Men’s hockey new incoming players: A preview

We’ve got a lot to get to so let’s not waste time. Two goalies, four defenders, six forwards.

Tyler Harmon – Goaltender – Ramsey, New Jersey – Jersey Hitmen (USPHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 22-7-1, 2.26 GAA, .922 SV%, 2 SO

Twitter: @tylerharmon1997

Named the 2017 USPHL Goaltender of the Year, Harmon will likely be Stef Lekkas’s backup or a 1B goalie in a platoon system with UVM’s sophomore goalie. A multi-sport athlete at Ramsey High School, where he was not only a standout goalie for the Rams (posting a .948 SV% his senior year and earning The Record’s Player of the Year award) but also a star lacrosse player (potting 35 goals and 29 assists his senior year and was named NJ.com’s Cullen Division Player of the Year). For four years, Harmon split time between his high school team and the Jersey Hitmen U18 team (winning a state Public B championship with the former in 2015-16 and a USPHL U18 title with the latter in 2014-15), but last season starred for the Hitmen senior team. At 6’3″, Harmon brings size to the position the Catamounts lacked last season, as well as a winning pedigree.

Matt Beck – Goaltender – Westport, Connecticut – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (USPHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 7-13-0, 4.06 GAA, .905 SV%

Twitter: @MBeck29

Based on his numbers and what I’ve heard of him, Beck will likely fill the Pat Feeley role as the competitive goalie who, while he may not see the ice much, will certainly push guys in practice. In high school at Fairfield Prep, Beck twice led the Jesuits to the state title. So yeah, all three of UVM’s goalies this year have won something (Lekkas won the USHL, Beck and Harmon both won state championships in high school), which is cool.

Brian Kelly – Defender – Purchase, New York – Connecticut Jr. Rangers (USPHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 32 GP, 2-12-14, 6 PIM

Twitter: @bkells1997

No, it is not the head coach of #GoAway football. Described as a player who will bring “a high end work ethic, hockey sense and skill” to UVM, Kelly graduated from Kent School in 2016, posting 13 points in his final two years. I don’t watch much USPHL, but I would guess that his low numbers point to him being more of a defensive defenseman. Which is nice, because outside of Massie and Abramson, UVM lacked good defensive defensemen last season.

Cory Thomas – Defender – St. Brieux, Saskatchewan – Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 49 GP, 2-8-10, 24 PIM

Twitter: @10C_THOMAS

Last season, the Cats had very little size on D with only Abramson and Massie standing at over 6’0″. Enter Cory Thomas, a massive 6’5″ shutdown defenseman from Western Canada. A member of Team Canada West at least year’s World Junior A Challenge, Thomas doubled his point total from 2015/16 this year. During his time in the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border town, Thomas was a member of the SJHL’s All-Rookie team in 2015-16, and helped the Bombers reach back-to-back Canalta Cup finals. He still needs to fill out (as despite his huge frame he’s still only 200ish pounds) but having another big, strong defender should help.

Owen Grant – Defender – Stittsville, Ontario – Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 56 GP, 5-19-24, 24 PIM

Twitter: @orgrant2

Grant had a rockstar year with the Canadians this season. With his club, he won the CCHL title for a third straight season, received the RBC/Arthur K Nielsen Memorial Award for “combining hockey excellence, academic success and also volunteer activities,” was named CCHL Defender of the Year, and was named to the CCHL First All-Star Team. He graduated high school with a 92% average. At the World Junior A Challenge on Team Canada East, Grant again received plaudits for his play, earning a spot on the tournament All-Star Team. You get the point. This is the kind of guy you want on a college hockey team – stellar on the ice, fantastic in the classroom, active in the community. Could be a future captain.

Christian Evers – Defender – Waukee, Iowa – Lincoln Stars (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 60 GP, 8-10-18, +2, 69 PIM

Twitter: @christianmevers

The last defender on the list is Evers who, like Thomas, brings solid size to the table standing at 6’2″. A former North Dakota Fighting Hawks commit and #1 overall pick in Phase 2 of the USHL draft, Evers is an alumnus of the United States National Team Development Program, the first Catamount with this status since Michael Paliotta. He brings size, physicality, and solid puck-handling skills, and can read the game well. I think he might be a top-4 defender right away for Kevin Sneddon.

Alex Esposito – Right Wing – West Haven, Connecticut – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 59 GP, 18-16-34, +4, 144 PIM

Twitter: @aesposito11

An alumnus of the Loomis Chaffee program, Esposito is a tough team player. According to Esposito himself, he is “not too flashy, but I like to make plays and I like to be responsible all over the ice. (I just) really do anything the coaches ask me to do, or the team asks me to do.” (source) He started last USHL season on a tear offensively, sitting at second on the USHL scoring charts for a time. A 12-game scoreless drought eventually dropped him off, but he finished strong. Esposito will probably be playing the role that Forgione played last year: a tough forward that can grab you a goal. He’ll be a fan favorite.

Fun fact: Esposito’s younger brother, Eric, also plays hockey. The two were teammates with the Phantoms last year, and also spent some time together at Loomis Chaffee.

Bryce Misley – Center – Calgary, Alberta – Oakville Blades (OJHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 46 GP, 26-36-62, 14 PIM

Twitter: @Misley_18

Most would probably consider Misley the jewel in the crown of this class. He’s VERY talented, and was drafted in the NHL draft by Minnesota earlier this year. He’s a talented player who will almost certainly be a top-6 center, skating well and dangling with ease. He shows up when it counts, posting 14 points in 16  playoff games for the Blades despite battling a foot injury that slowed his mobility. He was First Team All-Prospect in the OJHL this year, and represented Canada East at the World Junior A challenge. Get hyped, because this guy is good.

Vladislav (Vlad) Dzhioshvili – Forward – Moscow, Russia – Bloomington Thunder (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 58 GP, 19-23-42, -9, 86 PIM

Twitter: @vlad1034

Anyone that knows me in real life knows that I adore Russian hockey, so I may be a tad biased. But Dzhioshvili (JEE-osh-vee-lee) is probably #2 behind Misley in my books as the best recruit from this class. A former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight (a program that has churned out a lot of talent recently, with the crown jewel probably being Philadelphia Flyers defender Ivan Provorov), Dzhioshvili led the Thunder in goals and points, and was named the team’s forward of the year. Vlad describes himself as a power forward, and he can play both center (where he played for the Knights) and wing (where he played for the Thunder), which makes him an even stronger weapon. He owns a powerful shot and very good hands.

Fun fact: Dzhioshvili’s older brother, Maxim, also plays hockey. Maxim spent last season with the Vityaz Podolsk organization in Russia, including stints with junior side Russkie Vityazi and VHL (think the KHL’s AHL) side Tver.

Martin Fréchette – Right Wing – Rockland, Ontario – Cumberland Grads (CCHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 59 GP, 20-41-61, 20 PIM

Twitter: @martinfrechette

After a monster 2015/16 where he posted 71 points (up from 32 the year before), Fréchette took a bit of a step back last year. He’s small, very small (standing at just 5’7″), but makes up for that with speed. “I am a fast and skilled player,” Fréchette said in a Q&A with the Grads’ website. “I do not have the luxury of size so that means I have to be quick and smart to make up for it. I have a great vision and feel that possess a high hockey IQ on the Ice.”

The best part of that Q&A, if you ask me, was the part where he said “I’m not the type of player that will dump and chase.” I like this kid already! Controlled entries (passing and carry-ins) tend to generate more shot attempts (and thus more opportunities to score).

Ace Cowans – Center/Left Wing – Beverly, Massachusetts – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 27 GP, 5-7-12, -3, 33 PIM

Twitter: @acecow14

OverTheBoards.net describes Cowans, who starred at Groton School in Massachusetts, as “small, high skilled, very sharp” and a “quick, high-flying forward who zips around the ice.” I feel like much of what was said about Fréchette also applies here. Small, quick, fantastic hockey IQ. Missed the tail end of last season with an injury, but should be good to go to start his college career.

Max Kaufman – Forward – Pittsford, New York – Langley Rivermen (BCHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 47 GP, 31-24-55, Even, 20 PIM

Twitter: @maxkaufman_3

And for our third straight 5’7″ skill forward, and the final newcomer on our list, we have Max Kaufman, who was actually teammates with Brian Kelly at Kent in 2014/15. Our last small-but-skilled forward from Langley worked out pretty well (Mario Puskarich), though I’m not going to heap those expectations on Kaufman. During two years of high school hockey at Pittsford High, Kaufman was named All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year in 2011-12 after posting 32 points in 20 games and leading the Panthers to a state runner-up. He then played three seasons at Kent School, a prep school, leading the team in scoring his senior year before spending two years at Langley, where he posted 106 points over two regular seasons.

Also, check out this goal he scored. On infinite loop. That is a beauty.


Welcome to UVM everyone!

Three Games/Series I’m Looking Forward To

With the women’s team releasing their schedule today, we now have the UVM hockey calendar filled out for 2017/18. Let’s take a look at three games or series that I look forward to the most this season for both sides.


MEN’S

Oct 14 at Quinnipiac

Last season, the Bobcats were ranked #3 and were expected to beat UVM in the Friendship Four championship game in Belfast. Instead, Stef Lekkas put on a clinic, stopping 40, and Ross Colton had a three point night as the Catamounts rolled the Bobcats 5-1. Q should be better this season, and have one of the best home-ice advantages in college hockey. Early-season gut check.

Oct 20-21 at Michigan

This isn’t your uncle’s Wolverines, namely because they’re actually coached by a different guy for once. Mel Pearson has replaced the retired legend Red Berenson, and the trip to Ann Arbor will be the first in UVM history. The Wolverines should be much-improved (I’d argue Pearson is much more in-tune with modern college hockey than Red was), and will prove another early-season test for UVM’s young roster.

Nov 10-11 vs BC

The returning crop at UVM is going to remember the last time they played BC, when they gave up two touchdowns in the Hockey East playoffs. BC is vulnerable this year with their top 5 scorers all leaving and their top recruit (Eeli Tolvanen) not actually coming, so this could be a huge matchup with regards to playoff positioning by the end of the season.


 

WOMEN’S

Oct 22 vs BC

Yes, UVM also plays BC at Conte in mid-January. But this is the first one since the Cats came within a double overtime goal of the Hockey East championship game (and I still insist the Cats could have defeated Northeastern in the final) against the Eagles. October of last year saw the Cats take out a top-ten ranked team in the BU Terriers. Can they do it again, avenge their heartbreaking loss in the tournament the year before, and get Coach Plumer his first win against BC?

Nov 10-11 home and home w/ Clarkson

On the same weekend the men battle BC, the women play a home and home against the reigning national champs from across the lake. UVM actually played Clarkson (the only Eastern team ever to win a NCAA D-I women’s national title) at home last year in the Windjammer Classic final (a 3-1 win for the eventual national champions), and this should serve as a good gauge for how much the returning players have improved.

Jan 12-13 at Minnesota

Clarkson may be the reigning national champions, and they full well deserve it. But the Golden Gophers remain the gold standard for women’s hockey programs with 6 national championships and a run of five national title games in a row that was broken up this season. This series at the site of this year’s Women’s Frozen Four should be a good gauge on where this program is in its development.

Former Cats Update: End of season and Offseason Moves

Note: This will NOT include players who left for junior or who transferred, but it WILL include players who left to turn pro early.

Stat Recaps

GOALKEEPERS

Joe Fallon ’08 –  Dundee StarsRegular Season: 51 GP, 20W-24L, 3.37 GAA, .896 SV%, 3 SO – Playoffs: 4 GP, 1.66 GAA, .945 SV%

DEFENDERS

Drew MacKenzie ’12 –  Kassel HuskiesRegular Season: 42 GP, 3-25-28, +4, 62 PIM – Playoffs: 9 GP, 0-5-5, -5, 12 PIM – Also played one game for  Dornbirner AC

Alexx Privitera ’16 –  New Hampshire Manchester MonarchsRegular Season: 33 GP, 5-17-22, +2, 33 PIM – Playoffs: 17 GP, 1-3-4, +3, 9 PIM – Also played 19 games for California Ontario Reign

Ryan Gunderson ’07 – Sweden Brynäs IF “A” – Regular Season: 52 GP, 4-23-27, +1, 18 PIM – Playoffs: 20 GP, 0-10-10, +4, 4 PIM – SHL Runner-Up

Nick Luukko ’15 – Pennsylvania Reading Royals – Regular Season: 70 GP, 6-14-20, +22, 22 PIM – Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM

Jaime Sifers ’06 – Ohio Cleveland Monsters – Regular Season: 74 GP, 6-14-20, -5, 74 PIM

Michael Paliotta ’15 – Connecticut Hartford WolfPack – Regular Season: 52 GP, 1-13-14, -1, 20 PIM

Nick Bruneteau ’14 –  Lausitzer Füchse – Regular Season: 28 GP, 3-9-12, -6, 32 PIM – Playoffs: 5 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 28 PIM – Also played 4 Champions Hockey League games for  Eisbären Berlin

Anders Franzon ’13 –  Sheffield Steelers – Regular Season: 51 GP, 1-10-11, 31 PIM – Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM

Evan Stoflet ’07 –  Utah Grizzlies – Regular Season: 45 GP, 1-8-9, -13, 50 PIM

Patrick Cullity ’10 – Connecticut Bridgeport Sound Tigers – Regular Season: 36 GP, 0-5-5, -4, 52 PIM –  Also played 3 games for Missouri Missouri Mavericks

Kevan Miller ’11 – Massachusetts Boston Bruins – Regular Season: 58 GP, 3-10-13, +1, 50 PIM – Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-0-0, Even, 4 PIM

FORWARDS

Chris McCarthy ’14 – Pennsylvania Reading Royals – Regular Season: 43 GP, 19-28-47, +7, 4 PIM – Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-5-5, Even, 2 PIM – Also played 17 games for Pennsylvania Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Jack Downing ’11 –  Kassel Huskies – Regular Season: 46 GP, 22-20-42, +8, 8 PIM – Playoffs: 9 GP, 2-6-8, +3, 4 PIM

Colin Vock ’10 –  Frederikshavn White Hawks – Regular Season: 38 GP, 17-23-40, +10, 16 PIM – Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-1-1, Even, 2 PIM – Metal Ligaen Bronze Medal

Peter Lenes ’09 –  Kitzbüheler EC “A” – Regular Season: 28 GP, 12-21-33, -8, 14 PIM

Éric Perrin ’97 –  TPS Turku “A” – Regular Season: 43 GP, 13-18-31, +13, 18 PIM

Connor Brickley ’14 –  Charlotte Checkers – Regular Season: 69 GP, 15-11-26, +8, 57 PIM – Playoffs: 5 GP, 2-2-4, +3, 0 PIM

Jon Turk ’16 –  Columbus Cottonmouths – Regular Season: 56 GP, 13-11-24, -10, 64 PIM – Playoffs: 3 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM

Brian Roloff ’10 –  Ravensburg Towerstars – Regular Season: 41 GP, 8-15-23, -7, 12 PIM

Matt White ’14 –  Dundee Stars – Regular Season: 52 GP, 8-14-22, 76 PIM – Playoffs: 4 GP, 1-0-1, 2 PIM

Patrick Sharp ’02 – Texas Dallas Stars – Regular Season: 48 GP, 8-10-18, -22, 31 PIM

Sebastian Stålberg ’12 – Sweden Frölunda HC – Regular Season: 49 GP, 8-7-15, +1, 6 PIM – Playoffs: 14 GP, 1-2-3, +2, 2 PIM – Champions Hockey League Champion

Torrey Mitchell ’07 – Quebec Montréal Canadiens – Regular Season: 78 GP, 8-9-17, +5, 38 PIM – Playoffs: 3 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM

Viktor Stålberg ’09 –  Carolina Hurricanes / Ontario Ottawa Senators – Combined Regular Season: 75 GP, 11-5-16, -9, 41 PIM – Playoffs: 17 GP, 0-2-2, -8, 2 PIM

Colin Markison ’15 – Connecticut Bridgeport Sound Tigers – Regular Season: 28 GP, 2-4-6, -1, 8 PIM

Chelsea Furlani ’10 –  EV Bozen Eagles “C”  – Regular Season: 18 GP, 18-17-35, +25, 6 PIM – Playoffs: 9 GP, 14-2-16, +9, 2 PIM – Champion of Italy – Member of Italy national team

Sarah Campbell ’15 –  DEC Salzburg Eagles – Regular Season: 14 GP, 9-15-24, +18, 6 PIM – Playoffs: 8 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 6 PIM

Delia McNally ’15 –  Neuberg Highlanders – Regular Season: 13 GP, 1-7-8, -11, 20 PIM – Playoffs: 2 GP, 3-0-3, +5, 0 PIM

Amanda Pelkey ’15 – MassachusettsBoston Pride – Regular Season: 17 GP, 2-5-7, +2, 10 PIM – Playoffs: 2 GP, 0-0-0, Even, 2 PIM – IIHF World Champion – Member of US national team


Offseason Moves

Mario Puskarich ’17: New Hampshire Manchester Monarchs ->  Medveščak Zagreb

Rachael Ade ’17: Vermont UVM (women’s) -> Connecticut Connecticut Whale

Colin Vock ’10:  Frederikshavn White Hawks ->  Esbjerg Energy

Connor Brickley ’14:  Carolina Hurricanes ->  Vegas Golden Knights -> Florida Florida Panthers

Jaime Sifers ’06: Ohio Cleveland Monsters -> New York (state) Utica Comets

Patrick Sharp ’02: Texas Dallas Stars ->  Chicago Blackhawks

Anders Franzon ’13:  Sheffield Steelers -> Retired

Slavomir Tomko ’08: No team 2016/17 -> France Lions de Lyon

Michael Paliotta ’15: Connecticut Hartford WolfPack -> Ontario Toronto Marlies

Women’s hockey announces new players for 2017-18

Earlier today, Coach Plumer announced UVM’s incoming women’s hockey class. The group includes one goalie, two defenders, four forwards, and one player that can play both forward and D. Let’s meet them! (Sorry on lack of info about certain players, it’s hard to really find data for girls’ hockey…)

Sierra Natzke – Goaltender – Pine, Colorado – Conifer HS/Lansing Spartans

2016/17 Statistics (w/ Lansing): 50 GP – 23-23-3 – 2.17 GAA – .901 SV% – 12 SO

Twitter: @natzkehockey

The Catamounts seem to be strong in goal going forward, and the team bolstered its depth in the position with Natzke. While attending Conifer High School, she played club hockey on a coed team in her home state. She then joined Lansing Spartans, where she helped lead the team to a CanAm tournament title, defeating the Madison Capitols girls team 2-1 in triple overtime.

Previously, she played for the Boston Shamrocks in 2015/16. That club just keeps producing UVM players.

Here’s a highlight video from Lansing’s 2-1 win over Shattuck St. Mary’s on January 7. There’s a few other videos of her playing on that channel if you want to do some armchair scouting.

Greta Close – Defender – Norwich, Vermont – Kimball Union Academy (NH)

2016/17 Statistics: Unavailable (let me know if anyone can find something!)

Twitter: @gretaclose

Close brings some leadership to the table, having been a two-year captain for the Wildcats in high school and leading them to a 16-6-2 record her senior year. I can’t find any statistics or video of how she plays, but she did earn a spot on the NEPSAC Division II All-Star Team in ice hockey, and was also an All-Star in lacrosse. She did participate in USA Hockey’s Girls U18 Development Camp in 2016, playing five games but not pointing.

Taylor Flaherty – Defender – Lakeville, Minnesota – Lakeville North HS/Univ. of North Dakota

2016/17 Statistics: 15 GP – 1-1-2 – 4 PIM

Twitter: @t_fizz9

Flaherty comes in as a transfer who is immediately eligible after North Dakota shut down their women’s hockey program. In her first two years in Grand Forks, she posted a goal and an assist in 39 games played. Before that, she was a five-year player at Lakeville North, serving as captain in her final year and posting at least 20 points in each of her last three years.

Here is her recruiting video from high school.

Bonus: here’s the video from when she went on Outside the Lines with Bob Ley to discuss the fight to prevent UND from dropping women’s hockey. Her bit starts around the 2:27 mark.

Anna Erickson – Forward/Defense – Stillwater, Minnesota – Minnesota Connections Academy/Madison Capitols

2016/17 Statistics (w/ Madison): 38 GP – 9-5-14 – 14 PIM

According to the UVM Athletics release, Erickson can play forward or defense, and that sort of versatility will really benefit the Catamounts going forward. I’m not sure which she played more in Madison, but based on the lower numbers, I would guess defense (and she was listed as defense on their website). Prior to her time with the Capitols, she spent 2015/16 with the Minnesota Revolution, posting 13 points in 31 games.

Vermont college connection: Her brother Jake helped Norwich win the D-III national title this season.

Valerie Caldwell – Forward – Glenview, Illinois – Loyola Academy/Chicago Mission

2016/17 Statistics (w/ Loyola): Only thing I could find is that she had 27 goals this year. Further info would be appreciated.

Twitter: @valcaldwell14

Caldwell was a three-time All-State player at Loyola Academy (I’m not sure if it was four as I could not find the info for the 2014 All-State game), and graduates as the program’s all-time top scorer with 112 goals over four seasons. From every article I’ve read, she’s electrifying on the ice (with the Daily North Shore’s Kevin Reiterman stating that “the girl can turn scoring into an art form”) and super enthusiastic off it, which is how she was able to juggle both her Academy duties with her Mission responsibilities. Every one of her four high school seasons saw the Ramblers make the state championship, including a victory in 2016 over Barrington. And the roll on leaders continues, as she captained the team this year.

Like Close, she participated in USA Hockey’s Girls U18 Development Camp in 2016, posting three points in four games.

Here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune about her.

Alyssa Holmes – Forward – Burlington, Ontario – Corpus Christi HS/Stoney Creek

2016/17 Statistics (w/ Stoney Creek): 35 GP – 5-9-14 – 6 PIM

The Provincial Women’s Hockey League is the strongest junior hockey league in Canada, so Holmes was playing against some strong competition on about a league-average team (the Sabres finished 8th in the 20-team league). In her first full season in the league, she finished with on the team in scoring. The year before, on the Midget AA Sabres, she led the team in scoring with 19 points in 22 games. She’s not just a good hockey player though – she was also a letterwinner in soccer, field hockey, track and field, volleyball, and badminton. Talk about a Swiss army knife.

Olivia Kilberg – Forward – Edina, Minnesota – Edina HS

2016/17 Statistics (w/ Edina): 30 GP – 14-19-33 – 6 PIM

High school hockey in Minnesota is like high school basketball in Indiana or high school football in Texas. By that, I mean it’s a pretty big deal. And Kilberg has been to the peak of girls’ high school hockey in Minnesota, winning a state championship with the Edina Hornets last season. In the championship game – a 4-0 win over Blaine – Kilberg scored a goal and added an assist. She was an honorable mention on the Lake Conference All-Conference Team, and was named to the All-Tournament team. All this from a player that, two years earlier as a sophomore, posted 5 points in 31 games. That’s a pretty nice rise, and she will hopefully continue her rise at UVM.

Like Caldwell and Close, she was also at USA Hockey’s Girls U18 Development Camp in 2016, posting an assist in 5 games; in fact,  she was actually teammates with Close on Team Purple. Small world.

Kristina Shanahan – Forward – Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec – Pointe-Noire HS/Dawson College

2016/17 Statistics (w/ Dawson): 24 GP – 20-13-33 – 2 PIM

Imagine being a teenager living in suburban Montreal. You have just won a provincial high school championship, and took part in a U18 Team Canada selection camp. You have offers from some of the best academic universities in America – Princeton, Yale, Cornell. And you receive a bursary check from none other than the Montreal Canadiens, and got to accept it from Olympic hockey hero Marie-Philip Poulin. That was Kristina Shanahan’s reality in 2015, and she spent two years at Dawson College before choosing UVM. Last season, she led the Blues in scoring and ranked fifth among players at CEGEPs (pre-university colleges in Quebec; I guess the American equivalent would be junior college), and the top scorer that wasn’t from Cégep Limoilou who had the top four.

Welcome to UVM, everyone! This team is building something special, and we’re glad to have you along.

Misley gets drafted, Ade turns pro, and other summer news and notes

The dog days of summer suck. It’s the void of the college hockey season where team Twitter accounts tease fans by posting pictures of center ice with the season four months away (I’m looking at you, Providence and Northern Michigan). This is actually my first offseason with this blog, so I’ll have to think of ways to fill the void until the exhibitions start up.

Eventually, I’ll be previewing the season for all of the Hockey East schools, along with my standings predictions.

And I’ll have an alumni update done at some point, I swear. But for now, plenty of news to report over the last few weeks.

WOMEN’S

  • Rachael Ade has become the third former Catamount (after Amanda Pelkey and Meghan Huertas) to join the National Women’s Hockey League, signing with the New Haven-area-based Connecticut Whale on June 20. (Yes, I know Huertas transferred out, but…still counts.)
  • The connections between the Cats and the Whale don’t end there, as on May 25 the team hired Jess Koizumi as associate head coach, replacing Kelly Nash. Koizumi was captain of the Whale during the 2015/16 NWHL season and scored the first goal in league history. She’s no stranger to coaching, either, having been associate head coach Ohio State last season in addition to a few seasons as an assistant at Yale.

MEN’S

  • Bryce Misley was drafted in the fourth round of the NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild with the 116th overall pick. UVM has been addressing him online as an incoming freshman, which means it’s likely he’ll be coming a year ahead of time, which is what I honestly expected.
  • The names of twelve UVM recruits have appeared in the school directory, which means we should have a huge crop of incoming freshman talent. Those names are Tyler Harmon, Matt Beck, Christian Evers, Brian Kelly, Cory Thomas, Owen Grant, Max Kaufman, Alex Esposito, Vlad Dzhioshvili, Martin Fréchette, Ace Cowans, and the aformentioned Misley.
  • The interesting part about that list: Jacob Kamps is not on it. I’ve heard nothing about him decommitting, so it’s very possible he just opted out of the directory, but it’s still something to keep an eye on as he has aged out of junior hockey.
  • Still haven’t heard anything on the Ori Abramson situation, but if Thomas is coming in I would bet towards him getting denied.
  • UVM alumnus Connor Brickley was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in their Expansion Draft, but you probably already knew that.
  • Another alumnus, Anders Franzon, announced his retirement following the conclusion of his season with Sheffield Steelers. Good luck on your future endeavors, Anders!
  • As for the schedule, there’s only a few games remaining with teams that didn’t already announce their schedules: two each with BC, Merrimack, and Maine, and three with UNH and UConn. Based on years past I would guess: BC is at home, Maine and Mack away, UNH and UConn two away/one home. Notre Dame leaving really gives the schedulemakers a headache, since a large part of why UConn came to Hockey East was to ease scheduling…

AROUND HOCKEY EAST

  • HUGE bombshell dropped on the eve of the draft: Eeli Tolvanen, BC’s top recruit this year, was rejected by admissions. With each of their top 5 scorers from last season either graduating or turning pro, and a recruiting class that isn’t really what you’d expect from a BC side, they could be in for a down year next year. Of course, Jerry Yawk is Jerry Yawk, so they’ll find a way to squeak into the tournament.
  • Only one conference had at least one player picked from each team. Hockey East. (Barely – Lowell’s first pick of the day, Croix Evingston, was taken with pick #211. Thanks, Vegas, for the extra seven picks!)
  • Hockey East is discussing dumping the “octofinals” and replacing them with the 1-8 system from years past. I like it, it would make the regular season more meaningful even if it means UVM’s chances of hosting a playoff series decrease by a lot. Watching the Maine series last year was fun as a fan…but the neutrals were probably like “STOP STOP THEY’RE ALREADY DEAD.”

End-Of-Season Recruitment Update

About time I finally got this up.

I’m also going to include the women’s team recruits. However, I was not able to pull statistics for every player. If you’re able to fill in some of our blanks, please let me know and I will edit accordingly.


WOMEN’S RECRUITS

GOALKEEPERS

Sierra Natzke (’99) – Lansing Spartans – 50 GP, 23-23-3, 2.10 GAA, .901 SV%

DEFENDERS

Anna Erickson (’98) – Minnesota Northern Starzz – Statistics unavailable

Cameron Morrissey (’01) – Detroit Little Caesars U16 – 14 GP, 1-4-5, 4 PIM

Maude Poulin-Labelle (’99) – Stanstead College – 46 GP, 13-23-36, 38 PIM, +56 (!!!) – Okay, I’m confused on her position. HockeyTech has her listed as a forward, Stanstead has her listed as a defender…I’m gonna go with the school’s listing.

FORWARDS

Olivia Kilberg (’99) – Minnesota Jr. Whitecaps Black – Statistics unavailable

Alyssa Holmes (’99) – Stoney Creek Jr. Sabres – 35 GP, 5-9-14, 6 PIM

Lillian Holmes (’99) – Mid-Fairfield – Statistics unavailable

Valerie Caldwell (’99) – Loyola Academy / Chicago Mission U19 – The only thing I can find for her stats is this Chicago Tribune article that says she had 27 goals for Loyola.

Corinne McCool (’99) – Lawrence Academy – 29 GP, 40-26-66

Alexandrea Gray (’00) – Stanstead College – 46 GP, 12-10-22, 14 PIM, +24


MEN’S RECRUITS

GOALKEEPERS

Matthew Beck (’96) – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (USPHL) – 41 GP, 7-13-0, 4.06 GAA,  .905 SV%

Tyler Harmon (’97) – Jersey Hitmen (USPHL) – 22-7-1, 2.26 GAA, .922 SV%, 2 SO. Named USPHL Goaltender of the Year

DEFENDERS

Christian Evers (’97) – Lincoln Stars (USHL) – 60 GP, 8-10-18, +2, 69 PIM

Brian Kelly (’97) – Connecticut Jr. Rangers (USPHL) – 32 GP, 2-12-14, 6 PIM. Playoffs: 1 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM.

Cory Thomas (’98) – Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL) – 49 GP, 2-8-10, 24 PIM. Playoffs: 15 GP, 0-2-2, 21 PIM. World Junior A Challenge (w/ Canada West): 4 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM.

Owen Grant (’98) – Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) – 56 GP, 5-19-24, 24 PIM. Playoffs: 16 GP, 0-1-1, 10 PIM. Fred Page Cup: 5 GP, 0-1-1, 4 PIM. World Junior A Challenge (w/ Canada East): 4 GP, 0-0-0, 6 PIM. Named CCHL Defenseman of the Year

Andrew Petrillo (’98) – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) – 27 GP, 1-2-3, +2, 4 PIM. Playoffs: 2 GP, 0-0-0, Even, 0 PIM.

Carter Long (’98) – Lincoln Stars (USHL) – 57 GP, 1-3-4, +1, 47 PIM

Andrew Lucas (’99) – Loomis Chaffee School (USHS-CT) – 24 GP, 7-21-28

Conner Hutchison (’00) – Selects Hockey Academy U18 (USPHL U18) – 6 GP, 2-8-10, 6 PIM

FORWARDS

Alex Esposito (’96) – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) – 59 GP, 18-16-34, +4, 144 PIM

Jacob Kamps (’97) – Penticton Vees (BCHL) / Brooks Bandits (AJHL) / Pembroke Lumber Kings (CCHL) – Penticton: 12 GP, 1-2-3, Even, 0 PIM – Brooks: 16 GP, 3-1-4, 14 PIM – Pembroke: 22 GP, 8-8-16, 15 PIM

Martin Fréchette (’97) – Cumberland Grads (CCHL) – 59 GP, 20-41-61, 20 PIM

Vladislav Dzhioshvili (’98) – Bloomington Thunder (USHL) – 58 GP, 19-23-42, -9, 86 PIM.

Ace Cowans (’96) – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) – 27 GP, 5-7-12, -3, 33 PIM.

Max Kaufman (’96) – Langley Rivermen (BCHL) – 47 GP, 31-24-55, 20 PIM. Playoffs: 6 GP, 1-6-7, 2 PIM.

Nick Abruzzese (’99) – North Jersey Avalanche U18 (T1EHL/AYHL)/New Jersey Jr. Titans (NAHL) – North Jersey T1EHL: 32 GP, 18-25-43, 10 PIM – North Jersey AYHL: 17 GP, 11-18-29, 6 PIM – New Jersey: 4 GP, 1-0-1, 0 PIM, -3

Simon Boyko (’99) – Jersey Hitmen (USPHL) – 37 GP, 11-27-38, 12 PIM

Joseph Cipollone (’99) – Loomis Chaffee School (USHS-CT) / Tri-City Storm (USHL) – Loomis Chaffee: 23 GP, 16-16-32 – Tri-City: 3 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM

Bryce Misley (’99) – Oakville Blades (OJHL) – 46 GP, 26-36-62, 14 PIM. Playoffs: 16 GP, 5-9-14, 14 PIM. World Junior A Challenge (w/ Canada East): 4 GP, 1-0-1, 4 PIM. (Note: He played the playoffs on an injured foot.)

Ocean Wiesblatt (’99) – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 14 GP, 3-2-5, 22 PIM

Orca Wiesblatt (’00) – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 30 GP, 6-6-12, 59 PIM. Playoffs: 4 GP, 2-1-3, 0 PIM. Western Canada Cup: 3 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM. RBC Cup: 1 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM.

Mickey Burns (’00) – Jersey Hitmen U16 (USPHL U16) / Don Bosco Prep (USHS-NJ) – Jersey U16: 26 GP, 20-38-58, 28 PIM – Don Bosco Prep: 20 GP, 20-34-54. Named to NJ.com’s 1st Team All-State. Fun side note – Bosco plays in the Gordon Conference in NJ high school hockey, which also includes St. Augustine Prep, a team coached by former Catamount Tim Fingerhut.

Kyle Mandleur (’01) – Mercer Chiefs 16U (AYHL U16) – 23 GP, 14-15-29, 20 PIM

Anthony Cipollone (’02) – Westchester Express Bantam Major (Bantam) – Statistics unavailable

Season Recap: Three Best Games of the Season

Simply because I’m already in offseason withdrawals, here’s another season recap piece, this one focusing on the three best moments of the season for UVM hockey. We’re doing three for both squads.


WOMEN

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The sweep of Northeastern at Matthews, the new Pack the Gut attendance record, Bridget Baker’s hat trick against St. Cloud

3) Vermont 3, No. 9 Boston University 2 | October 9

This one was basically a coin flip between this game and the second game at Northeastern away. Given that BU was ranked higher at the time, I felt the desire to go with this one, plus I was actually there. Catamounts opened the scoring through Ève-Audrey Picard out of a scramble, before BU responded with an absolute snipe from Samantha Sutherland. Cats go ahead again through Saana Valkama (congrats on the bronze medal, BTW) off a great feed from Picard, BU responds through Sutherland again on a weird deflection off what looked like Melissa Black’s glove. Cats get the winner through another scramble, this one by Gorecki. A hell of a way to kick off conference play and just an overall sign that this year was going to be much different than last.

2) Vermont 5, Providence 2 | February 26

After losing Game 1 in the last thirty seconds against a team you’ve struggled against all year, some teams would be utterly demoralized. This year’s Vermont women’s hockey team was not one of those teams. They whomped Providence 5-1 in Game 2 to set up a Game 3 at Schneider.

Cats opened the scoring with Gorecki tipping home Victoria Andreakos’s centering pass, then doubled it less than a minute later as Picard finished off a beautiful pass from Valkama. The Finn herself would score with 9 seconds to go to extend Vermont’s lead to 3-0 out of a mad scramble after two great saves by Friar keeper (and Colchester native) Madison Myers. Early in the second, another one, a power play goal by Gorecki on the rebound. Providence would pull two back, first through a tip by Rachel Rockwell and second through a point shot by Kate Friesen. But this day, and series, belonged to the Catamounts; Picard buried an empty netter for the 5-2 win and Vermont’s first-ever best-of-three series win, booking their trip to the semifinals, where…

1) No. 6 Boston College 4, Vermont 3 (2OT) | March 4

I feel weird putting a loss at #1…but less weird in knowing that it was one of the greatest women’s hockey games I’ve ever seen. The Eagles were heavy favorites, with the prior meeting at Conte resulting in a 7-1 rout, but the Catamounts showed heart and determination and pushed a VERY good team to the limit.

BC opened the scoring on a passing play so pretty I wasn’t even mad (four tape-to-tape passes in a row), finished off by Kenzie Kent. They’d double the lead early in the second through Caitrin Lonergan, but the Cats would pull one back through a Taylor Willard point shot about six and a half minutes later. BC restored the two goal cushion at 12:03 of the second by a beautiful wrister by Makenna Newkirk, putting the Eagles up 3-1, which as we learned in 2016 was the most dangerous and meme-able lead in sports.

But the Cats showed resilience and got right back up from that punch, as Ali O’Leary cleaned up a rebound from a point shot by Willard for her first collegiate goal – talk about a big time to get your first, eh? Early in the third, Gorecki – who had a MONSTER playoffs – gets the goal to tie it, tipping one past Katie Burt. 3-3. Holy smokes.

Unfortunately, victory was not UVM’s on the day, as Andie Anastos slipped a backhander past Madison Litchfield to win it at 3:03 of the second overtime.

Yes, the Catamounts lost…but if this game doesn’t sell you on this program’s progress and how promising this team is, and how skilled and hard-working these ladies are, then I have no idea what will. They took a team that was less than thirty seconds away from the national championship game all the way to double overtime. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the performance of Madison Litchfield who, in her last game for UVM, put on a clinic with 49 saves.

If you’re a UVM fan and you’re in the Burlington area, catch a game next season while there’s still room on the bandwagon!


MEN

HONORABLE MENTIONS: That comeback at BC after going down 3-0, the playoff sweep of Maine, and wrapping up the program’s perfect record against the legendary Red Berenson

3) Vermont 5, Clarkson 2 | October 7

The Catamounts’ offseason was not a good one. The only real change for much of the summer was the transfer of Packy Munson, UVM’s #1 for most of 2015-16, to Denver. But in the two weeks leading up to opening night, it was not pretty. Two players, Jacob Kearley and Mitch Ferguson, were cut for “athletic reasons.” The team lost its preseason game to Concordia. And completing this hat-trick of suck, the day before the team traveled to Potsdam, UVM announced that its entire leadership group (minus Travis Blanleil) were banned 5 games for their roles in a hazing scandal. It was looking like the program was in shambles, and expectations from fans were very low as the puck dropped at Cheel.

Instead, they made a statement with a resounding win against their former ECAC rival. Ori Abramson scored just 2:10 into the game, tapping home a feed from Blanleil, which was the lone goal until the third period when the Golden Knights got back in it on a beautiful shot from Jordan Boucher. But that tie didn’t last long, as Brian Bowen converted on the power play less than 90 seconds later, and the Cats cruised from there, earning goals from Blanleil, Brady Shaw, and Jarrid Privitera.

After the tumultuous offseason, the Cats needed that win. Not just a win, but a dominant one.

2) #12 Vermont 4, #5 Boston University 2 | December 9

There was quite a bit of hype going into this one. BU’s roster was absolutely LOADED with about a gajillion draft picks, and the Catamounts were coming off a win in the Friendship Four (spoilers: which I’ll get to…) over then-#3 Quinnipiac. Not only that, but Stefanos Lekkas and Jake Oettinger were posting some of the best numbers among freshman goalies in the nation. Then, before puck drop, the hype intensified when megatalented Clayton Keller was in the lineup for the Terriers after missing a chunk of the season with injury. And to top off the hype machine, the UVM student section name would be announced that night after an online competition. The winner was “The Den,” submitted by Tyler Davis, the SGA vice president who graduates this month.

BU scored first as Bobo Carpenter buried a rebound past Lekkas into a fairly open net. Six minutes later, UVM tied it as Anthony Petruzzelli finished a beautiful pass from Derek Lodermeier, and UVM took the lead in the last minute of the period through Matt O’Donnell’s point shot. BU would tie it up again early in the second as Patrick Harper cleaned up the mess caused by a Clayton Keller point shot, and it was 2-2.

Midway through the third, Vermont took the lead for good, and it was yet another rebound. Jake Massie took a shot through traffic, Lodermeier missed it, and Tom Forgione, the hometown boy from South Burlington, cleaned up the mess to make it 3-2. Ross Colton would add an empty netter.

The atmosphere at the Gutt that night was electric, and the game itself was thrilling. (Unrelated side note, but the fact that David Quinn couldn’t get a team with that much talent to the Frozen Four should DQ him from any NHL gigs.)

And now…for #1…oh come on i basically leaked it already

1) #20 Vermont 5, #3 Quinnipiac 1 | November 26

I’m gonna be blunt here. BREAK GAMES SUCK. So when I heard UVM was going to Belfast over Thanksgiving, needless to say I was excited that another break wasn’t gonna be marred with home games in front of townies with no atmosphere. (No disrespect to townies, but the student-driven atmosphere is what gives NCAA hockey its charm; I’m living off-campus next year so I’ll be able to make them and hopefully liven up the place lol). After brushing off a pathetic UMass Amherst team, I was a bit pessimistic about playing the Bobcats, who were NCAA runner-up in 2016 and had lost just twice all season to that point.

Instead, it wasn’t much of a contest; it was much like UVM’s skunking of Quinnipiac in basketball two weeks earlier. Yes, Lekkas had to make 40 saves, but the Cats got basically every grade-A scoring chance and converted, and most of those shots came with Quinnipiac trailing by multiple goals.

Colton opened the scoring off a neutral zone turnover by the Bobcats, and Mario Puskarich doubled the lead about seven minutes later off a great pass by Craig Puffer. Late in the second, it was 3-0 on a tip by Privitera, and the Catamounts were cruising. Craig Martin pulled one back for Quinnipiac midway through the third on a bomb, but Colton added a second goal not long after that, burying his own rebound. Lodermeier added an insurance goal on a beautiful backhander.

This game wound up destroying Quinnipiac’s season. They lost 5 of their next 7 and missed the NCAA tournament. For the Catamounts, it was silverware outside of the Catamount Cup,  and a huge confidence boost going into the BU series two weeks later.

When we fans criticize the team down the stretch? It’s because we know they’re capable of games like this.

And I’ll leave you with this Twitter video of Coach Sneddon and the squad celebrating their tournament triumph in Ulster.

USHL Draft Recap

The United States Hockey League draft has concluded, and three Catamounts were taken in the two-phase draft.

In Phase I, the Lincoln Stars, current club of UVM commits Christian Evers and Carter Long, selected UVM’s newest recruit, Kyle Mandleur, in the fourth round. Mandleur, who currently plays for the Mercer Chiefs U16 team in Hamilton, New Jersey, committed to UVM last wek. This season, he posted 29 points in 23 games in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League U16 level. He’s already got great size, standing at 6’4″ and weighing 231 lbs according to EliteProspects, which should serve him well at the junior and college levels. Mark Bilotta, a scout for NeutralZone.net, describes him as “deceptively quick with a quick shot and a lot of momentum.” Let’s see how a few years of seasoning can up his game.

In Phase II, a pair of UVM recruits were drafted. First, in the ninth round, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders selected Andrew Lucas. Lucas, a 5’9″ defender, was phenomonal in his junior season at Loomis Chafee school in Connecticut, earning a spot on the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association’s First Team All-New England West, posting 28 points in 24 games according to US Hockey Report. The native of Alexandria, Virginia, is a converted forward. Jeff Cox describes him as “a very good skater who moves the puck well and gets shots on net from the point” and that “he has an active stick and his skating allows him to make up for what he lacks in size in the defensive end.”

And finally, in the sixteenth round, the Dubuque Fighting Saints took a flier on Bryce Misley. Misley is the most hyped recruit UVM has right now, and according to a source close to his junior team, the Oakville Blades, he’ll be headed to UVM next season, a year ahead of schedule. He will likely be drafted into the NHL this summer and that will likely decides if he heads to Dubuque for seasoning or straight to UVM. He played basically the entire OJHL playoffs battling a leg injury and still posted 14 points in 16 games after a 62 point regular season in 46 games. My source describes him as “wicked with the puck. A great skater, strongest asset is his playmaking, can dangle with ease,” and an “easy top-6 forward.” He’s also got solid size at 6’2.”

Season Recap: The Forwards

Sorry this one took so long. Was swamped with schoolwork and there’s a LOT to crunch here.

The third of our three-part series recapping UVM hockey’s season. Today we look at the forwards.

For Part One, focusing on goaltenders, click here.

For Part Two, focusing on defenders, click here.


WOMEN

Ève-Audrey Picard (Fr.) – 38 GP, 16-15-31

Alyssa Gorecki (So.) – 38 GP, 13-12-25

Saana Valkama (So.) – 35 GP, 7-17-24

Victoria Andreakos (Sr.) – 34 GP. 9-19-18

Bridget Baker (Sr.) – 36 GP, 12-5-17

Cassidy Campeau (Sr.) – 38 GP, 7-9-16

Mackenzie MacNeil (Jr.) – 35 GP, 5-4-9

Kourtney Menches (Jr.) – 34 GP, 5-3-8

Ali O’Leary (Fr.) – 38 GP, 1-5-6

Sarah Kelly (Sr.) – 35 GP, 3-2-5

Casey Leveillee (Sr.) – 38 GP, 1-4-5

Bella Webster (Jr.) – 34 GP, 1-2-3

Allie Granato (Fr.) – 18 GP, 0-1-1

The top two lines were terrific this season, led by a trio of underclassmen. Early in the season I called Picard UVM’s most talented player since Pelkey left. High praise, sure, but after setting new program records in goals and points by a freshman, she has definitely earned it. Her and Gorecki went OFF in the playoffs against Providence. Valkama was also sensational despite missing a couple of games with injuries and a trip to the Four Nations. The trio of seniors – Andreakos, Baker, and Campeau – were an excellent second grouping as well; not only did they contribute offensively, but Baker and Campeau were excellent on the PK. The rest of the squad, though their numbers were relatively unremarkable, had their moments (MacNeil’s two goals against Union, Kelly’s pair against Maine, and O’Leary’s first career goal being UVM’s biggest of the season forcing overtime in the WHEA semis). It has to be stated that the seniors did more than contribute on the ice; their contribution to bettering the culture of UVM women’s hockey from a losing one to a winning one put us in the position to land great players like Valkama, Picard, and Gorecki. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for this team, and what kind of contribution Coach Plumer’s next class brings.


MEN

Mario Puskarich (Sr.) – 32 GP, 12-17-29

Ross Colton (Fr.) – 33 GP, 12-15-27

Brian Bowen (So.) – 33 GP, 12-15-27

Brendan Bradley (Sr.) – 31 GP, 6-14-20

Craig Puffer (So.) – 36 GP, 11-8-19

Jarrid Privitera (Jr.) – 34 GP, 8-11-19

Brady Shaw (Sr.) – 34 GP, 8-11-19

Derek Lodermeier (Fr.) – 37 GP, 4-14-18

Matt Alvaro (Fr.) – 31 GP, 8-5-13

Rob Darrar (Jr.) – 20 GP, 7-6-13

Liam Coughlin (So.) – 31 GP, 3-8-11

Tom Forgione (Sr.) – 23 GP, 4-5-9

Anthony Petruzzelli (Jr.) – 27 GP, 3-6-9

Travis Blanleil (Jr.) – 28 GP, 4-3-7

Kevin Irwin (Jr.) – 11 GP, 0-4-4

Drew Best (So.) – 10 GP, 0-4-4

Conor O’Neil (So.) – 4 GP, 1-1-2

Malcolm McKinney (Sr.) – 1 GP, 0-0-0

If there’s one word I can think of to describe this year’s UVM men’s crop, it was fun. The offense was effective (15th in the nation in goals per game), fast-paced, and flowed nicely. The team got contributions from all over the lineup, but the freshman group stood out (minus Cam Klein who didn’t play). Colton is obviously the highlight, with the NHL draft pick status and all, but Alvaro and Lodermeier were fantastic as well. The group of sophomores was okay, with Bowen exploding onto the scene and Puffer contributing well; as for the rest of the Class of 2019, Best looked good in limited minutes after not playing at all his freshman year, Coughlin was a bit iffy (his point total actually went down from his first year), and I can’t really say anything about O’Neil as he blew out his ACL early in the season. As for the juniors…Jarrid Privitera was solid once again, and Rob Darrar was terrific when he wasn’t hurt; Petruzzelli and Blanleil did okay (and I’d be willing to bet one of them is next year’s captain). But I’d be worried for Kevin Irwin’s future with the team; he only played two games post-Belfast and seemed to lose his spot in the rotation to Best.

To the senior class. Mario Puskarich graduates as one of the best forwards in recent UVM history. The first to hit 50 goals and 100 points since JC Ruid in the days of St. Louis and Perrin, despite injuries his sophomore year, a lack of a good linemate his junior year, and suspension his senior year. He played his best hockey since that freshman year where he was Hockey East Rookie of the Year. He’s started his pro career quickly, with 7 points in his first 8 ECHL games. Then comes Bradley, whose contribution on the defensive side was almost as big as his offensive game. Brady Shaw brought physicality and some offense, although it’s a shame he was never able to replicate his 19-goal sophomore season. Truculence Tom Forgione was the little bugger and fan favorite that he always was, and his winner against BU was probably the best UVM hockey moment I’ve seen live. McKinney…only played on Senior Night due to some injuries, partially because there were other players in the lineup who were better and partially because he missed the early season with a finger injury.

As for the future of this team, I’m really excited to see a few things. What can Ross Colton become? Can Brian Bowen build on his breakout year – and Craig Puffer too? What kind of impact will the new recruits have? Who will replace Puskarich’s finishing, Bradley’s two-way ability, Shaw’s physicality, and Forgione’s energy? I’m excited to find out.


That’s it for our season recap. As for the rest of the offseason:

  • Season recaps for recruits and alumni. Recruits will probably be up first with the end of the junior season near
  • Preview of the UVM Hockey Class of 2021 when it’s officially out
  • Preview of the UVM schedule when it comes out
  • Preview of the rest of Hockey East
  • Any major breaking news in UVM land
  • And hopefully more!

Season Recap: The Defense

The second of our three-part series recapping UVM hockey’s season. Today we look at the defenders.

For Part One, focusing on goaltenders, click here.


WOMEN

Taylor Willard (Jr.) – 38 GP, 4-12-16

Daria O’Neill (So.) – 38 GP, 1-15-16

Rachael Ade (Sr.) – 38 GP, 7-7-14

Amanda Drobot (Jr.) – 37 GP, 1-8-9

Katherine Pate (Jr.) – 36 GP, 2-4-6

Sammy Kolowrat (So.) – 35 GP, 1-4-5

Rachel Khalouf (So.) – 17 GP, 0-1-1

Improvement across the board offensively; only Willard had fewer points than 2015-16 (she had 19). Ade in particular had a huge jump up in production, with 6 points in each of her first three seasons but 14 as a senior. The shots  against remained the same, around 30 per game, but the goals against went way down (2.34 per game this season as opposed to 3.24 last year), and the PK was dazzling, at one point going almost two months without a power play goal against. Now some would attribute it to improved goaltending…but I  think the D improved as well this year. The only teams that really poured on the shots against the Cats were BC (who the Cats managed to push to OT twice, including the 2OT instant classic in the WHEA semis), Robert Morris (in the second game of a road series, and the Cats did come away with a point), and Clarkson (I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they kind of just won a thing). Even BU and Northeastern were outshot on multiple occasions by the Cats.

Only one loss in the senior class in the form of Rachael Ade. Per HockeyTech’s commits list, the Cats do have one defender coming in next season, Anna Erickson from the Minnesota Revolution.

Apologies this won’t have as much stats as the men’s will have…advanced stats for the women’s game are not readily available. Given that many of the #FancyStats crowd I’ve seen are women…get it together people!


MEN

Rob Hamilton (Sr.) – 38 GP, 10-11-21

Matt O’Donnell (Fr.) – 36 GP, 3-10-13

Trey Phillips (Jr.) – 31 GP, 3-7-10

Chris Muscoby (Sr.) – 27 GP, 1-8-9

Jake Massie (Fr.) – 29 GP, 0-7-7

Corey Moriarty (Fr.) – 19 GP, 1-4-5

Ori Abramson (Sr.) – 22 GP, 1-3-4 – His year situation’s complicated…and also relatable

Mike Lee (So.) – 15 GP, 0-3-3

Max Daigle (Fr.) – 8 GP, 0-3-3 – Departed after first semester

This year’s crop on D was freshman heavy, with four first-years heading into the season. Daigle left in December, but everyone else stuck around and showed rather well. Matt O’Donnell gets a LOT of flak, and though he’s shaky defensively, I think he’s got quite a bit of talent offensively and proved as such throughout the year. Massie looked fairly solid once he adapted; he’s nothing great offensively but has decent size and mobility and can get into passing lanes. As for Moriarty…I feel like half the times I watched him, he was hemmed in his own zone and unable to get out.

Now to the upperclassmen. Mike Lee played less than his freshman year, so really tough to judge any improvement…though I’d be concerned that you’re losing your spot to a newbie. Ori Abramson’s injury, in my opinion, was probably the turning point of UVM’s season when the team started to dip; they badly missed his size. Muscoby was Muscoby, solid but not great, and Trey Phillips had a nice run in December when he had 3 game winners in 4 games, but was otherwise fairly unremarkable.

And then we get to Robbie Hamilton. My good grief. Two goals his first three years combined…10 this year. Throw in 11 assists and the best he’s ever been defensively, and I don’t think I’ve seen a guy turn around this quickly at UVM. I’d heard some rumors during the fall that he was the intended second cut on D and not Mitch Ferguson, and that he’d asked Sneddon for a second chance. I don’t know if there’s truth to that – we’ll probably never know – but on a UVM team that, going into the season, didn’t really have a go-to #1 D…this guy comes out of NOWHERE and puts together the first 10-goal season by a defender since Louis Côté.  Mike Paliotta couldn’t do it. Aaron Miller couldn’t do it. Drew MacKenzie couldn’t do it. Kenny MacAulay couldn’t do it. Rob Hamilton did.

The Cats on the season were a positive possession team in all situations except the power play, with a 51.4 CF% overall, 52.3 CF% on even strength, and 53.2 CF% in one-goal or tie situations. Remove blocked shots, and though the numbers change, the point stands: the Cats had the puck more than they didn’t, and you’ve got to transition the puck from defense to attack. The D did just that this year.

The Cats have, at the very least, Christian Evers and Owen Grant coming in next season. Evers is ex-NTDP who decommitted from North Dakota; Grant is coming off a year in which he was named CCHL Defenseman of the Year. Let’s see who joins them; this D corps has a lot of potential.