Men’s Hockey: Rookie Munson Shuts Out St. Lawrence 4-0

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – Packy Munson became the first Catamount goaltender to post a shutout in his first collegiate start since Joe Fallon in 2004 as the rookie netminder led Vermont to a dominant 4-0 non-conference victory over former ECAC rival and 13th-ranked St. Lawrence on Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse in the 92nd meeting of the all-time series.

The line of Kevin Irwin, Jarrid Privitera, and Brian Bowen combined for seven points on the night, highlighted by a three-point performance from Irwin on a goal and two assists. The Catamounts improved to 5-10-2 (3-5-2 HEA) with their sixth straight win over the Saints, who dropped to 9-5-2 (4-2-1 ECAC).

“That’s certainly a tough situation to come into and he did an excellent job,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon of Munson’s performance. “Everything was kind of stacked up against these guys and they pulled together. This is a really good sign for our team that they’re starting to play more as a family than just a team. You saw it tonight, even at the end. Guys were blocking shots, making plays to get the shutout for Packy.”

Vermont blocked eight shots in the first period before Munson was forced to make his first career save at the 10:03 mark of the opening frame. Malcolm McKinney opened the scoring at 16:26, firing a puck to the goalmouth from a wide angle that deflected into the net off a St. Lawrence defenseman’s skate. Mitch Ferguson picked up the lone assist on McKinney’s first goal of the year.

The Catamounts doubled their lead with six and a half minutes left in the second period after the expiration of a 4-on-4 situation. Irwin came out of the penalty box and skated into the Saints’ zone on a 2-on-1 with Brendan Bradley before finishing a one-timer low blocker side on Arthur Brey (26 saves). Mario Puskarich added the second assist on the play at 13:39 of the second.

UVM’s cushion was pushed to three just over a minute into the third period on a tic-tac-toe play from Irwin’s line as he received a feed from Bowen in the right circle. Irwin delayed before sliding a pass acrosse the crease to the left doorstep for Privitera, who easily finished into an open net for his team-leading seventh tally of the season.

Bowen added another insurance goal at the 6:45 mark of the third for a 4-0 edge as he spun a quick shot through Brey’s five-hole from the top of the right wing circle.

Vermont convincingly killed off the only two Saint power plays of the contest later in the frame and coasted to the four-goal victory.

Munson stopped all 23 shots he faced to match the feat of Fallon, who shut out Sacred Heart 6-0 on Oct. 8, 2004 in his first-ever NCAA start. The freshman goalie was named the game’s No. 1 star, followed by Irwin and Privitera. UVM out-shot St. Lawrence 30-23.

“After a couple of minutes, I had played the puck a couple of times but I hadn’t seen a shot. My legs were shaking. I was pretty nervous,” Munson said. “You’ve played your whole life but it’s your first college game and you want to make the first save and build on it. We were playing great. I got a couple of shots here and there and I started to feel comfortable.”

The teams travel to Appleton Arena in Canton, New York tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. puck drop to close their home-and-home series. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM and with Alastair Ingram on the call. Live video is also available via on Saturday.

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