Men’s Hockey: Catamounts Edge Union 3-2

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. –  Max Kaufman scored his first career goal late in the second period, giving the Catamounts the lead for good in a 3-2 non-conference road win against Union College at Messa Rink on Sunday afternoon.

UVM evened its record at 2-2-0 (0-0-0 HEA), while the Dutchmen remained winless at 0-5-0 (0-0-0 ECAC). Stefanos Lekkas stopped 31 shots for the win in net for Vermont, which also received goals from Craig Puffer and Matt O’Donnell on the night.

“We played fast, we were relentless, and we were a lot tougher in the defensive zone,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon, who was the head coach at Union for five seasons from 1998-2003. “We didn’t have a great night (Saturday) and we wanted to get a couple of other guys in there and they played pretty well for the most part. These guys needed to learn to play 60 minutes and tonight they did.”

For the fourth straight game, UVM struck with the game’s first goal. Just past the midway point of the first period, Alex Esposito threw a shot on goal from the left doorstep seconds after a Catamount power play had expired. Jake Kupsky (18 saves) made the initial save, but Puffer was waiting at the back post to convert the rebound for his second goal in as many games.

Ryan Scarfo answered on a Union power play with less than 90 seconds left in the opening frame. John Kosack found Scarfo at the right edge of the crease for an easy tap-in past Lekkas to equalize and the teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Kaufman’s go-ahead goal came after several opportunities in the offensive zone. The rookie collected the puck near the right goal line and curled above the faceoff dot before wristing a shot glove side through traffic. Fellow freshmen Brian Kelly and Ace Cowans each collected their first career points with the assists.

O’Donnell doubled the lead at the halfway mark of the third, drilling a right circle slap shot low blocker side past Kupsky after a poor line change for Union. O’Donnell’s first of the season was assisted by Corey Moriarty and Puffer at 9:56.

The Dutchmen pulled Kupsky for an extra skater with less than 90 seconds left in regulation during a 4-on-4 situation. Brett Supinski buried a rebound with 12 seconds remaining to cut Vermont’s advantage to 3-2, but the Catamounts cleared the ensuing faceoff to secure the win.

UVM travels to Ann Arbor next weekend for a two-game series against Michigan at Yost Arena. Game times are set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 20) and 5 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 21).