Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
OMAHA, Neb. – Vermont rattled off five unanswered goals from five different players and rookieStefanos Lekkas stopped all 21 shots he faced off the bench as the Catamounts punctuated an unbeaten weekend with a 5-2 road victory over 20th-ranked Nebraska Omaha on Saturday night at Baxter Arena.
UVM improved to 2-1-1, while the Mavericks suffered their first loss of the season and fell to the same 2-1-1 mark. Craig Puffer had a three-point night with a goal and two assists, while Jarrid Privitera and Rob Hamilton each collected two assists in the win. Vermont’s scoring balance continued with 12 players accounting for the team’s 16 goals through four games.
Omaha opened the night with two quick goals in the first four minutes to chase starter Mike Santaguida. Mason Morelli rolled a puck under the pads of Santaguida 1:35 into the game, and Ian Brady fired a center point shot off the senior’s glove 2:25 later for a 2-0 cushion. Santaguida was replaced by Lekkas after the second tally.
Travis Blanleil grabbed one back for the Catamounts at the 12:11 mark, burying a rebound past a sprawling Kris Oldham (14 saves) after a kick save on Jake Massie. The rookie defenseman picked up his first NCAA point with the lone assist on the play.
For the second straight night, UVM completed the two-goal comeback in the second period asBrady Shaw reeled in a passing combination from Puffer and Trey Phillips. Shaw skated into the high left slot and ripped a wrist shot high blocker side to beat Oldham for his second goal of the year.
Liam Coughlin handed the Cats their first lead of the night with 2:42 left in the second period. Privitera cut into the left wing circle and dropped a pass into the slot for Coughlin, who quickly finished low before Oldham could react.
Privitera was the catalyst again early in the third period as he sprung Puffer down the middle of the ice. Puffer skated down the slot and wristed a low shot blocker side on Alex Blankenburg, who came in to replace Oldham at the start of the third.
Lekkas followed with a key shorthanded stop to keep the lead at two. Tom Forgione capped the scoring with six minutes remaining, taking a feed in stride from Hamilton and slipping a forehand shot five-hole on Blankenberg.
10 different players had at least one point in the UVM victory, while Lekkas posted his first career win without allowing a goal.
The Catamounts return home next Friday (Oct. 28) to host the Michigan Wolverines for the first time ever at Gutterson Fieldhouse. UVM then travels to Boston for the Hockey East opener against reigning league champion Northeastern at Matthews Arena on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m.