BURLINGTON, Vt. - Freshman Kyle Reynolds scored twice and senior Rob Madore made 18 saves as Vermont picked up its first Hockey East victory of the season with a hard fought 2-1 win over UMass Amherst on Tuesday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts improve their record to 2-7-2 (1-6-1 HEA), while the Minutemen drop their second straight and fall to 4-6-3 (2-6-3 HEA).
"I'm really proud of our guys, the game of hockey became fun again tonight for a lot of guys including the coaching staff," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "From the net out I thought that was our best effort of the year. I thought our special teams were solid. Really it's hard to pick out certain guys that were good tonight because they were all good. They did all the hard work, I'm pleased for them to have a taste of success."
Reynolds opened the scoring at 11:39 of the first period for his first tally of the night. The rookie took a pass from Mike Montagna in the corner and skated into the right faceoff circle. Reynolds then fired a wrist shot into the upper right corner to beat UMass goaltender Jeff Teglia high to the sophomore's glove side. Montagna and Tobias Nilsson-Roos picked up the assists to make it 1-0 Vermont.
Reynolds double the Catamount lead roughly eight minutes into the second with UVM on its third power play of the night. Drew MacKenzie threw a shot wide of goal, but Sebastian Stalberg picked up the loose puck and cycled it behind the net to Reynolds. The freshman curled toward right faceoff dot and floated a wrister past Teglia's glove through a screen for a 2-1 advantage.
"Kyle has a very good knack for the net as he proved in junior hockey and it hadn't quite come, but that's three goals in three games," said Sneddon. "Hopefully he's a confidence player, and now he's going to be riding high. He's got a very quick release shot and he used the traffic that was around to provide a screen. I thought (Kyle) Reynolds was one of our best tonight."
UMass answered and cut the lead to one two and a half minutes before the second intermission courtesy of T.J. Syner. The senior's linemate Conor Sheary laid a pass down the left wing boards that hit Syner in stride as he circled back in the neutral zone. Syner went in alone through the left circle and tucked a backhand through Madore's five-hole to make it 2-1. Sheary picked up the lone assist on the play at 17:27.
The Catamounts thought they had reclaimed the two-goal lead at 13:11 of the third period as Stalberg rifled home a cross-crease feed from Matt White in the low left circle. The officials ruled that H.T. Lenz was in the crease when the puck hit entered the net and the tally was waved off immediately. The call on the ice was confirmed after video review and it remained a 2-1 game.
Madore took over in the third by making seven key saves to preserve the victory. Early in the frame, the senior made a point blank save on a one-timer at the right post by sliding across the crease with his left pad. At 7:15 of the final stanza, he stopped a point-blank wrist shot from the slot as the Minutemen came in on a 3-on-1. Madore then kept the puck out on a net-front scramble with under 90 seconds left as UMass pulled Teglia for an extra skater.
"I am hoping that this game will really spark him, I think that he looked really calm and poised in the net," said Sneddon. "That clearly was his best game from start to finish of the year. He's someone that cares more than anybody about not letting the team down and he put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. I thought he was exceptional tonight." Vermont returns to action after Thanksgiving as it continues a five-game homestand by hosting No. 15 Colgate on Friday (Nov. 25) at 7:05 p.m. and Dartmouth on Sunday (Nov. 27) at 4 p.m. Both non-conference games can be heard on WVMT 620-AM and on the Internet at SportsJuice.com, with Alastair Ingram and Derek Wagar '05 calling the action beginning 30 minutes before faceoff. Live video of each contest is available for free via CatamounTV at UVMathletics.com.
NOTES: Check back to UVMathletics.com for CatamounTV highlights and post-game reaction ... Vermont and UMass Amherst have met on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving every year since 1996 ... The next meeting between the schools will be at Frozen Fenway 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston on January 7 ... After scoring his first career goal last Friday against No. 16 Boston University, Kyle Reynolds now has three goals in his last three games ... Sebastian Stalberg has a point in seven of his last nine contests ... Rob Madore is now just 66 saves behind Joe Fallon '08 for second place on the all-time saves list at Vermont ... The Catamounts snapped a seven-game winless streak with Tuesday night's victory.