UVM Hockey Teams Both Fall Friday Night

Stefanos Lekkas registered a career-high 41 saves, but Vermont dropped a 4-1 final on Friday night to Michigan in the opening game of a weekend series at Yost Arena. UVM falls to 2-3-0 (0-0-0 HEA), while the Wolverines improve to 2-1-0 (0-0-0 Big Ten).

"It was a tough night. We didn't play well from the start," head coach Kevin Sneddon said. "Stef played extremely well early on and we certainly didn't give him enough help. We were outcompeted on the little things. From building a team standpoint, we're still forming and going through a little bit of a storm right now. Hopefully it will help us grow and hopefully it won't take long."

The Wolverines pushed the pace in a scoreless first period, outshooting Vermont 17-5.

Rookie Josh Norris had the first quality scoring chance for Michigan, earning a penalty shot with 12:37 left in the opening frame. Norris stick-handled slowly down the slot before firing a high shot that Lekkas deflected over the net.

Will Lockwood finally broke the deadlock with five minutes left in the second period as he burst into the right side of the UVM zone. Lockwood deked to his backhand and slipped a shot under the pads of Lekkas as the puck trickled over the goal line.

Brendan Warren doubled the lead with under a minute left in the middle frame, curling into the slot and firing a wrist shot blocker side for a 2-0 cushion.

Norris netted two goals in less than two a half minutes early in the third to seal the win. The first round NHL draft pick converted a breakaway at 4:20 as he patiently snapped a shot under Lekkas' blocker. Norris then tipped in a centering pass from fellow freshman Quinn Hughes at 6:40 for a 4-0 lead.

Ross Colton put the Catamounts on the board with nine minutes left on the power play. Colton reeled in a pass from Christian Evers, toe-dragged around a defender, and snapped a low shot five-hole on Wolverine netminder Jack LaFontaine (15 saves).

Owen Grant followed by hitting the right post from the slot off a centering feed from Liam Coughlin, but Michigan held off the Catamounts for a 4-1 final.

The teams close the non-conference weekend series on Saturday (Oct. 21) at 5 p.m. at Yost Arena.

Meghara McManus' unassisted goal with 12 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, and Devan Taylor won the game with 18 seconds left in the extra session for New Hampshire by the final of 5-4 in a Hockey East matchup Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Melissa Black stopped 30 shots for the Catamounts, who move to 2-4-0 (1-2-0 WHEA), while Taylor's game-winning goal in overtime pushed the Wildcats to 3-0-1 (2-0-1 WHEA) on the season.

"That was a very disappointing outcome to a game that we had under our control," said head coach Jim Plumer. "Credit to UNH for battling to the end and I hope that this serves as a good lesson for our team as we learn how to finish."

Both teams jumped out of the gates, exchanging scoring chances in the first minutes of the game. UNH had the first opportunity on the power play when Nicole Dunbar picked up a rebound and flipped a shot off the post.

The Catamounts returned the opportunity as Mackenzie MacNeill skated out of the defensive zone and neared the UNH goal where she turned to her backhand and snapped a shot that also rang off the post at 1:20 in the opening period.

New Hampshire opened the scoring 17 seconds later on the power play on a goal by Julia Fedeski. Wildcats defender Tori Howran fired a shot that was stopped by Black, but Fedeski batted the rebound into the back of the net. McManus also assisted on the goal.

Before the midway point of the first period, Saana Valkama equalized on the power play for the Catamounts. Setting up at the top of the offensive zone, Taylor Flaherty dished a pass to Kristina Shanahan on the half-wall before finding Valkama in the slot. Valkama fought off two defenders and turned to fire a wrist shot past Ava Boutilier (26 saves).

Minutes later, Flaherty converted on the power play to give Vermont its first lead of the game. Ève-Audrey Picard wired a pass across the offensive zone to Shanahan in her spot on the half boards. Shanahan feathered a pass to Flaherty, who collected the puck and wristed a shot through traffic to give UVM a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

Shanahan continued Vermont's scoring in the second period on an unassisted goal at 3:19 of the middle frame. Intercepting a pass in the defensive zone, Shanahan raced up ice and cut into the high slot before ripping a shot against the grain past a sliding Boutilier.

UNH answered on a shorthanded goal by Taylor 1:27 after the Catamounts' goal. Kate Haslett found Taylor, who broke up ice and tucked a shot around the pads of Black.

With 1:10 left in the middle period, Picard restored Vermont's two-goal lead after batting a puck out of the air past UNH's goaltender. Valkama delivered the pass to Picard and Alyssa Gorecki also assisted on the score.

The Wildcats began their comeback in the early minutes of the third period on a goal by Marie-Jo Pelletier. McManus glided across the blue line and dropped a pass to Pelletier, who wristed a shot through traffic and found the top corner.

New Hampshire continued to charge throughout the final period, pulling the goalie with 1:21 left in regulation. McManus caught a UVM clearing attempt before quickly shifting the puck to her stick and snapping a shot past Black to force overtime at 19:48.

Both teams had opportunities to clinch in the overtime period, but it was Taylor who secured the win for UNH by tucking a low shot under the pads of Black on a partial breakaway in the final 30 seconds.

The Catamounts return to action on Sunday (Oct. 22) as they face third-ranked Boston College for the first time since falling in double overtime in last season's Hockey East Semifinal. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Courtesy: UVM Athletics