Rookie Matt Alvaro's third goal of the season with 5:14 left in the third period pushed Vermont past UMass 2-1 on Saturday night in Hockey East action to close out a four-game road trip at the Mullins Center.
The Catamounts extended their unbeaten streak against the Minutemen to nine games (8-0-1) and improved to 5-3-1 (2-2-0 HEA). UMass, which fell to 3-5-1 (1-3-1 HEA) on the year, was limited to just 14 shots on goal by the UVM defense.
"It wasn't one of our best games but it was a good road win and an important two points," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "We just found a way to win."
UVM took the lead at the 6:22 mark of the opening period when Brian Bowen picked off a pass from a UMass defenseman behind the net. Bowen played a quick feed into the low slot for Rob Darrar, who fired a one-timer glove side to beat Ryan Wischow (23 saves) for a 1-0 lead.
Vermont out-shot UMass 10-2 in the first period and killed off three power plays without allowing a single shot on goal.
The Minutemen tied the game less than three minutes into the second when Kurt Keats deflected William Lagesson's left circle shot through the five-hole of Stefanos Lekkas (13 saves) at 2:43.
Near the midway point of the contest, Vermont's rookie netminder prevented UMass from taking the lead with an important chest save on Steven Iacobellis during a short-handed rush below the left faceoff dot.
The Cats grabbed the late winner at 14:46 of the third as Kevin Irwin raced into the UMass zone and cut into the left circle before firing a wrist shot on target. Wischow made the initial save, but Alvaro muscled the puck under the freshman's pads on the rebound to give UVM the lead for good.
Shortly after the goal, Vermont executed its fifth straight penalty kill to retain the one-goal advantage, but dodged a bullet as UMass hit the left post after the Catamounts came back to full strength.
An extended offensive zone cycle from the line of Brady Shaw, Derek Lodermeier, and Anthony Petruzzelli in the closing minutes prevented UMass from pulling Wischow for an extra skater until less than a minute remained. The Minutemen set up Ivan Chukarov for an opportunity from the right circle with only seconds remaining, but Lekkas came out to challenge and cemented his fourth victory.
The Catamounts play three home games in the span of five days next week, beginning with former ECAC rival Dartmouth on Tuesday night (Nov. 15) at Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday is Lenny's Shoe and Apparel Night with UVM hosting an on-ice intermission promotion to win Carhartt Gear and a table in the lobby with branded Carhartt premium items.
UVM then hosts Maine in a two-game league series on Friday (Nov. 18) at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday (Nov. 19) at 4 p.m. The Saturday game is Military Appreciation Night with a special $10 group rate on general admission tickets for military members and their families.
Courtesy: UVM Athletics
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