Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BOSTON,MA. – Dan Senkbeil’s first career game-winning goal in the third period lifted Vermont past Northeastern 3-2 on Thursday night in the Hockey East opener for both teams at Matthews Arena. The Catamounts snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 2-4-0 (1-0-0 HEA), while the Huskies dropped their fifth in a row and fell to 1-5-0 (0-1-0 HEA).
“We needed a win and this is not an easy place to come in and win,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Coming on the road, it’s a big Hockey East win for us, but we know we have to be better Saturday.”
UVM was called for back-to-back penalties less than four minutes into the first period, but Mike Santaguida and the penalty killers combined to deny Northeastern for nearly a full two minutes of 5-on-3.
Near the midway point of the period, Vermont started to gather steam as Tom Forgione drove the net from below the right faceoff circle. Forgione’s attempt deflected to the top of the crease and Anthony Petruzzelli buried a low shot through the pads of Ryan Ruck to open the scoring. Jonathan Turk picked up the second assist at the 12:30 mark.
Jarrid Privitera doubled the lead with 2:04 remaining in the opening period with his third goal in the last two games. Mario Puskarich’s shot was blocked at the edge of the crease and the puck rolled out to Privitera, who finished into an open net past a sprawling Ruck from the left doorstep for a 2-0 cushion.
The Catamounts’ defensive unit took over in the second period, limiting Northeastern to just three shots on goal. UVM was handed a five-minute major power play with six and a half minutes left in the frame but couldn’t capitalize for an insurance tally.
Early in the third, Ori Abramson was whistled for a five-minute major and NU cashed in twice to knot the score. Dylan Sikura beat Santaguida high blocker side from a low angle to cut Vermont’s lead in half at 3:53. Two minutes later, John Stevens took a feed from Kevin Roy and wristed a quick shot into the upper left corner through traffic to equalize for the Huskies.
Senkbeil’s game-winner started with the senior breaking up a Northeastern rush at neutral ice. The forward skated into the left side of the NU zone and fired a wrist shot off Ruck’s blocker that trickled over the goal line at 13:46. The tally was Senkbeil’s second as a Catamount and the third of his NCAA career.
Santaguida, who made his 50th career appearance in net, stopped 21 saves for his second win of the season. Ruck finished the night with 18 saves in a losing effort.
“It was a momentum type of game. They came at us pretty good early,” said Sneddon. “We weathered the storm, including the 5-on-3, and we got better as the game went on but we found a way to give up a two-goal lead. We challenged the team. We said we’ve got to find a way to win as a team and they did it.”
The teams close out a home-and-home series on Saturday (Oct. 31) at 7:05 p.m. in Hockey East play at Gutterson Fieldhouse. All the action will be streamed online for free at CatamounTV.com. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com with Alastair Ingram and Joe Gervais on the call.
Tickets are still available for Vermont’s first Hockey East home game of the season on Saturday night. Tickets can be purchased online at UVMathletics.com/Tickets, in person at the UVM Athletic Ticket Office in Patrick Gym, or over the phone by calling 802-656-4410. The Gutterson Ticket Office opens at 6 p.m. prior to the game.
Saturday is Halloween at the Gut. We will have pumpkin decorating in the Hall of Honor, Rally will be walking around with candy for trick or treaters courtesy of Capital Candy, and we will have an on ice musical chairs contest for students dressed in the best costume. Thundersticks will also be given away courtesy of Party City.