Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – Vermont scored four goals in a single period for the second straight game, this time using an offensive barrage in the middle frame to pull away from Maine for a convincing 6-2 Hockey East victory on Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
UVM won its third straight game and moved to 7-3-1 (3-2-0 HEA), while the Black Bears dropped to 1-7-2 in their last 10 games and 4-7-2 (1-4-0 HEA) overall.
Rob Darrar scored a pair of goals in the second period, becoming the third Catamount in the last two games to register a multi-goal game. Ross Colton posted his second straight multi-point outing with a goal and an assist, while fellow rookie Stefanos Lekkas stopped 36 shots and improved to 6-1-1 in net on the season.
“There are certain areas we can continue to improve upon offensively but I like the way we’re scoring goals in different ways,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We did a lot of good things offensively, but there are some things we have to do better in front of our goaltender. This is nothing more than a really good win and an important two points, but as I said to our team it doesn’t matter if we don’t play well Saturday.”
Lekkas held strong in the opening period, stopping all 17 Maine shots he faced. The freshman netminder made three memorable sprawling saves seven minutes in to keep the contest scoreless. Maine’s best opportunities of the period came during a 1:32 stretch on a 5-on-3 power play. Off the initial faceoff of the kill, Brendan Bradley‘s stick broke, but Jake Massie was eventually able to create a stoppage by blocking a pass out of play. The Catamounts completed the kill and finished the night 7-for-7, pushing their consecutive penalty kill streak to 22 in a row.
After a scoreless first, UVM struck just 1:26 into the second through Colton. The rookie streaked along the far wall and created a partial break at the blue line. Colton deked twice and pushed the puck in past Rob McGovern (18 saves) on his backhand at the right post.Brady Shaw picked up the lone assist on the play.
Darrar scored the next two to push the Catamount lead to 3-0. The junior scored his fourth goal of the year off a one-time shot through traffic from the left circle at 6:38. The centering pass came from Brendan Bradley, who circled away from a Maine defenseman along the left half wall, while Matt O’Donnell picked up the trailing assist. Darrar struck again just under four minutes later as he broke past the Black Bear defense from the left side and skated in alone before ripping a shot to beat McGovern low blocker side.
Rob Hamilton finished the Catamounts’ second period success on the power play. Just six seconds into the man advantage, Hamilton fired a low slap shot from the left point and the puck deflected just inside the left post. Colton and Mario Puskarich picked up assists on the play.
Maine was able to draw a goal back with 29 seconds remaining in the second period as defenseman Rob Michel wristed a low shot inside the left post off a feed from freshman forward Mitchell Fossier.
Derek Lodermeier posted his first career goal at 6:13 of the third period. The freshman crashed the net after a Chris Muscoby point shot and batted home a loose puck that slipped over the the pad of McGovern, who was pulled after the fifth UVM tally.
The Black Bears capitalized on a net front scrum near the midway point of the third and freshman Patrick Holway slipped a rebound past Lekkas for his first career goal at 9:53. On a late 5-on-3 power play, Maine played a pass to a vacated right point and the puck trickled all the way down the ice into the Black Bears’ net for an own goal. Puskarich was credited with his fourth of the year.
Vermont and Maine close the weekend series on Saturday (Nov. 19) at 4 p.m. on Military Appreciation Day. Tickets can be purchased at UVMathletics.com/Tickets or by calling 802-656-4410. A special group rate of $10 per general admission ticket is available for military and their family members for Saturday’s game.
The Catamounts will wear special camouflage jerseys in honor of the event. The team’s game-worn camouflage jerseys are currently being auctioned off at UVMathletics.com/Auctions to benefit the Vermont Veterans Fund (VVF). The auction will close at 12 p.m. next Monday (Nov. 21) and bids start at $150 per jersey.