Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
HANOVER, N.H. – Stefanos Lekkas stopped 43 shots, the sixth time he has recorded 40 or more saves, as the Vermont Catamounts scored a pair of shorthanded goals to take a 5-3 win over the Dartmouth Big Green Saturday night at Thompson Arena.
“We got bodies to the net, we shot from off-angles, we shot first and created really good buzz,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “The two guys returning gave us a ton of energy, not only just by them. We played with a lot of confidence both ways and Stef was tested a lot. Dartmouth played a really good game.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Vermont’s reunited top line of Matt Alvaro, Liam Coughlin, and Alex Esposito combined for five points. Alvaro scored his first goal of the season at 14:30 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Christian Evers and Coughlin assisted on the goal.
Craig Puffer gave Vermont its first lead of the game at 18:20 of the first as he fired a five-hole shot past Dartmouth goalie Adrian Clark (24 saves). Max Kaufman and Cory Thomas picked up assists on the play.
Dartmouth tied the game at 2-2 early in the second period as Drew O’Connor scored his second of the night and fourth of the season.
Esposito found the back of the net at 6:17 of the second period and was assisted by Alvaro and Coughlin. The top line went tic-tac-toe to Esposito in the slot, who buried the puck past Clark.
Joey Cipollone netted Vermont’s first short-handed goal of the season at 7:58 of the second period to make it 4-2 Catamounts. The freshman blazed down the right side of the ice before roofing a puck over Clark’s right shoulder.
Kaufman picked up his second assist of the night early in the third period as he set teammate Jake Massie up for an easy rebound goal for UVM’s second short-handed goal of the night.
Lekkas made several key saves to preserve Catamount leads at several points of the game. The junior recorded 43 saves, marking the sixth career game he has recorded 40 or more saves. The Catamounts in front of Lekkas blocked 16 shots.
In a meeting of top-10 faceoff teams in the country, Dartmouth held a slight 33-31 edge.
Vermont has now won six straight games against the Big Green and hold a 10-3-1 overall record against Dartmouth since moving to Hockey East prior to the 2005-06 season.
Vermont set a new season-high as 10 players put their name on the scoresheet. A previous high of eight Catamounts was set in the season-opening win over Michigan.
Lekkas became just the seventh Catamount goalie in program history to record 2,200 career saves. The junior now has 2,232 stops.
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 105 wins and $10,500.
The Catamounts host the Black Bears of Maine for a pair of Hockey East games next weekend at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Cats and Bears will meet at 7:05 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 30) before Vermont’s annual Skate with the Cats and Teddy Bear Toss game.