Men’s Hockey: Four Goal First Period Pushes Cats Past Dartmouth

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Senior Mario Puskarich and freshman Ross Colton each scored a pair of goals on Tuesday night as Vermont registered its 50th all-time win over former ECAC rival Dartmouth with a 5-2 victory at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

UVM improved to 6-3-1 (2-2-0 HEA) on the year with its second straight win and moved to 7-1-1 in its last nine games against the Big Green, who fell to 2-2-2 (1-1-2 ECAC). 10 different Catamounts registered points in the non-conference victory.

Vermont returned to Gutterson after a four-game road swing and stormed out to a 4-0 lead just 12 minutes into the opening period. The Catamounts were backed by freshman netminder Stefanos Lekkas, who stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced to push his record to 5-1-1.

UVM drew a penalty 45 seconds into the game and took the lead at the 1:01 mark. Chris Muscobyreceived a pass at the top of the left circle from classmate Brendan Bradley and fired a slap shot off the glove of Dartmouth goaltender Devin Buffalo. The first shot of the game for the Cats turned into Muscoby’s first goal of the year, and the trailing assist was credited to Rob Darrar.

Vermont doubled its lead exactly three minutes into the contest when Colton powered into the zone on a partial breakaway from the right side. Colton deked to the left edge of the crease and slipped the puck under Buffalo’s right pad at the post. Colton was hooked on the play and Tom Forgione tallied the lone assist.

Puskarich tallied the next two goals for the Catamounts midway through the period just two minutes apart. Puskarich’s first came off a loose puck at the right post after Corey Moriarty fed the puck across the low slot for his second collegiate point. Vermont drew a penalty for the second time on a goal scoring play, and Dartmouth used its timeout to switch goalies from Buffalo to rookie Adrian Clark. Puskarich struck again shortly after on a 4-on-3 power play, pouncing on a rebound from the top of the crease.

“We played fantastic in the first period. I loved the fact that we came out with an edge both offensively and defensively and jumped out to a lead like that,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon.

Vermont killed off three consecutive penalties at the end of the first period and into the second. Dartmouth eventually cut into the Vermont lead at 1:48 of the middle frame when sophomore forward Alex Jasiek roofed a backhand off a feed from linemate John Ernsting at the right post. Grant Opperman picked up the secondary assist on the play.

Dartmouth cut the original UVM lead in half at 8:12 of the final period. Will Graber eventually knocked in the puck after a flurry near the right edge of Lekkas’ crease with Charley Michalowski and Shane Sellar collecting assists on the play.

Vermont answered just 37 seconds later to kill Dartmouth’s momentum and restore the three-goal cushion. Freshman Matt Alvaro dished a backhand pass across the low slow to his classmate Colton, who finished low for his second goal and third point of the game. Senior Brady Shawposted an assist on the game’s final tally.

“It was definitely a huge goal,” said Colton, who notched his first career multi-goal and multi-point games, added an assist, and posted a career-high seven shots on goal. “Give credit to Dartmouth, they never let up. When they got that second one, we’ve got to respond and Matt made a great pass to me and it changed momentum.”

Dartmouth pulled Clark with 4:25 remaining for an extra attacker, but Vermont kept the Big Green at bay and killed off 6-on-4 power play to finish the night 9-for-9 on the penalty kill. The Catamounts are now 14-for-14 on the kill over their last two games.

UVM hosts Maine in a two-game Hockey East series on Friday (Nov. 18) at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday (Nov. 19) at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at or by calling 802-656-4410.

The Saturday game is Military Appreciation Night with a special $10 group rate on general admission tickets for military members and their families. The team will be wearing special camouflage jerseys which are currently being auctioned off at Saturday is also Poster Day Presented by UPS Store South Burlington as the team will sign autographs immediately following the game.

Live HD video of the series is available for free via, and pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday live on WVMT 620-AM. Free audio is also available via Catamounts All-Access with Alastair Ingram on the call.