Men’s Hockey: Catamounts Drop Tournament Opener to SLU, 3-2

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON The Vermont Catamounts out-shot former ECAC rival St. Lawrence 38-23, but fell short in their first game of the TD Bank Catamount Cup by a 3-2 final on Friday night at sold out Gutterson Fieldhouse.

With the win, the Saints advanced to 2-14-1 (0-7-1 ECAC) and snapped a six-game losing streak, while Vermont fell to 4-11-3 (1-6-2 HEA). The teams were meeting for the 95th time in the all-time series as SLU registered just its second victory in the last nine meetings.

The Catamounts opened the scoring at 8:24 of the first period on Alex Esposito‘s fifth goal of the season. Bryce Misley set up at the top of the circle on the power play and dished a pass to Liam Coughlin to the right of the net. The junior forward one-touched a pass to Esposito in the slot where he rifled the puck through the five-hole of Daniel Mannella (36 saves).

Jarrid Privitera added to the lead six minutes later when he deflected a left point shot from Rob Darrar past the sophomore goaltender.

The Saints cut the lead in half a minute later on the power play following Philip Alftberg’s first collegiate goal. The freshman forward buried a rebound past Stefanos Lekkas (20 saves) after following up a blocked shot from Jake Stevens.

Both teams exchanged chances in the second period with St. Lawrence out-shooting the Catamounts by a slim 10-9 margin.

The Saints thought they had tied the score at the midway point of the game on a goal by Carson Gicewicz, but it was disallowed after video review due to illegal contact with the goaltender in the crease.

Jacob Pritchard eventually knotted the game with 1:08 left in the period when he sent a pass through the slot that ricocheted off a Vermont defender into the back of the net.

15 seconds later, Coughlin buried a low rebound on the power play, but it was waved off after review based on the same ruling. UVM closed the second period with a 2-on-0 from Max Kaufmanand Ross Colton, but Mannella denied Colton’s backhand at the right post with a sprawling pad save in the final seconds.

St. Lawrence took its first lead with 7:33 left in regulation on a goal by Mike Marnell. Linemate Joe Sullivan received a pass from Ben Finkelstein and circled around the Catamounts’ goal before finding Marnell drifting down the slot for a one-timer which beat Lekkas high glove side.

Vermont called its timeout with 1:45 remaining in regulation before pulling Lekkas for an extra skater. Mannella made several low left pad saves down the stretch, and the Catamounts could not convert the rebounds to force overtime.

UVM closes the TD Bank Catamount Cup on Saturday (Dec. 30) with a 7:05 p.m. faceoff against Harvard, which fell to UMass Lowell 5-2 in the opening game on Friday. UMass Lowell and St. Lawrence will square off at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the early game. Tournament tickets are available by logging on to

Pre-game radio coverage on WVMT 620-AM and begins at 6:30 p.m. with Alastair Ingram and Tom Child ’04 on the call. Free video and live stats are available via for both games on Saturday.