Daily Archives: Feb 16, 2014

Women’s Hockey: Catamounts Win Fourth Straight, Top UNH 5-1

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

DURHAM, N.H. – Brittany Zuback had a goal and two assists to lead Vermont to a program record fourth straight Hockey East win over New Hampshire 5-1 from the Whittemore Center.

The Wildcats opened the scoring 9:28 into the first period on the power play. Senior forward Nicole Gifford picked up her team-leading 11th goal of the season as New Hampshire scored first against Vermont for the third time this season. Alexis Crossley and Arielle O’Neill earned assists on the play.

Amanda Pelkey responded for the Catamounts under two minutes later. Her team record 19th goal of the season was assisted by Brittany Zuback and Sarah Campbell. Zuback became the first Catamount to ever put up 20 assists in a season with the goal at the 11:01 mark. Pelkey has scored at least one goal in six of her eight career games against the Wildcats.

The Catamounts 10th ranked power play in the country converted late in the first period to give Vermont the lead. Victoria Andreakos scored her tenth goal of the season with six seconds left in the opening frame to extend her point-scoring streak to four games. Zuback and Pelkey earned assists on the goal, for Pelkey it was her conference-leading 15th power play point of the season.

After a scoreless second period in which the Catamounts were outshot 14-6 Vermont put the game out of reach with two goals 56 seconds apart midway through the third period. Greer Vogl scored her second goal of the season at the 11:08 mark and Zuback added her tenth of the season to give Vermont a 4-1 lead.

With 1:58 left in the third period Dayna Colang picked up Vermont’s second shorthanded goal of the season to round out the scoring. Her 10 goals this season lead all defenseman in Hockey East.

Roxanne Douville made 38 saves and improved her record in Hockey East this season to 10-5-1. Douville has won 11 games this season a Vermont Division I record. She is two wins short of Tiffany Hayes all-time record set during the 2000-01 season.

“This is another step in the right direction for us,” said head coach Jim Plumer. “We weathered some storms but hung tough and players made key plays at crucial times. Roxanne is really dialed in and her influence on the entire team can’t be understated. Our goals remain the same, to keep on improving.”

Vermont returns home for senior weekend February 21-22 to host Providence in its final regular season games.

Fans can purchase tickets online at UVMathletics.com/Tickets or in person at the UVM Athletic Ticket Office in Patrick Gym (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). The Gutterson box office opens one hour prior to each game.

NOTES: After dropping their first 21 games to UNH Vermont is 8-6-1 in the 15 meetings since 2010 … The Catamounts are 6-1-0 in their last seven Hockey East games … Amanda Pelkey had a goal and an assist in all three games against UNH this season … Vermont’s win today improved its record to 15-13-4, ensuring the programs first ever Division I season at or above .500 … In 12 of Vermont’s 15 wins this season the power play has converted at least once.

Women’s Hoop: Vermont Falls at UMBC

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BALTIMORE, MD. — Vermont’s Kayla Burchill scored a career-high 27 points and matched her career best with six 3-pointers, but the UMBC Retrievers pulled out a 77-62 victory at the RAC on Sunday afternoon in America East women’s basketball action.

UMBC improves to 3-22 overall and 2-11 in America East. Vermont falls to 6-19 on the year and 3-9 in league play.

In a game that saw 16 lead changes and 10 ties, the Retrievers were able to take control of the contest in the final four minutes.  Burchill made a pair of free throws to give UVM a 55-54 lead with 4:15 remaining, but three-point play by Liz McNaughton on UMBC’s next possession sparked a 23-7 run by the Retrievers that closed the game and lifted them to the victory.

Vermont tried to extend the game by fouling, but UMBC took advantage and went 18-for-21 from the stripe in the closing minutes and were 30-for-26 from the line for the game.

UMBC took a 10-2 lead to open the game, but the Catamounts responded with a 10-0 run, fueled by seven points from Burchill, to take a 12-10 lead.  The Catamounts pushed their lead to five, UVM’s largest of the game, on a 3-pointer by Jordan Eisler.

UMBC answered with six straight points to regain the lead, 16-15, at the 8:40 mark. The teams traded baskets and the lead the rest of the half, but a 3-pointer by Kristina White with 52 seconds left gave Vermont a 29-27 lead at the half.

Taylor McCarley scored a team-high 18 points as all five starters reached double figures for UMBC.

UMBC shot 56.1 percent from the field, while the Catamounts shot 31.4 percent from the floor for the game.  UVM matched its season high with 11 3-pointers and out rebounded the Retrievers 37-35 and 18-3 on the offensive glass.  UMBC finished the game with a 30-for-36 effort from the foul line.

“I was really proud of the effort given the circumstances to get down here to play the game.  I thought we played really hard. We missed some shots and didn’t get to the free throw line like we needed to. Kayla Burchill was tremendous tonight. I was proud of the way she is taking over and put the team on her back.  Kylie Atwood played well tonight, keeping us organized, attacking and distributing the ball.  Bottom line a couple of the balls didn’t bounce our way towards the end, they made some key buckets and when we had to start fouling they took the lead for good from there. We were very close and we fought the whole way,” said Vermont head coach Lori Gear McBride.

Vermont hosts New Hampshire on Wednesday (Feb. 19) at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at UVMathletics.com/tickets, in person at the UVM Athletic Ticket Office in Patrick Gymnasium (M-F: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), via the phone at 802-656-4410, or in person one hour before tipoff in the Patrick Gymnasium Lobby.

The game can be seen online via CatamounTV.com.

NOTES: Today’s game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but due to weather conditions, Vermont could not get to Baltimore in time … Kayla Burchill and Kylie Butler have scored 27 points in consecutive games for the Catamounts … Butler had a career-high 27 points at UMass Lowell on Wednesday … Burchill’s six 3-pointers matched her career high, when she made six 3-pointers versus No. 15 Georgetown (12/29/11) … UVM also made 11 3-pointers against Canisius earlier this season (12/16/13) … Burchill is averaging 15.3 points per game in league play and shooting better than 40 percent from the field and 3-point range.

Men’s Hoop: Panthers Bow at Amherst, Await NESCAC Tournament

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

Amherst, MA. — The Middlebury men’s basketball team ended its regular season with an 84-67 loss to seventh-ranked Amherst (21-3, 9-1) on Sunday afternoon. The Panthers (16-8, 6-4) have secured the third seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament, and will hosted sixth-seeded Hamilton on Saturday, February 23rd at 1:00 p.m.



The Jeffs outscored Middlebury by 21 points in the second half, turning a four-point halftime deficit into the victory in LeFrak Gymnasium.



Shooting just 35.5 percent (11-31) over the first 20 minutes, the Jeffs shot a blistering 66.7 percent from the floor (18-27) after the break, including a 50.0 percent (8-16) showing from behind the arc. Plagued by foul trouble early, Aaron Toomey scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, while also finishing with eight assists and five rebounds.



Hitting eight of his 12 field goal attempts, Tom Killian had 18 points and seven boards, while Connor Green and David Kalema had 15 and 13 points, respectively.



Locked in a closely contested game over the first five minutes, Amherst rattled off a 15-1 run over a span of 5:06, going up 23-11 on a Kalema layup midway through the period. Winning the next five minutes, Middlebury responded with an 18-5 stretch of its own, retaking the lead on a Joey Kizel triple with 4:16 left in the first.



Trailing 34-30 at the intermission, Killian opened up the second half scoring with a layup on Amherst’s second possession. The next time down the floor, Green drained a transition three off of a Toomey feed to give the home team a 35-34 edge. Dylan Sinnickson put the Panthers back on top with a layup at 17:22, but the Jeffs answered with a 17-4 run over the next 4:45.



Kalema got things going with a three pointer following Sinnickson’s bucket before Killian knocked down a trey of his own. After Toomey hit 1-2 from the charity stripe, Jake Brown buried a jumper that cut the visitors’ deficit to 42-38. Green and Killian combined for the game’s next five points before another Brown basket had Middlebury back within seven. Alex Levine responded with a layup before Green capped off the run by converting a three-point pay the old-fashioned way to put the Purple & White up 52-40.



With both teams trading baskets over the next several minutes, the Panthers pulled within 58-47 on a Brown layup with 10:28 remaining in regulation. Burying a triple moments later, Toomey jumpstarted an 11-1 run that saw the Jeffs build a 21-point cushion. Toomey tallied six points during the decisive stretch that was bookended by a Joseph Mussachia three-point play at 7:06 that made it 69-48.



Despite getting outrebounded 41-36, Amherst did a lot of its damage inside, finishing with a 36-16 edge in points in the paint. The Jeff bench also played a key role, outscoring the Middlebury reserves, 22-14.



Sinnickson led the visitors with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Kizel had 16 points and eight boards. Brown was the only other Panther to score in double figures with 11 as the team managed to connect on just 21-63 field goal attempts (33.3 percent) and 3-18 threes (16.7 percent).



See more at: http://www.middlebury.edu/athletics/sports/mensbasketball/archive/2013-2014/news/node/469650#sthash.ATYjtzom.dpuf



Women’s Hoop: Middlebury Season Ends in Loss at Amherst

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

AMHERST, Mass. – The Middlebury women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 79-41 loss at 10th-ranked Amherst on Sunday afternoon. The Jeffs improved to 22-2 overall and 9-1 in the league, while Middlebury concludes its season at 7-17 and 1-9 in conference action.

The hosts shot an efficient 51.5 percent from the field (17-33) including a 50.0 percent (5-10) clip from long distance in the first half. Amherst held the Panthers without a field goal for a stretch of 8:27 in the opening period and outscored the visitors 19-6 during that span.

Trailing 4-3 early on, the Jeffs reeled off a 17-3 run over seven-plus minutes and went up by a score of 20-7 on a Jaimie Renner three-pointer. Middlebury’s Sarah Marcus momentarily stemmed the tide with a lay-up at 9:28, but the Panthers wouldn’t net another field goal until the final minute of the half.

Beginning with an Ali Doswell trey on the Jeffs’ next possession, the Purple & White rattled off 19 unanswered over 5:18, building a 30-point margin on a Rachel Boyette bucket. Scarlett Kirk ended the Panther dry spell with four-straight free throws inside of the 2:30 mark before Laura Lowry drove the lane and ended the field goal drought with 1:01 on the clock.

Down 28 at the half, Elizabeth Knox scored the first points of the second for Middlebury on a jumper at 18:28. The Jeffs responded with 17-7 run over the next 6:20, going up 60-24 on a Marley Giddins lay-up. Less than a minute later, Kirk connected down low, but the Jeffs came right back with an 8-1 spurt and built a comfortable 41-point cushion on a pair of Boyette free throws at 9:07.

Doswell led all scorers with 20 points on 7-12 shooting. Doswell was 4-8 in three-pointers and added seven rebounds and four assists. Giddins and Haley Zwecker each finished with 11 points, with the duo combining for 10 rebounds.

Converting 30 of its 58 attempts from the floor (51.7 percent), the Jeffs held Middlebury to just 14-48 shooting (29.2 percent), including a 2-9 (22.2 percent) showing from behind the arc. Kirk paced the Panthers with 12 points and seven boards, while Lowry was the only other Middlebury player to score in double digits with 10. Knox added seven points and four boards, while Rachel Crews chipped in with six points and four rebounds.

For the game, Amherst held a 41-31 rebounding edge and 40-20 advantage in points in the paint.

Box Score: http://www.nescac.com/sports/wbkb/2013-14/boxscores/20140216_3j4h.xml

“I Can’t Believe They Bleepin’ Did It” … and Other Thoughts

George Commo’s Blog – Sunday 2-16-14

“I can’t believe they bleepin’ did it” …. that somewhat colorful comment from their play by play voice … you know the guy, he often writes in this space … describes it about as well as anything can. The Norwich University men’s hockey team won their 16th consecutive ECAC East regular season championship over the weekend. Norwich went into the final two games of the season trailing first place Babson by three points. They needed to beat the Beavers head to head on Friday night … beat UMass-Boston on Saturday … AND get some help from their travel partners, the St. Michael’s Purple Knights. Well all three elements happened. Norwich played a near perfect game in beating Babson and their goaltender Jamie Murray on Friday night 1-0 in a classic . Then on Saturday they came out a little tired and flat, fell behind 2-0 to UMB, but rallied to win 5-3 … learning in the third period that St. Mike’s had scored late in the third at Cairns Arena and had tied Babson. And there it was … just like they drawn it up on the board. Technically Norwich shares the title with Babson … both teams finish with 28 points … but the Cadets beat Babson twice … 1-0 at Fenway Park …. 1-0 at Kreitzberg…. so they get the top seed in the upcoming playoffs. Those playoffs will be a new challenge. This year unlike any time before in the 16 year run, the league is really balanced. There will be upsets in the playoffs, and Norwich will need to be fully aware of that going in. But what this very young Norwich team … a speedy and skilled club but also one not filled with the natural goal scorers they have often had in the past … was able to accomplish this weekend, was really amazing.

Oh, and they owe a big thank you to St. Mike’s! After a horrible start the Purple Knights ended the regular season 5-3-2 over their last ten games and gave Norwich they point they needed yesterday. It will be fun to see what the Knights can do in Northeast-10 tournament.

Other thoughts…

… I hope UVM Hockey fans are not burying the Catamounts after getting swept by BC over the last two nights … Hey no one else has beaten BC since November either…. meanwhile congrats to Jim Plumer and the Vermont women for securing their first ever home Hockey East playoff game with their win yesterday over UNH.

… Another blowout win for the Hoop Cats yesterday at Patrick Gym … this is an exciting club and they are packing them in at Patrick Gym and deservedly so … but I still think it is too bad some of those hoop fans haven’t found their way over to the Ross Sports Center where the St. Michael’s men are now 17-6 after rallying from 13 down yesterday to win against always tough Bentley.

… And while I was as excited as any American hockey fan watching T.J. Oshie go off for all those shootout goals in Team U-S-A’s win over Russia yesterday in Sochi, I’ve got to say I don’t like the idea of you being able to use the same shooter over and over AND over in a shootout. But I’ll still take the win.