has five points in his last four games ... Vermont defeated its second ranked team of the season after upsetting No. 8 Minnesota on Oct. 23 ... Ferris State came in as the fourth-ranked defensive team in the country, allowing just 2.0 goals per game.