Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Catamounts broke a scoreless deadlock with a pair of goals in the second period and cruised to a 4-1 win over the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers in game two of the Catamount Cup, presented by TD Bank and Delta Hotels by Marriott.
Vermont improves to 6-8-1 overall (1-6-1 HEA) with the victory while Alabama-Huntsville drops to 3-16-0 overall (3-9-0 WCHA).
“We had a shooter’s mentality tonight, quite a few posts and crossbars and things like that,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “It was nice to see some goals go in in the second period. That one play Puffer made to Cowans, kind of a behind-the-back pass to the back door was pretty special.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Catamounts rang iron twice during a two-minute 4-on-4 stretch midway through a scoreless first period. Derek Lodermeier pinged a shot off the crossbar at 8:03 of the first period before Bryce Misley’s shot deflected off the post and out of play at 9:44 of the period.
After a Charger turnover caused by Lodermeier in the slot, Joey Cipollone netted his team-leading sixth goal of the season at 3:41 of the second period to give Vermont a 1-0 lead. Max Kaufman found the loose puck and moved it to Cipollone in the slot for the goal.
Sophomore Ace Cowans doubled the Catamount lead in the final minutes of the second period. Craig Puffer found Cowans on the backdoor with a behind-the-back backhand pass across the slot to the sophomore.
Vlad Dzhioshvili tallied his third goal of the season at 6:35 of the final frame. The Moscow, Russia native carried the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone before an unassuming shot trickled through Sinclair for the unassisted goal.
Stefanos Lekkas’ bid for his first shutout of the season was spoiled at 11:29 of the third period as Charger freshman Bauer Neudecker fired a shot five-hole to cut the Cat lead to 3-1.
Matt O’Donnell tucked home an empty net goal with 13 seconds left to send everyone in attendance home with free French fries, courtesy of Archie’s Grill.
Lekkas finished the night with a modest 15 saves and now has 2,372 saves in his Catamount career. He is just 13 saves shy of passing Sylvain Turcotte ’81 for fifth in program history.
With the victory, the Cats Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate another $100 to the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, bringing this year’s total to 117 wins and $11,700.
Vermont holds a 2-0-0 record against Alabama-Huntsville with the victory tonight. UVM also improves to 7-8-1 in games played on December 29. The Cats have not lost on the 29th since 2003.
The Northeastern Huskies scored with 39 seconds left in the overtime period to take a 3-2 win over the RPI Engineers in the early game Friday.
Alabama Huntsville and Northeastern take the ice at 4 p.m. in game three of the Catamount Cup tomorrow afternoon. RPI and Vermont will renew the former ECAC-rivalry at 7:05 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse.