BURLINGTON, Vt. - Christian Evers picked up his first career three-point game leading the Catamounts to their first win of the season 5-4 over Maine Friday afternoon in Hockey East action from Gutterson Fieldhouse. With this afternoon's result Vermont improved to 1-4-2 while the Black Bears fell to 0-4-1.
"Winning is hard-never, ever easy," said Head Coach Todd Woodcroft. "Maine brought us right to the wire today and we had to scratch, claw, dig our way to the points. Just like there are lessons for this group when we don't win, there are lessons when we do. The hard work we have put in all season, and especially this week, fed that victory."
"Now it is our job to continue to fuel that to never be full or satisfied," continued Woodcroft. "The real challenge is tomorrow; can we do it again? And then again, the next weekend, and the weekend after that. It was a good step in the right direction today."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- For the second straight game the Catamounts opened the scoring. This afternoon the UVM's forecheck paid off three minutes in. Dovar Tinling won a puck battle in the corner and passed to Ace Cowans behind the net. Maine's Matthew Thiessen was caught assuming Cowans would wraparound and instead Cowans fed Jordan Kaplan for an easy one-timer into the empty half of the net. Kaplan's first goal as a Catamount was also Tinling's, the youngest player in NCAA hockey, first career point.
- The Black Bears answered back on the power play 7:18 into the opening frame. Levi Kleiboer fired a wrist shot in the slot past Vermont's Tyler Harmon for Maine's seventh goal of the season with the man advantage.
- In a span of 1:43 Evers found the back of the net twice to build a 3-1 lead for the Catamounts. At the 13:14 mark of the first on a five-on-three power play he blew a one-timed slap shot past Thiessen from the top of the circle. Evers made it his second career two-goal game off an offensive zone faceoff win. His initial shot was blocked but he gathered it in traffic and fired a hard-low shot that beat Thiessen again.
- Maine cut the UVM lead back to one before the end of the second off a broken play in front. Jakuba Sirota fired a shot towards the UVM net that struck Owen Grant in front, the puck caromed to Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup who rang the puck off the post, finally Maine's Lynden Breen was able to tap home his second of the season with 3:50 left in the frame.
- Vermont scored the lone goal of the second period on the power play at the 12:08 mark. Tristan Mullin hammered a one-timer top corner past Thiessen from the point for his second goal as a Catamount. Evers and Ray Vitolins were credited with assists on the goal.
- Leading after the second period for the first time this season the Catamounts were a little out of sorts early. Adam Dawe skated in on a breakaway and fired one off the post 1:20 into the frame and just 29 seconds later Maine did cut the UVM lead in half. Tristan Poissant skated out from the corner and beat Harmon with a snapshot for his first collegiate goal.
- Vermont responded right back just 20 seconds later. Carter Long scored his first goal of the season to reestablish the UVM lead at 5-3. Long appeared to be centering a feed to Vlad Dzhioshvili but the puck went in.
- The Black Bears made the Catamounts earn their first win of the season scoring with the extra attacker with 1:08 left in regulation. Jakub Sirota one-timed a rocket past Harmon off a feed from Schmidt-Svejstrup. The Black Bears wouldn't get another shot on net in the game, Mullin blocked a last-ditch attempt by Maine in the final five seconds of regulation to seal the win.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Head Coach Todd Woodcroft and senior goaltender Tyler Harmon each won their first collegiate game this afternoon.
- It was the first time this season the Catamounts have outshot their opponent (30-28) and scored more power play goals than its opponent.
- The Maine power play was ranked second in the country entering today, clicking at 30%, the Catamounts held them to a 1-for-5 (20%) afternoon.
- Vlad Dzhiohsvili was dominant for the Catamounts in the faceoff circle, he won a game-high 14 draws on 19 attempts.
- When the Cats Win, Community Wins. With each Catamount win, Vermont Mutual Insurance donates $100 to a local non-profit. For 2020 they donated $15,000 to Spectrum Youth and Family Services. A special thank you to Vermont Mutual Insurance for their support. Vermont Mutual Insurance, protecting Vermonters since 1828."
- With tonight's score of 5-4, Community Bank, N.A. will be adding a donation of $375 to Special Olympics Vermont. That brings this year's total to $1800. Cheer on our Catamounts as they go for the win while creating a special bond with community members! Thank you Community Bank, N.A. for your support of our UVM and Special Olympics athletes!
The Catamounts and Black Bears are back at it tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live for free on CBS CollegeSportsLive. In addition, as always you can listen to the contest on WVMT AM 620/96.3 FM with Michael Lehr on the call.