Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – The 13th-ranked Catamounts scored a total of four power play goals and used a five-goal outburst in the second period to blow out Bentley 7-1 on Friday night in the first-ever meeting between the schools at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Five different players posted multi-point games for Vermont, led by Rob Darrar and Brendan Bradley with four points apiece. Darrar registered his second multi-goal game of the season andBrady Shaw added three points with a goal and two assists.
UVM snapped a three-game losing skid and improved to 11-6-2 (5-3-1 HEA), while Bentley dropped to 4-9-4 (3-6-3 AHA). The Catamounts set new season-highs for goals, goals in a single period, and shots on goal as they fired 55 on the Falcons net.
“Our power play kind of fueled us tonight. We did a good job of moving pucks, getting shots through when we had opportunities and obviously finishing our chances,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “That gave us a lot of energy.”
Vermont struck first on its second power play chance of the first period. Bradley pushed a puck to the low right side of the zone for Shaw, who fed a pass back between the circles for Darrar. The junior settled and sniped a shot into the upper right corner, beating Jayson Argue glove side for his sixth of the year.
Stefanos Lekkas (16 saves) made a critical save two minutes later when a defensive miscue gave Andrew McDonald a one-time slapshot from the right dot. Lekkas stopped the puck with his right pad and the UVM defense was able to clear the zone. Lekkas also came up big for the Cats in the waning minutes of the period when Kyle Schmidt and Max French broke in for two shots on a rush.
Five different Catamounts netted goals in the middle frame to put the game out of reach. Vermont doubled its lead on the next power play chance when freshman Ross Colton received a pass from Darrar on the right wing and fired a shot into the far corner. Jarrid Privitera picked up the trailing assist on the play.
At 12:38 of the second, Shaw collected the puck near the crease and deked around the net. Shaw slid a pass to Bradley in the low slot and the senior snuck his shot inside the left post. Shaw recorded a goal of his own two minutes later with Matt O’Donnell picking up the primary assist as Shaw roofed a rebound from the left edge of the crease. Vermont cashed in on four of its first six power play chances of the night.
Mario Puskarich brought his career point point total one shy of 100 on a goal from the right side off a Privitera pass at 15:50. Travis Blanleil capped the barrage with a backhander from the right circle as UVM carried a commanding 6-0 lead into the third after an 18-4 shot advantage in the period.
Darrar wasted no time in the third to add his second of the night, pushing the lead to seven after just 23 seconds on a play which resulted in Bradley’s third and O’Donnell’s second assist of the night.
Bentley finally got on the board at 6:26 of the final period as Jake Kauppila fired a backhand shot inside the left post off a feed from Mike Berry.
Vermont brought in senior goalie Pat Feeley to relieve Lekkas with 6:34 to play for his first collegiate home appearance. Feeley backed the Catamount defense for the remainder of the game with six saves, preserving the 10th win of the season for Lekkas.
The teams return to Gutterson on Saturday (Dec. 31) for a 4 p.m. faceoff (originally scheduled for 3 p.m.) on New Year’s Eve in the final game of 2016. Live video is available for free in high definition via CatamounTV.com. with Alastair Ingram on the call.
Fans who attend the women’s hockey game against Yale at 12 p.m. can purchase a ticket to the New Year’s Eve men’s game for only $10. Please be aware that First Night parking is also located at UVM so parking lots may become full quicker than normal. Shuttle parking will be available if the Gutterson garage is full.