Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Spencer Foo registered the game-winning goal three minutes into overtime as Union came back from 2-0 down to beat visiting Vermont 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Messa Rink to close the first half of the season.
The Catamounts dropped to 5-12-2 (3-5-2 HEA), while the Dutchmen improved to 7-6-4 (2-5-1 ECAC) and extended their unbeaten streak to five in a row.
Packy Munson finished the contest with a career-high 32 saves in his third collegiate start, while Conor O’Neil and Brendan Bradley scored goals.
“It was a very good hockey game, a good tilt with a lot of back-and-forth,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon, who coached Union for five seasons from 1998-2003. “Both goalies were excellent. They had a lot of scoring chances and Packy was great, but so did we. Packy was arguably our best player for the last three games.”
Vermont opened the scoring less than three minutes in as Craig Puffer played Brady Shaw into the Union zone along the right wing. Shaw slid a feed to O’Neil drifting down the slot, and the rookie wristed the puck low blocker side on Alex Sakellaropoulos (34 saves) for an early 1-0 cushion.
UVM killed off the only Union power play in the first period and Munson stopped all 12 shots he faced, including a pair of glove saves on a scramble in front.
The Catamounts carried their first man advantage into the middle frame and Bradley doubled the lead just seconds after the power play expired. Liam Coughlin sent a quick pass to the top of the crease and Bradley one-timed a shot inside the right post. Mario Puskarich posted his team-best 16th point with the secondary assist.
Roughly 30 seconds later, Vermont was called for a pair of simultaneous minor penalties but killed off two full minutes of 5-on-3 without allowing a single shot on goal. Bradley nearly added his second of the period shorthanded but couldn’t tuck a backhand inside the right post.
Union’s checking line got the Dutchmen on the board near the midway point of the contest as it worked the puck to the edge of the crease. Munson initially made an acrobatic pad stop, but Tyler Hynes touched a feed to Ryan Walker for his first collegiate tally to cut UVM’s lead to one.
Vermont was forced to kill another penalty at 13:10, and Union needed just 10 seconds to knot the score. Foo took a whack at a Brett Supinksi stuff attempt and the puck found the stick of Ryan Scarfo, who roofed a shot off the crossbar to bring the Dutchmen level.
The Cats out-shot the hosts 18-8 and carried the play in the third period but couldn’t net the game-winner on their three power play opportunities. Chris Muscoby fired several attempts on net from the point with the extra man and finished with a career-high six shots on goal.
Jarrid Privitera nearly won the game two minutes into overtime off a Kevin Irwin rush, but Sakellaropoulos made a left pad save on the sophomore’s point-blank chance.
Foo gave Union its second straight overtime victory as he skated into the right side of the UVM zone a minute later on a 2-on-1. Foo toe-dragged away from a sliding Vermont defenseman and fired a wrist shot into the roof of the net with 2:06 remaining on the clock.
Vermont returns to Gutterson Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Dec. 29 and Wednesday, Dec. 30 to host Lake Superior State, Colgate, and Brown in the annual Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup. UVM faces Lake Superior State on Dec. 29 followed by Colgate on Dec. 30 with both contests beginning at 7:05 p.m. Brown will play the early game each day at 4 p.m.
All four games will be streamed live for free at CatamounTV.com, and radio coverage for the UVM action begins at 6:30 p.m. each night on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com. Reserved and general admission tickets remain for both days of the tournament online at UVMathletics.com/Tickets or by calling 802-656-4410.
Fans are encouraged to stop by local TD Bank locations to enter the Vermont Catamount VIP Sweepstakes. Winners will receive a VIP experience for four (4) at either Catamount Cup game along with a Vermont hockey jersey and prize pack. The sweepstakes close on Tuesday, Dec. 22 so be sure to visit a TD Bank location to sign up.
Vermont will also host the 12th Annual Teddy Bear Toss sponsored by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company on Dec. 30 against Colgate. Fans are asked to bring a bear to toss onto the ice during the second intermission. All bears will be donated to patients at local health centers by members of the Vermont men’s and women’s hockey teams this winter.