Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
HARTFORD, Ct. – The Catamounts scored four unanswered goals against the UConn Huskies on Saturday afternoon, storming back from 2-0 down for a 4-2 Hockey East victory at the XL Center.
UVM earned a split in the weekend series and improved to 3-5-1 (1-1-1 HEA), while UConn fell to 3-6-1 (2-3-1 HEA).
“We competed our tails off. Everything was better than Friday, we did a lot of amazing things,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “We need to consistently compete and battle every night. As coaches, we can plan strategy and make adjustments but really the guys in the locker room need to take ownership and bring that competitive level.”
The Catamounts pushed the pace early, outshooting UConn 8-3 over the midway point of the first period. With 4:24 left in the opening frame, Miles Gendron opened the scoring for the Huskies on a wrist shot from the high slot. Justin Howell carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped a pass to Gendron, who beat Stefanos Lekkas (31 saves) blocker side to the far post.
Vermont closed out the first period with several scoring chances on the power play, but entered the first intermission down 1-0.
After killing off the penalty in the beginning of the second period, the Huskies established control of the puck and broke through the neutral zone on a 2-on-1. Entering the Catamounts’ zone, Benjamin Freeman faked a shot and slipped a pass under a Vermont defender’s stick to Maxim Letunov, who one-timed the puck past a sprawling Lekkas a minute into the period.
At 1:38 of the second, the Cats were forced to kill off a 5-minute major penalty as Craig Puffer was ejected for hitting from behind. On the penalty kill, Ross Colton broke into the UConn zone on a breakaway but was hauled down by a Huskies’ defender, resulting in a penalty shot. Colton came in on goal and out-waited Adam Huska (21 saves) before wiring a snap shot blocker side past the UConn goaltender with 15:59 left in the middle frame. The penalty shot was Vermont’s first since Feb. 21, 2014 at Merrimack.
Jarrid Privitera struck 12 minutes later to tie the game with his first goal of the season. Max Kaufman directed an outlet pass to rookie Ace Cowans, who carried the puck down the wing and below the goal line against several UConn defenders. Cowans delivered a centering pass to a streaking Privitera in the slot where the senior one-timed a shot to knot the score 2-2.
Before time expired in the second period, Vermont earned its second power play of the night. With the last seconds ticking down on the man advantage, Matt Alvaro cleaned up a rebound to give the Catamounts’ their first lead of the weekend with 51 seconds left in the middle frame. Privitera and Owen Grant were credited with assists on the go-ahead goal.
The Huskies attempted to tie the game on the power play in the third period when Freeman was sprung into the Vermont zone on a breakaway. Freeman snapped off a low shot in an attempt to fool Lekkas, but the sophomore netminder closed his pads to deny the scoring chance.
Anthony Petruzzelli registered his first goal of the season with 6:48 left in regulation by deflecting a shot from Derek Lodermeier to provide the insurance tally.
The UVM penalty kill was 4-for-4 on the night and closed the series 6-for-6, moving up over 90 percent for the season to rank sixth nationally.
Vermont returns home on Friday (Nov. 10) and Saturday (Nov. 11) as it faces Boston College for the first time since last year’s Hockey East Quarterfinals. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. both nights at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Friday is Xfinity Night as all fans in attendance will receive free thunder sticks, and Saturday is Military Appreciation Night Presented by Milton Cat. The team will wear special camouflage jerseys that will be auctioned off at UVMathletics.com/Auctions.