Junior forward Brittany Zuback registered a hat trick for the Catamounts

Junior forward Brittany Zuback had a hat trick for the Catamounts

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Brittany Zuback recorded her first career hat trick as the Catamounts defeated the Nepean Wildcats 5-1 in an exhibition tilt at Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday evening.

Zuback opened the scoring for Vermont at the 10:47 mark of the first period. The Catamounts leading scorer from last season corralled a loose puck in the slot and put it past the Wildcats Kira Bombay on the power play. Sarah Campbell and Delia McNally earned assists on the play.

Just over two minutes later Zuback struck again. Amanda Pelkey fed a cross-ice pass to Zuback and she roofed a wrist shot past Bombay to give the Catamounts a two-goal lead.

Vermont extended its lead to three with five minutes left in the first. Campbell entered the Nepean zone outnumbered but got a shot on net off her backhand. Bombay made the initial save but freshman Victoria Andreakos collected the rebound and put it in for her first goal as a Catamount.

Zuback got her third goal of the night in front of the Nepean net. Zuback put home the rebound from a Gina Repaci shot from the point. Freshman Bridget Baker collected an assist on the goal. Zuback became the first Catamount to score a hat trick since Kate Lesniak in 2007.

Just before the midway point of the second period both coaches switched goaltenders. Roxanne Douville earned the win making six saves for Vermont, Bombay left the game for the Wildcats with 14 saves.

Dayna Colang rounded out the Vermont scoring with 5:57 left in the second period. Delia McNally won an offensive zone faceoff and Andreakos fed a pass to Colang who was cutting into the slot. She made a nifty move and roofed a quick snap shot that beat Megan Halhed (12 saves) to her glove side.

The Wildcats Alyssa Baker broke the Vermont shutout with a powerplay goal at the 15:56 mark of the third period. Baker redirected a Addi Halladay shot from just in front of Vermont goaltender Madison Litchfield (8 saves).

"It was great to get a game under our belts and I was pleased to see the team play with so much energy," said head coach Jim Plumer. "Our upperclassmen are doing a terrific job of leading our younger players and I thought it really showed, as our freshmen collectively all made major contributions. I'm excited to see this team progress over the next month or so."

Vermont opens the regular season next weekend with a two-game series against Penn State. The Catamounts will face the Nittany Lions at 7 p.m. on Friday night and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.