Five different Catamounts scored a goal and Brody Hoffman stopped 21 shots on Saturday night as Vermont extended its winning streak with a 5-1 non-conference victory over former ECAC rival St. Lawrence at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts improve to 8-5-1 (4-4-0 HEA) with their fifth consecutive win, while the Saints drop to 8-9-2 (2-4-2 ECAC) with their fourth straight loss.
"This is a big win for us. I was very proud of our guys for their ability to come through a difficult week with limited practice time and a lot of attention on academics," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "To quickly refocus and get ready, they knew how big this game was. This was an important game for us and I'm pleased with the effort from the net out."
Vermont opened the scoring on the power play roughly halfway through the first period. Jake Fallon fed a pass across the blue line to the right point for Michael Paliotta, who fired a one-timer that beat Tyler Parks blocker side at 9:37. Mario Puskarich picked up the second assist on the game's first tally.
UVM doubled the advantage later in the frame after a prolonged offensive shift for St. Lawrence. Connor Brickley lobbed a clearance out of the defensive zone and Jonathan Turk gloved the puck down along the left wing. Turk quickly deked past a Saint defenseman on a curl-and-drag move and roofed a shot into the upper right corner.
St. Lawrence got on the board just 52 seconds into the middle period as Greg Carey dragged the puck past a Vermont defenseman and wristed a shot off the left post. The rebound bounced off Brody Hoffman's back and trickled into the net as the Saints cut the Catamount lead in half.
UVM killed off a pair of St. Lawrence power plays and protected the lead into the latter stages of the period. Nick Bruneteau collected a feed from Paliotta at the left doorstep and faked a shot as he delayed behind the net. The senior defenseman curled to the opposite post and stuffed home a wraparound to push UVM's advantage to 3-1.
Vermont took the lead into the third period before Chris McCarthy added an insurance goal six minutes in for his fifth of the year. The senior stick handled out of a crowd in the right corner and deked his way to the top of the crease. McCarthy dangled around Parks and slid a backhander into the left side of the net for a 4-1 lead. Fallon and Puskarich added their second assists of the night on the play.
H.T. Lenz added an empty-netter off a defensive zone faceoff with four seconds remaining to close out the Saints. Vermont finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play while holding St. Lawrence's power play scoreless on three chances. The Saints entered the night with the top-ranked power play in the country at 30.0 percent.
"I feel like our penalty kill was extraordinary tonight," said Sneddon. "We just executed the game plan. Coach (Kevin) Patrick did a great job with limited practice time putting in a strategy against the nation's best power play."
The Catamounts return to action on Tuesday (Dec. 17) against Northeastern at 7:05 p.m. for their final Hockey East contest of 2013 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Courtesy: UVM Athletics
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