Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
ORONO, Maine – Vermont stormed back from 3-0 down in the third period but the comeback fell one goal short as Maine held on for a 3-2 Hockey East victory on Friday night at Alfond Arena. The Catamounts dropped to 3-7-2 (2-3-2 HEA), while the Black Bears improved to 1-8-3 (1-4-0 HEA).
Defenseman Dan Renouf netted two goals for Maine, including the eventual game-winner in the second period. Vermont finished the night with a 41-29 edge in shots.
Mike Santaguida was sharp in the first period, stopping a number of quality chances and keeping Maine at bay for the first 16 minutes. At 16:30, Blaine Byron broke into the right side of the UVM zone and deked forehand to beat Santaguida low at the top of the crease. Steven Swavely and Renouf assisted on game’s opening goal.
The Black Bears carried a power play into the second period and doubled their lead just 21 seconds into the frame. Renouf collected an attempted clearance at the center point and fired a wrist shot through traffic inside the right post.
Renouf added his second tally seven and a half minutes later as he banged home a rebound at the left doorstep just after a power play expired. Cam Brown’s low-angle attempt was stopped by Santaguida, but Renouf snuck in from the point and finished on his second whack at the back door.
Vermont picked up its game in the second half of the middle frame, but Matt Morris (39 saves) stopped all 13 shots he faced to preserve Maine’s three-goal cushion.
The Catamounts started a furious comeback in the third period, out-shooting Maine 23-2 in the frame. The dominance finally paid off with 5:17 to play as Brady Shaw muscled the puck away from a Black Bear defenseman along the right wing boards. Shaw fired a pass to Rob Hamilton at the mid-point, and the junior’s wrister beat Morris glove side through a screen.
Exactly a minute later, Mario Puskarich threw a weak-angle shot on target from just above the left goal line, and it trickled past Morris’ right pad across the goal line. The tally was Puskarich’s fifth of the year for his team-best 12th point.
UVM continued to press for an equalizer and pulled Santaguida (26 saves) with under 90 seconds remaining. Several quality chances were answered by Morris and Maine controlled a defensive zone faceoff with 10 seconds remaining to hang on for the narrow home victory.
The Catamounts and Black Bears close their two-game series on Saturday (Nov. 21) with a 4 p.m. afternoon faceoff at Alfond Arena. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com with Alastair Ingram and Pavel Navrat ’97 on the call. Live video is also available at GoBlackBears.com.