Senior goaltender Clay Witt stops 44 shots for Huskies

Senior goaltender Clay Witt made 44 saves for the Huskies

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Despite a 44-24 shot advantage on Tuesday night, Vermont dropped a 3-0 decision against 16th-ranked Northeastern in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse to close out the first half of the season. The Catamounts drop to 8-6-1 (4-5-0 HEA), snapping a five-game winning streak with their first loss since Nov. 16. The Huskies improve to 10-5-2 (4-4-1 HEA) and push their unbeaten streak to six games.

Northeastern opened the scoring six minutes into the first period off an offensive zone faceoff. Kevin Roy spun a backhand pass to the front of the net for John Stevens and his initial chance was stopped by Mike Santaguida. Stevens located the rebound at the left doorstep and finished off the loose puck at the 5:55 mark.

The Catamounts came inches away from tying the score roughly nine minutes into the second period. Jake Fallon skated down the left side of the NU zone on a 2-on-1 and fed Chris McCarthy in the right circle. McCarthy delayed below the faceoff dot before firing a wrist shot off Clay Witt's left pad as the puck deflected off the right post and stayed out.

The Huskies doubled their lead with just 1:14 remaining in the middle frame. Vermont fanned on a clearing attempt in the low slot and the puck bounced to Roy inside the right circle. The sophomore quickly buried a one-timer past Santaguida inside the right pipe to make it a 2-0 game through 40 minutes.

Northeastern pushed the lead to three at the 4:08 mark of the third as Dalen Hedges nearly finished off a centering pass from Roy at the top of the crease. The rebound sat for Mike McMurtry at the edge of the left post and he tapped it into the open net for his third goal of the season.

UVM nearly drew a goal back on an extended 5-on-3 power play later in the period but Witt (44 saves) preserved the shutout. Santaguida stopped 21 shots at the other end in a losing effort. The Catamounts closed the night 0-for-8 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Vermont now heads into the holiday break before hosting the annual Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup on Dec. 28-29 at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts will face No. 9 Clarkson on Saturday, Dec. 28, followed by a matchup with Canisius on Sunday, Dec. 29. Both Vermont games begin at 7:05 p.m., while No. 10 UMass Lowell plays the early contest at 4 p.m. each afternoon.

Both Vermont matchups can be heard live on WVMT 620-AM and online at SportsJuice.com with Alastair Ingram on the call beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night. All four games of the tournament will also be streamed online for free in high definition via CatamounTV.com. UVM has won three of the last five Catamount Cups, including last year's event.

The first 150 fans to arrive on Dec. 28 for the Clarkson game will receive a free seat cushion courtesy of TD Bank. On Dec. 29, the Catamounts will host their annual Vermont Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used teddy bears and other stuffed animals to the game. All bears will be donated to patients at Fletcher Allen Health Care, Starr Farm Nursing Home, and Burlington Health & Rehab by members of the men's and women's hockey teams this winter.