GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Vermont battled back from two goals down and earned a hard-fought 2-2 tie with seventh-ranked North Dakota on Saturday night in non-conference action at Ralph Engelstad Arena. UVM moves to 0-1-1 (0-0-0 HEA) in the early season, while North Dakota sits at 1-1-0 (0-0-0 NCHC).
"We're not pleased with the tie but we're pleased with the resilience, being down 2-0 and all the momentum with them," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "It was good for our freshmen to experience and for our leaders to show the way."
North Dakota opened the scoring on the power play at the 10:58 mark of the first period after Vermont had killed off a 5-on-3. Jordan Schmaltz skated down the right side of the UVM zone and slid a pass into the left slot for Rocco Grimaldi, who fired a low one-timer through the five-hole of Mike Santaguida for a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was doubled with just 43 seconds left in the opening frame. Adam Tambellini poked the puck from the Cats at center ice and sprung Drake Caggiula into the right side of the zone. The sophomore skated down the right faceoff circle before roofing a backhander into the upper right corner.
Early in the second period, UVM began to mount its comeback and grabbed its first tally of the night at 3:34. At the end of a strong shift, Jonathan Turk picked up the puck in the high slot and fed Robert Polesello in the left circle. The sophomore wristed a low shot off the underside of Zane Gothberg's glove and it trickled inside the right post.
North Dakota earned a power play near the end of the middle frame but the Catamounts pounced on a transition opportunity to knot the score. Nick Bruneteau slid the puck around the boards in the defensive zone and Chris McCarthy skated down the left wing with speed. McCarthy delayed, cut into the low slot, and sniped a wrist shot high glove side on Gothberg.
Both teams had quality chances in the third period but Santaguida and Gothberg stood tall. The Catamounts carried a power play of 1:48 into overtime but couldn't capitalize and the game ended in a deadlock. Santaguida made 31 saves for the second straight night, while Gothberg stopped 25 shots.
"The third was back and forth. They carried the momentum and we carried the momentum. Overall it was a good college hockey game," Sneddon said.
The Catamounts have next weekend off before traveling to Philadelphia to face the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. in the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet New England (CSNNE) with live radio coverage on WVMT 620-AM and online at SportsJuice.com.