Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – Thomas DiPauli tipped a power play point shot inside the right post with eight minutes remaining in the third period to lift 10th-ranked Notre Dame past Vermont 2-1 on Friday night in a tight Hockey East contest at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The Catamounts fell to 11-15-2 (5-8-2 HEA) with just their third loss in the last nine games, while the Fighting Irish improved to 15-5-7 (11-2-2 HEA) and moved into a tie for second place in the league.
“I thought we played outstanding tonight, I really did,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We executed our game plan well and we had a number of opportunities to take the lead there in the third, especially early on, and Cal Peterson made some pretty big saves on clear chances for us.”
Vermont’s penalty kill was the story of the first period, killing off a 2-minute minor followed by roughly four and a half minutes of a 5-minute major penalty on Liam Coughlin.
The Catamounts limited Notre Dame to one shot on goal during the major, and nearly scored shorthanded through Brendan Bradley. The junior came in alone on Cal Peterson and almost snuck a backhander underneath his pads before the Irish cleared the crease.
Within a minute, the Cats had the lead in the second period as Craig Puffer gained the Notre Dame line on a 3-on-2 rush. The rookie fed Mario Puskarich at the top of the right circle, and the junior’s heavy snap shot deflected glove side to beat Peterson and open the scoring.
Puskarich extended his season-high point streak to seven consecutive games with his eighth goal of the year, while Bradley picked up the secondary assist to push his point streak to six in a row.
The Fighting Irish answered 59 seconds later when DiPauli played Steven Fogarty into the right side of the UVM zone. The Notre Dame captain used a defenseman as a screen and rifled a precise shot into the upper right corner to knot the score.
Mike Lee nearly restored the lead later in the middle frame, but Fogarty deflected his shot wide with the net open at the back door. UVM successfully killed off a third Notre Dame power play, but carried 1:46 of penalty kill time into the third.
Vermont remained perfect a man down and started to gather momentum early in the final period, but a roughing penalty at 11:13 gave the Irish its fifth power play for the eventual game-winner. Jordan Gross wristed a shot on goal from the center point, and DiPauli was camped out at the edge of the crease to tip the puck glove side on Munson (28 saves).
UVM called its timeout with 1:44 remaining in regulation and pulled the goaltender for an extra skater. Brady Shaw’s low-angle shot was stopped by Peterson, who snagged the rebound away from Puskarich in the low slot. Notre Dame cleared its zone in the closing seconds and sealed the league win.
Peterson stopped 23 shots to pick up the win for the Irish, who out-shot the Catamounts (30-24) for just the 10th time this season.
The teams return to Gutterson on Saturday (Feb. 6) to close the Hockey East weekend series at 7:05 p.m. All the action will be streamed live for free at CatamounTV.com, and radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM, SportsJuice.com, and the TuneIn app.
SKATING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER
Vermont wore special pink jerseys on Friday for the Hockey East Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative, presented locally by Otter Creek Awnings and Vermont Custom Closets. The team’s game-worn jerseys are being auctioned off at UVMathletics.com/auctions with all proceeds going to the University of Vermont Cancer Center. The jersey auction ends next Monday (Feb. 8) at 12 p.m. Entering its 10th season, the Hockey East Skating Strides program has raised over $300,000 for various breast cancer charities.