Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BOSTON, MA. – Alex Esposito‘s first collegiate goal gave the Catamounts a 1-0 lead through two periods, but 12th-ranked Northeastern clawed back with a two-goal third period to win the Hockey East matchup 2-1 on Friday night at Matthews Arena.
With the victory, the Huskies improve to 7-3-1 (5-1-0 HEA) on the season, while UVM drops to 3-8-1 (1-4-1 HEA).
The conference foes skated to a scoreless first period with the Huskies holding a 14-5 shot advantage. Stefanos Lekkas (25 saves) kept the Catamounts in the game with a series of timely saves against quality scoring chances for Northeastern.
Esposito’s goal opened the scoring for Vermont at 1:14 of the second period. The freshman forward entered the Huskies’ zone and fired a wrist shot wide, and Derek Lodermeier slapped a rebound off the boards towards Cayden Primeau (20 saves). Collecting the rebound, Esposito shifted the puck to his backhand before lifting a close-range effort over the rookie goaltender. Trey Phillips also assisted on the opening marker.
The Huskies attempted to tie the game up on a power play in the final minutes of the middle frame. A slap shot by defender Jeremy Davies rang off the post to give Northeastern its best chance of the period, but timely shot blocks by the Catamounts’ penalty kill (3-for-3 on the night) were key in preserving the one-goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Northeastern almost found the equalizer with 15:33 left in the third period. Possessing the puck at the top of the Catamounts’ zone, Garret Cockerill fired a shot that deflected off the crossbar and down towards the goal line. The Huskies celebrated, but play continued as it was ruled no goal on the ice by the officials. The call on the ice was later confirmed by video review.
Later in the period, Esposito approached the Huskies’ goal on a shorthanded breakaway after an NU defensemen lost an edge. Esposito faked a shot before slipping the puck to his backhand, but Primeau stretched across the crease with his right pad and kicked away the scoring chance.
Matt Filipe finally tied the game for Northeastern with 8:10 left in regulation on a deflection from a slap shot by Ryan Shea that slipped under the pads of Lekkas. Eric Williams was credited with the secondary assist.
The Huskies captured their first and only lead with 2:12 left on a rush from Davies. Dylan Sikura sent a cross-ice pass to Davies who sprinted into the right side of zone before quickly snapping a shot off the far post for the game-winning goal.
UVM pulled Lekkas with 1:53 left in the third for an extra skater, but its best 6-on-5 chance from Ross Colton from the left circle was stopped by Primeau.
Vermont returns home on Tuesday night (Nov. 21) to face the UConn Huskies at Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by logging on to UVMathletics.com/Tickets or by calling 802-656-4410.