Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – Conor O’Neil‘s first goal of the season tied the game midway through the third period as the Catamounts skated to a 2-2 tie against the Brown Bears on Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Rookie Tyler Harmon made 25 saves in his first career start for Vermont.
The Catamounts move to 4-10-3 (1-6-2 HEA) on the year heading into a three-week break, while Brown pushes its record to 5-7-1 (4-6-0 ECAC).
Brown jumped out to an early lead at 3:20 of the first period on a goal by Joachim Weberg. Linemate Trey Dodd entered the Catamounts’ zone and placed a shot off the right pad of Harmon, who punched out a rebound to a waiting Weberg. The Bears’ forward kicked the puck from his skate to his stick before finding the back of the net. The play was reviewed and video confirmed the opening goal.
Bryce Misley nearly converted the equalizer on a breakaway attempt three minutes later. Trey Phillips sprung the freshman forward, who sprinted past the Bears’ defense, but Luke Kania (34 saves) halted the rookie’s one-handed attempt.
Vermont provided the majority of the offense in the second period, outshooting the Bears 16-6, but headed into intermission still down a goal.
The Catamounts found the board with 8:40 left in the frame on Alex Esposito‘s fourth goal of the season. With time expiring on the power play, Liam Coughlin entered the Brown zone and dropped a pass to Esposito, who neared the net before firing a wrist shot high short side past Kania. Jake Massie was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.
Tim Lappin restored the lead for the Bears just 2:42 later shortly after a Brown power play expired. Charlie Corcoran forced a turnover in the Vermont zone and dished a pass to Lappin, who tipped the pack through his skates for a backhander which beat Harmon low.
Just past the midway point of the third period, O’Neil buried his first goal of the season to tie the game once again. Ace Cowans assisted on the score as he snapped a low-angle shot on goal that left a rebound for O’Neil to clean up at the left doorstep.
Vermont out-shot the Bears 4-1 in overtime, but Brown nearly scored with 4.6 seconds left. Nolan Aibel converted a rebound after a left wing drive from Josh McArdle, but the goal was overturned after a video review as the puck went off Aibel’s hand.
The Catamounts return from break on Friday, Dec. 29 to face St. Lawrence at Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7:05 p.m. for the opening night of the TD Bank Catamount Cup. UVM then faces Harvard on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7:05 p.m. to close the tournament.