UVM Advances to Windjammer Final

BURLINGTON, Vt. Vermont and RIT skated to a 1-1 tie through three full periods and the overtime frame, and a Taylor Willard shootout goal gave the Catamounts the victory and a trip to the Windjammer Classic Championship game tomorrow night.

The game is recorded as a tie, and Vermont moves to 5-9-2 overall and remains 3-6-1 in Hockey East play. RIT moves to 4-9-2 overall and remains 1-5-0 in CHA play.

"We didn't do it the easy way but it was great to see us advance to the title game of the Windjammer Classic," Head Coach Jim Plumer said. "We continue to generate a lot of offense and I am waiting for us to finally break out and put pucks in the net. Credit to Melissa Black for her play tonight and Amanda Drobot for scoring a key power play goal. We are excited to play for a trophy tomorrow night against an excellent Minnesota Duluth team."

Neither team scored in the first period with the Catamounts controlling much of the play. UVM had four power play opportunities compared to RIT's single chance, and outshot the Tigers 11-6.

Alyssa Gorecki had the best chance for Vermont just over three minutes into the frame. She grabbed an RIT turnover in the neutral zone and had a breakaway on RIT goalie Terra Lanteigne. The puck found the back of the net as Mallory Rushton took Gorecki down from behind, but after a review, the net had been dislodged prior to the goal.

A penalty called against Brooke Baker at the end of the opening period gave Vermont a full power play to begin the second. The Catamounts fired five shots on net during the advantage, but could not capitalize and score the first goal.

Vermont struck first with less than two minutes remaining in the middle frame on the power play. Drobot knocked home a rebound from the slot to beat Lanteigne. Ève-Audrey Picard took the original shot and picked up an assist along with Willard.

Much like the first period, UVM controlled play and held the advantage in shots, 16-8. The Catamounts killed four penalties, including nearly a minute of 5-on-3 play.

RIT sophomore Claudia Black evened the score 19 seconds into the final period, scoring on her twin sister, Melissa. Taylor Flaherty was called for a tripping penalty two minutes later, but Black and the Catamounts killed the penalty and kept the game tied.

UVM went on its eighth power play of the game with 10:21 remaining in regulation, but could not get enough offensive zone pressure to break the 1-1 deadlock. A hooking penalty on Gorecki put UVM a man-down with 3:15 remaining, but Black stood tall, making a phenomenal save from her back to swat the puck away from the goal line. Kourtney Menches blocked multiple shots during the RIT power play, helping to push the game to overtime.

Taylor Baker was called for a penalty with seven seconds remaining in regulation, giving the Catamounts 1:53 on the man-advantage to begin the extra period. UVM had multiple chances in the five-minute frame, forcing Lanteigne to make multiple point blank saves.

In the shootout period, Willard scored in the second round, coming straight down on Lanteigne before cutting to her backhand and roofing the puck over Lanteigne's left pad. Black stood tall in the shootout, stopping all three shots faced, including a save against her sister to seal the win for the Catamounts. Black finished the game with 25 saves while her RIT counterpart, Lanteigne, finished with 43.

Vermont plays in the Windjammer Classic Championship game tomorrow night against Minnesota Duluth. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The consolation game, between RIT and Colgate, will take place at 4 p.m.

Courtesy: UVM Athletics