BURLINGTON, Vt. - The 15th ranked Catamounts' defense accounted for three of their four goals Friday afternoon at Gutterson Fieldhouse to lift them past Merrimack 4-2. Krista Parkkonen had two goals and an assist for Vermont in her first career three-point game. With the win, Vermont moves to 8-8-1 on the campaign while Merrimack drops to 6-10-2.
"I'm proud of this team for the resilience they've showed over the past couple of weeks and it was a very gratifying win today," Head Coach Jim Plumer said. "We got some key contributions from our defensive core, scoring three of our four goals and we had some of our best offensive zone play we have had all year. A team is made up of so many parts and they all contributed in their own ways today and for that I am especially grateful. We can feel good going into this break, get some rest and come back ready to pick up where we left off for a strong second half. Happy holidays to all of our fans and we look forward to seeing you again at the Gut in 2024."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Catamounts opened up scoring less than a minute into the first period. Off a neutral zone turnover by Merrimack, Alaina Tanski scooped up the loose puck and fed a pass to Natálie Mlýnková in the high slot. Mlýnková's shot deflected off the left post and redirected to Krista Parkkonen who tucked in her second goal of the season.
- Merrimack responded 6:11 into the first frame with a powerplay goal. Emily Oosterveld connected with Payten Evans who unleashed a shot from the high slot that was initially saved. Allison Reeb made a diving attempt and got a stick on the puck to tap in the equalizing score right in front of the goal mouth.
- UVM struck again 1:53 into the second period. Lily Humphrey found Parkkonen who delivered a cross the crease pass to Hailey Eikos. Eikos fired a wrist shot into the top left corner to put the cats up 2-1 early in the second.
- The Warriors responded with 2:18 remaining in the second frame. Alex Ferguson banked a pass off the boards to herself causing a two-on-one rush. Ferguson proceeded to feed a well-timed pass to Maria Lindberg who lifted the puck into the top left corner to even the score at two apiece.
- Vermont responded exactly one minute later with a power play goal of their own. After receiving a pass from Mlýnková at the right point, Parkkonen launched a slapshot that went five-hole and into the back of the net for her first career multigoal game.
- The Catamounts stretched the lead to two with their second power play goal of the game 6:17 into the third period. Natalie Zarcone fed Bella Parento who then threaded a pass to Lara Beecher. Beecher released a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that hit the left post and deflected in to put the Cats up 4-2.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- The Catamounts won 28 of their 36 draws, highlighted by 11 faceoff wins by Mlýnková.
- Eikos and Parkkonen led all skaters with a plus/minus rating of +2
- Following the victory, Vermont extends their longest active win streak against a Hockey East opponent to 10 games.
- With today's 4-2 decision, Community Bank N.A. will donate $300 to Special Olympics Vermont. Community Bank, N.A. donates $75 per goal to Special Olympics Vermont for every goal the men's and women's team scores this season.
- With the win, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate $100 to King Street Center as part of the Cats Win, Community Wins initiative. Since its inauguration in 2017, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group has donated over $80,000 to local non-profits through the Cats Win, Community Wins initiative.
After the extended break, Vermont begins the new year welcoming local opponent Saint Michael's College to the Gut. Gameday is scheduled for Tuesday, January 2 with puck drop set for 6 p.m. It is Vermont Night presented by Vermont Federal Credit Union and the Catamounts will be wearing special edition jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game. Catch all the action on ESPN+ with Rob Ryan on the call.