Junior defenseman Nick Luukko has goal and assist for Catamounts

Junior defenseman Nick Luukko had a goal and an assist for the Catamounts

CANTON, N.Y. - Four different Catamounts scored and Brody Hoffman registered 22 saves as 18th-ranked Vermont skated past former ECAC rival St. Lawrence 4-2 on Tuesday night in non-conference action at Appleton Arena. The Catamounts improve to 11-6-3 (4-5-0 HEA) and push their unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2), while the Saints drop their fifth straight to fall to 8-10-2 (2-4-2 ECAC).

"The guys did a really great job of executing our game plan against St. Lawrence in this arena," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "We knew we had to get off to a good start. We thought it would be a little bit of an advantage and we also knew they were going to get better as the game went on. They were better in the second than in the first and better in the third than the second."

Vermont opened the scoring at the 9:20 mark of the first period shortly after its first power play had expired. Connor Brickley took control in the slot after an offensive zone faceoff and spun a backhander through traffic. The puck deflected off a skate down low and found its way through the five-hole of Kyle MacDonald as Nick Bruneteau and Nick Luukko picked up the assists.

Colin Markison had a couple of opportunities to double the lead from the left side of the St. Lawrence zone later in the period but was denied by MacDonald. The Catamounts out-shot the Saints by a dominating 18-3 margin in the opening 20 minutes and led by one heading into the first intermission.

The Cats struck again in the second period just four seconds into another man advantage. UVM won the draw cleanly back to Michael Paliotta at the point and the junior fired a slap shot on target. MacDonald made the initial save, but the rebound bounced to the low slot for Markison and he tapped a quick backhander into the net at 6:32.

UVM stretched the lead to three just six minutes later as Tom Forgione's forecheck broke up a play at the right side of the St. Lawrence defensive zone. The puck deflected to the top of the faceoff circle as Luukko drifted in and fired a powerful slap shot inside the left post for his second tally of the season.

The Saints got back into the game late in the middle frame with a pair of goals in the final three minutes. Brian Ward's one-timer trickled through Hoffman's five-hole on the power play with 2:43 left to get SLU on the board. Then with just 58 seconds remaining on the clock, Greg Carey wristed a shot into the upper left corner to cut the UVM advantage to 3-2.

Vermont grabbed a key insurance goal just 90 seconds into the final frame as Jonathan Turk picked up a loose puck in stride at center ice after a SLU defenseman had lost an edge. Turk carried the puck to the right circle before firing a wrister under the right armpit of MacDonald for a 4-2 cushion. Forgione and Paliotta each posted their second assist of the game on the play.

UVM killed off a St. Lawrence power play with roughly six minutes left in the contest and held the Saints off the board down the stretch. Hoffman pushed his personal unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1) with the victory, while MacDonald made 30 saves in his first career start. The Catamounts out-shot the Saints 34-24 on the night.

The Catamounts, who are 8-1-2 over their last 11 games, continue an eight-game road swing on Saturday (Jan. 11) at 7 p.m. against Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. Pre-game coverage from Starr Rink begins at 6:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM and online at with Alastair Ingram on the call.