BURLINGTON, Vt. - Ray Vitolins scored his first career goal 4:42 into the third period as the Catamounts battled from behind twice to earn their first Hockey East point of the season in a 2-2 draw with No. 11 Northeastern. The Huskies earned the additional point beating UVM 1-0 in a shootout. With tonight's result Northeastern improved to 3-1-2 with two shootout wins this season and Vermont improved to 0-3-1.
"Tonight was a continuation of building towards the structure we want to have," said Head Coach Todd Woodcroft. "We understand that this will be a game-by-game, period-by-period, shift-by-shift battle for us. We know it and we embrace it."
"From the third period, last night until the final buzzer tonight, we had a full team who played as well as we can play," continued Woodcroft. "Our five-on-five play continues to show signs of positivity. Our resilience was tested being down a goal twice but we found ways to even it up each time. We had some composure, poise and maturity evident in our performance tonight. Another brick in the wall of what we are trying to build while recognizing where we need to get better. But we stuck to our plan and we did it together."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The first period saw several chances for both teams and stellar goaltending from Northeastern's Connor Murphy (9 saves) and Tyler Harmon (7 saves).
- The Huskies opened the scoring seconds after a power play opportunity with 4:48 left in the second period. From the point Riley Hughes fired a wrist shot that was perfectly tipped up and over Harmon by Matt Demelis. Demelis' first of the season was also assisted by Jayden Struble.
- The Catamounts answered right back tying the game 69 seconds later. Will Zapernick pressured a Northeastern defender into a turnover and Vlad Dzhioshvili took advantage. Dzhioshvili faked a shot and then cut down the wing before centering a pass to Jacques Bouquot. Bouqout one-timed a low shot that hit the post, but he was able to tap the rebound home for his fourth career goal.
- The Huskies lethal power play went back to work early in the third period. Struble kept the puck in at the point firing it towards the net, his feed bounced perfectly off of Demelis' stick to Ty Jackson alone in the slot. Jackson one-timed the bouncing puck past Harmon for his fourth goal of the season.
- Just as they had earlier in the game the Catamounts responded quickly. Senior forward Alex Esposito corralled a loose puck and passed to the point and Andrew Lucas. Lucas spotted Vitolins cutting to the net and fed a perfect slap-pass that Vitolins redirected past Murphy with 15:18 left in regulation.
- The Huskies outshot UVM 13-4 in the third period but were unable to beat Harmon. In the five minute three-on-three overtime session Harmon was again strong, making three saves.
- In the shootout Gunnarwolfe Fontaine was the only player on either team to score in the three-player opening round. He skated wide and beat Harmon with a quick shot five-hole.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- The Catamounts blocked a season-high 15 shots tonight. Forwards Jordan Kaplan and William Lemay led the way with three apiece.
- Senior goaltender Tyler Harmon set a new career high with 35 saves tonight.
- With two goals tonight, you receive 20% off orders tonight and tomorrow at all Domino's in Burlington, South Burlington, Essex, and Williston when you call and mention the score or use the promo code 'CATS' online. Offer is valid tonight and tomorrow.
- With tonight's score of 2-2, Community Bank, N.A. will be adding a donation of $75 to Special Olympics Vermont. That brings this year's total to $600. 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 are slated to return to action on Friday, January 1 at 7 p.m. as they travel to face No. 15 Providence. The game will be broadcast live on NESN. Fans outside of New England can also watch 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.