College Hockey: Vermont and Nebraska Omaha Battle to 4-4 Tie

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

OMAHA, Neb. – Vermont and 20th-ranked Nebraska Omaha skated to a 4-4 non-league tie on Friday night at Baxter Arena to open a two-game weekend series. The Catamounts came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to take their first lead in the third period, but Austin Ortega netted the game-tying goal for UNO with under five minutes to play.

UVM moves to 1-1-1, while the Mavericks push their record to 2-0-1.

“I’m really proud of our effort and resilience to be down two on the road in a hostile environment,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We have some things to correct but there were a lot of positives.”

Omaha scored twice in the first period, opening the scoring on the power play at 6:51 when Justin Parizek deflected a low right point shot from Ian Brady. The Mavericks doubled the lead 10 minutes later on a power play backhander from Tyler Vesel to beat a sprawling Stefanos Lekkas (32 saves), who was making his NCAA debut on Friday.

The Catamounts stormed back in the middle frame and tied the score on goals from Rob Hamilton and Jarrid Privitera. Hamilton put UVM on the board just 3:24 into the period, beating Evan Weninger (24 saves) with a low wrist shot off the left post for a power play tally. Rob Darrar and Matt O’Donnell each picked up their second assists of the season on the play.

Privitera knotted the score at 11:07 as he came out of the box following a successful Vermont penalty kill. Privitera reeled in a pass from Kevin Irwin at the offensive blue line and skated in alone before stick handling around Weninger for a forehand finish. Corey Moriarty collected the second assist for his first career point in his collegiate debut.

Hamilton was later called for a five-minute major and game misconduct, followed 51 seconds later by another interference minor. On the ensuing 5-on-3, defenseman Luc Snuggerud restored the lead for UNO with just 1:13 left in the period as he sent a low one-timer from the right slot inside the left post.

Back-to-back unassisted goals in the span of 51 seconds in the third period from linematesCraig Puffer and Conor O’Neil propelled the Catamounts into their first lead. Puffer collected a puck in the Omaha slot and ripped a shot blocker side on Weninger at 9:29 to tie the game at three. O’Neil then batted home a bouncing puck from the left doorstep at 10:20 for a power play goal and a 4-3 advantage.

Ortega provided the game’s third and final tie score as he finished a loose puck from the edge of the crease with 4:44 on the clock. UVM killed off a UNO power play in overtime and the contest finished 4-4.

Both teams scored a pair of power play goals on the night, while Nebraska Omaha won the shot battle 36-28.

The teams return to Baxter Arena on Saturday (Oct. 22) to close the series at 8 p.m. Live pay-per-view video is available via NCHC.TV and pre-game radio coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM with Alastair Ingram on the call.