Men’s Hockey: Catamounts Drop Exhibition to Acadia 2-1

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – The Vermont men’s hockey team dropped an exhibition game to Acadia 2-1 on Sunday afternoon to open the 2015-16 season. Mario Puskarich scored the Catamounts’ only goal, but Robert Steeves registered 35 saves to preserve the one-goal victory for the Axemen.

Puskarich hit the post less than a minute into the game, but Acadia struck first at 4:38 on a transition rush. Kyle Farrell fed Remy Giftopoulos with a pass along the left wing in the Vermont zone, and Giftopoulos deked left to right and snuck a backhand underneath Mike Santaguida to open the scoring.

Acadia killed off three straight UVM power plays to close the first period and retained a 1-0 lead at intermission.

Puskarich tied the game less than five minutes into the middle frame after simultaneous Acadia penalties, one of which was a five-minute major and game misconduct on Tyler Ferry. On the ensuing 5-on-3, Alexx Privitera set up Puskarich in the slot and the junior beat Steeves low blocker side with a wrist shot through traffic.

Brady Shaw nearly gave the Catamounts their first lead later in the major power play but hit the right post on a low angle shot. UVM out-shot the Axemen 15-4 in the second period and killed off three minutes of major power play time after a game misconduct was handed to Dan Senkbeil.

5:15 into the third, Michael Clarke hit Giftopoulos down the middle of the ice with a stretch pass into the Catamount zone. The forward used a similar move to his first goal and deked a backhander past Santaguida to restore the lead for Acadia.

Later in the period, Steeves robbed Yvan Pattyn at the right doorstep by stacking his pads on a first-time effort. Steeves also made a key stop on Chris Muscoby during a 4-on-3 power play late in regulation.

Santaguida finished the contest with 13 saves, while Packy Munson stopped one shot in eight minutes of action in the third period.

UVM closed the game with a 36-16 shot advantage, including a 25-9 edge in the final 40 minutes. The Catamounts were 1-for-7 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Vermont opens the regular season next Saturday (Oct. 10) against Minnesota at Mariucci Arena in the Hall of Fame Game at 8 p.m. (ET). The game will be televised live on Fox Sports North Plus, and pre-game radio coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on WVMT 620-AM and with Alastair Ingram on the call from Minneapolis.

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