So the last four days for UVM hockey have been…interesting. Ups, downs, “meh”s, and under-the-radar stuff. Let’s get down to business and go over them.
Ah yes, my favorite time of year: THE NEWCOMERS HAVE ARRIVED.
This season, UVM women’s hockey welcomes nine newcomers – eight first-years plus one transfer. This class includes a goalkeeper, three defenders, and five forwards. So without further ado, let’s get going.
It’s been over two months since Vermont hockey last took to the ice – the 5-1 loss to UMass that eliminated men’s hockey from the playoffs. Yeah, sorry this took so damn long, but finals as well as other sports coverage (shoutout to men’s lacrosse) wiped me out.
Now that the season is done and dusted, let’s look back. We’ll start with a look at the women’s season, followed by our autopsy on the men’s season.
One thing that even I’ve blasted Kevin Sneddon for in this space is overrecruitment: snagging more verbal commits than you can give scholarships and playing time to. But is UVM really this bad in this area? I decided to take a look.
I used EliteProspects for recruits, although it’s not perfect (UVM has 3 players listed there – Max Sauve, Christian Thomas, and Ocean Wiesblatt – that I know decommitted, so I omitted them from the count) it’s probably the easiest way.
In bar graph form:
Not only is UVM not top-5, they’re not even top 10. I have some thoughts here:
- I’m including transfers in this (Alabama-Huntsville’s Jake Theut from Northeastern, Michigan Tech’s Matt Jurusik from Wisconsin, BC’s Ben Finkelstein from SLU, etc.)
- The average amount of commits for a school is 19, rounded up to the nearest full number.
- No team should EVER have 30+ commitments. So shame on CC, Wisconsin, and Michigan. By the way, the Michigan number is more reflective of Mel Pearson than Red Berenson; two-thirds of those commits have come since he was hired last summer. (On the other hand, half of Tech’s commits were Joe Shawhan’s, and Tech fans seem to think he’ll be cutting down on the overrecruitment.)
- Really, shame on the Big Ten (what else is new), only Penn State and Ohio State have fewer than 25 commits. The message I see to the other 5 teams is that they want to replace their entire team within
- The Alaskas being so low makes sense when you consider their unstable future. Didn’t expect Ferris to be that low, though.
- UNH being so low was a legitimate surprise for me. Maybe the down years are taking a toll?
To further specialize, let’s take a look at Hockey East, shall we?
Middle of the pack, and not much would separate them from being in the bottom 3!
I’m gonna take the L here – while UVM is recruiting over the average amount, it’s not a problem that is HORRENDOUSLY bad. I stand by the bulk of my criticisms of Sneddon, but I’ll backtrack on this one for now.
Alright, here we go.
(1) St. Cloud over (4) Air Force
Cloud is just better. Air Force was up and down all season, but in their comparable OOC game (@Denver) they got slaughtered 6-0. I don’t think it’ll be this bad – goalie Billy Christopoulos has been playing out of his mind lately – but the Huskies’ fourth-ranked offense is just going to be too much for the Falcons.
(2) Minnesota State over (3) Minnesota Duluth
These two teams actually met in OOC, splitting, with the home team winning both games. So it’s basically a coin flip. Mankato has been the most underrated team in the country this season in my opinion, with a powerful offense (most goals per game in the nation) and stellar defense (4th in GAA) and the best CF% in the nation. I think that gets you past a UMD team that made the tournament by the skin of their teeth, especially with an added week of rest after losing the WCHA semis to a white-hot Michigan Tech.
(2) Minnesota State over (1) St. Cloud
This is another coin flip. The road team won both games in OOC. The stats say Mankato; even though they did play inferior competition, until that WCHA semifinal they had lost just one game in 2018 (a 5-0 loss in a trap game at Alaska). I wasn’t convinced by SCSU’s NCHC tournament (barely escaping Miami, then scraping by North Dakota in OT before getting crushed by Denver in the final). Granted I could hold that against Mankato as well, but I’ve been high on them all year.
(4) Princeton over (1) Ohio State
34, 36, 43, 54, 58. That is the final Pairwise ranking of Ohio State’s OOC opponents. They have not had a test all season, so I’m not convinced by their (superior) underlying numbers. I’m not counting the Big Ten as a test because most of those teams played only cupcakes in OOC, so we don’t know how actually good they really are because their RPI is inflated by winning gimmes, and as you’ll see I expect to see them exposed as paper tigers. Meanwhile, Princeton is hot after knocking off the top 3 seeds in the ECAC en route to a tournament title, and their OOC includes two ties against St. Cloud. I’m riding the hot hand. Also, they have the third-best offense in the nation, and that matches up interestingly with the sixth-best defense in the nation (though again, consider their foes…)
(2) Denver over (3) Penn State
Denver played Penn State off the ice last year in the NCAAs, and Penn State came in on fire after winning the B1G and hanging 10 on Union in the first round. They’re not that hot this year and Denver is the hot hand now. Penn State will have essential home ice playing in Allentown, but Denver’s just flat-out better; despite Guy Gadowsky being known for a “SHOOT THE PUCK FOREVER” style of offense and PSU’s cupcake OOC, Denver actually had better possession metrics, and give me Tanner Jaillet over Peyton Jones any day. They’ve been there before.
(2) Denver over (4) Princeton
Denver’s just flat-out better. Princeton arrived ahead of schedule, and their future is bright. But the Pioneers have the talent and experience to head back to the Frozen Four.
(1) Cornell over (4) Boston
This regional in Worcester is interesting in that I think three of the teams could get out of the conference. BU is hot, going seven unbeaten to end the season, but Cornell has been stupendous all year with their defense and goaltending despite losing to a hot Princeton in the ECAC semis. BU actually has better underlying numbers, but I think Mike Schafer should be able to out coach David Quinn, and the goaltending should see Cornell through.
(3) Northeastern over (2) Michigan
We all know how much of a dumpster fire this UVM men’s season was. Guess who Michigan’s best win against a non-B1G team was? Yup, the Wolverines are another paper tiger and one that went 0-5 against a team in conference that wasn’t even #1 (Ohio State), and who got outplayed in both of their “quality” OOC games (losing 3-0 to Clarkson and 6-4 to Bowling Green, and the only reason that was that close was because BG took their foot off the gas with a comfortable lead). Northeastern’s offense is lethal, especially on the PP, and Michigan can’t kill penalties and gave up more goals per game than UVM did this year. And unlike 2016, the Huskies actually have a goalie that can make a save in Cayden Primeau. Both have similar underlying numbers but…just take the freaking Huskies, seriously, Michigan is criminally overrated.
(1) Cornell over (3) Northeastern
Coin flip. Elite offensive team (Cornell has the lowest GAA) vs. elite defensive team (Northeastern has the 5th most goals per game). Similar underlying numbers. I’m leaning defense here, so that’s why I’m going with Big Red to punch their ticket to Minneapolis. But any of Cornell, Northeastern, or BU could make the Frozen Four and make an impact.
(4) Michigan Tech over (1) Notre Dame
Oooooh, this is my hottest take. Notre Dame is ripe for an upset, riding a PDO bubble and being a net-negative possession team (Tech is about 50-50). In addition, Tech is hot, beating two very good teams (Mankato and Northern Michigan) in the last two rounds of the WCHA tournament. If Cale Morris wasn’t posting a stupid .946, and was closer to average, you would not be considering the Irish as a title contender or even a tournament team. And Tech’s shown they can beat elite goaltending after lighting up Michael Bitzer (you know, the guy who’s posted the second most shutouts in NCAA history) in the WCHA quarters. And they’ve got hot goaltending, as after replacing an injured Devin Kero, ex-UVM keeper Packy Munson has a .968 in the WCHA semis and final, and was also huge early in the season in helping Tech win the Ice Breaker. That’s clutch. Oh, and Tech’s played the whole postseason on the road, which will benefit them at a neutral site more than Notre Dame playing at home.
(2) Providence over (3) Clarkson
Providence to me is a boom or bust team depending on how Hayden Hawkey plays. If he’s even passable, the Friars could win it all with stupendous underlying numbers and a balanced roster. If he’s bad, and he has been at times this year, they’re cooked. They did go 0-2 against Clarkson in the regular season, but Clarkson ended their regular season in a death spiral after their PDO bubble popped. Jake Kielly is an amazing goalie, but if he’s not playing at an elite level Clarkson is likely screwed, and you could tell that for most of 2018, he’s been experiencing burnout. I expect that to continue in the NCAAs.
(2) Providence over (4) Michigan Tech
Road ends here for Cinderella Tech. Notre Dame has a PDO bubble and underwhelming underlying numbers. Providence has neither. The Friars will get more chances and not have to rely on goaltending as much as the Irish, and that should be enough to see them through unless Munson plays the game of his life.
Denver over Minnesota State
I went back and forth on this one. I think the Pioneers’ big-game experience is going to pay huge dividends. This is where having a set bracket sucks because I think this would be a hell of a national championship game – these two and St. Cloud are honestly my three most likely title picks.
Providence over Cornell
Okay, this one’s just gut feeling. Plus the fact that Cornell lost in the ECAC semifinals to Princeton. Can’t really back it up with evidence or stats…
Denver over Providence
Yes, the Pios repeat. They have a better balance than Providence and more reliable goaltending, and unlike the Friars have proven they can come up big on the big stage (crushing St. Cloud in the NCHC final this year and winning the natty last year, while PC lost the Hockey East final to BU and got beat 3-0 by Harvard in the NCAAs last year after being crushed in the Hockey East Octofinals).
I’m going to do a series-by-series analysis for each quarterfinal matchup, not just UVM’s.
(1) Boston College vs (8) Vermont
Analysis: Welp. The doomsday scenario happened (BU and UConn both swept last weekend and UVM lost). So it’s off to Conte Forum, as UVM faces a team they haven’t beaten in the Plumer era, though they did come close last month (taking them to OT in the first game and leading in the third in the second before Toni Ann Miano put an end to that).
The first thing UVM needs to do to have a chance is get the offense going again. They’ve scored just three goals in the last four games. They’ll also need to play stupendous on D, which is something they did at Conte a couple weeks ago. And of course, Sydney Scobee is going to have to step up and be a money goalie. Basically: everything needs to go perfect. That’s how good BC is, even without Megan Keller and Cayla Barnes. I know UVM will give maximum effort – I’ve seen this team all season and know that they always give 100% – but will that be enough against this juggernaut who is on a collision course with Wisconsin for a national title showdown?
Prediction: Gaaah. My heart says UVM. I’ve seen how this team plays against big opponents, and they have a ton of heart, especially in high-stakes games. My brain would’ve agreed if we were playing Providence or even Maine. But BC is a different animal. You have to be better than perfect to beat them. I’ll give UVM a game, but BC probably will take the series.
(2) Providence vs (7) UConn
Analysis: So this is an interesting one. Providence has been pretty good all season, but they’ve stumbled late, with a 7 game winless funk from January 20 to February 11. That included an OT loss to these very Huskies at Freitas Ice Forum. UConn, on the other hand, has been on a tear lately, having lost just one game in the last month (the 1-0 loss to UVM at Pack the Gut). The Huskies’ D and goaltending has been solid, and the UVM series aside their offense has really heated up lately, while Providence’s offense hasn’t scored more than 2 goals in a game since January 13. That being said, the Friars have defended home ice well this season with a 11-4-1 record at Schneider Arena while UConn has won just three games away from Storrs this season. It’s an interesting juxtaposition: Providence is slumping but has home ice and a decent record at home, while UConn is hot but has been bad on the road.
Prediction: I think the form will hold up more than the home ice. UConn is rolling, and as much as I love Vermont native Madison Myers, I just think Annie Belanger is more likely to steal a playoff game. Huskies take it in three, and PC gets upset at home in round 1 for the second year in a row.
(3) Maine vs (6) Boston University
Analysis: Another interesting one where the high seed has struggled. Maine sat at 16-6-3 on January 13 and 9th in the national polls. Since then, they have gone a dismal 1-6-2, and have only scored more than two goals once in that stretch (the lone win, a 3-0 win over rivals UNH). They did sweep the season series over the inconsistent Terriers (who come in having won 5 of 7), but the playoffs are a different beast. That said, I’m looking forward to this battle of two of my favorite non-UVM players to watch in WHEA: Maine’s Tereza Vanišová and BU’s Victoria Bach. BU will be motivated by this being the last run for their dynamic duo of Bach and Rebecca Leslie, so there’s an underlying motivation, I guess.
Prediction: While Maine has slumped lately, goaltending wins you games in the playoffs. And in my opinion, Carly Jackson is a better goalie than Corrine Schroeder right now. I think Maine’s offense gets going again and they take the series in 3.
(4) Northeastern vs (5) New Hampshire
Analysis: This is as even as you can get for a first round matchup. Both teams are quite similar across most categories. Both have no one true star. Both have terrific freshman goalies. Both sit around .500. Both were better at home than on the road. Northeastern was a bit better offensively but UNH was better defensively. If there’s one playoff series to watch, it’s probably this one.
Prediction: It’s really a battle of “do you value home ice” vs “do you buy into defense wins championships.” I think home ice holds and the Huskies get it done in 3 with at least one OT game.
Before I get to talking about BU, let’s iron out the teams you’re looking out for if you want home ice for UVM:
- UMass plays at a white-hot UConn tonight and Providence on Saturday. UVM just needs to equal or outpoint them.
- UNH plays a home and home with Northeastern this weekend. UVM can afford to be level on points with the Wildcats due to UVM owning the tiebreaker.
- Merrimack would need to sweep and for UVM to get swept, but it’s still possible to catch UVM. They’re playing a home and home with Lowell…a team UVM can still catch if they and Merrimack both sweep.
Okay. So the BU Terriers. What a massive disappointment. With another season of eleven million draft picks, the Terriers were Hockey East’s preseason #1 and the nation’s #2. Now, they’re not even ranked in the national poll, and sit 7 points behind BC for first in fourth place.
So what’s been the problem? Well, replacing Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson isn’t easy, and BU’s new freshmen haven’t been able to step up as much, especially on the blueline. Their offense is better (19th in the nation in goals per game last year and 9th right now), but their D took a huge step back (from 9th to 27th in goals against average). Jake Oettinger also took a step back with his .928 SV% last year dropping to .907 this year.
I think part of it is coaching, for the record. BU tends to get caught in pond hockey situations where the D becomes a disorganized mess and they try to get too fancy offensively, leading to scoring chances the other way. David Quinn’s saving grace is his recruiting, where he gets a bunch of talented players. But I mean, come on, you’ve had elite recruiting classes year after year and yet you haven’t won any hardware without Jack Eichel and probably won’t make the tournament this year unless you win the autobid.
Three Things to Watch Out For:
- So Few Kills They’re Probably a Hanzo Main. BU’s penalty kill is the seventh-worst in the nation, which I guess makes sense for a team I’ve accused of playing pond hockey. If UVM can cash in on the PP, this weekend will be more winnable.
- Aghast at Agganis. Home ice has not played in BU’s favor this year, as the Terriers sit at 5-6-3 at home. That’s a far cry from the 13-3-2 they were last season. UVM has been solid on the road lately, so this could be a chance to solidify home ice.
- On His Greenway? It sounds like Jordan Greenway will be available for BU this weekend after playing on the US Olympic team. Greenway’s physicality could be a huge asset for the Terriers, and I think the three big defenders of UVM (Evers, Thomas, and Massie) will be important this weekend.
Games are Friday at 7:30 and Saturday at 7. BU streams through Stadium on their site for free.
Two crucial games to end the regular season. Will we be headed back to Gutterson? Or should we shutter the Gutt for the summer? This team’s gotta prove they want to come home and have 2-3 more games on home ice.
Big Cats Gotta Eat.
The picture above, which I grabbed from UVM Athletics’ Facebook page, was taken just over a year ago, December 9, 2016, a night that saw #12 UVM beat # BU 4-2.
The atmosphere in Gutterson was amazing that night. We had chant battles with the BU fans. When Ross Colton buried the empty netter, the part of the student section I stand in basically turned into a moshpit. And, more or less, that was the student section for much of my first 2.5 years here (I took a semester off after my first one, and will be graduating NEXT summer, so I got another year at UVM after this).
For those first 2.5 years, the student end was on point. You stood all game save for intermission, and there were plenty of chants, some creative (“We Hate Fracking” at North Dakota was my favorite) and some not (the nuclear “F— You [OTHER TEAM]” that was only ever broken out if we were getting slaughtered).
But this year? The student end has been dead from the time the first puck dropped against Colorado College. There’s no spirit, and the lack of enthusiasm has gotten to the point where students are chanting to get people to stand up. The Den flag has been AWOL for a few weeks. And this goes beyond just hockey – basketball hasn’t been great either, or soccer back in the fall, although for the latter there isn’t really a culture of student support (that’s something that I think could change as soccer has seen some great success recently, with an AE tourney title in 2015, an NCAA tournament home game in 2016, and an AE regular season title last year and some very exciting players).
So what’s not working? I don’t have the full answer. Most people I see tend to point toward marketing, some will point at the students, some will point to results (though I think the lackluster student atmosphere at basketball negates that). But here are some ideas I have to engage students at UVM athletic events.
- Separate GA from student tickets for men’s basketball, men’s soccer, and men’s hockey. It gets real awkward when 3/4 of your section is students who want to get rowdy and another quarter is GA people, usually older in demographics that don’t want to deal with that riffraff. This is a minor thing, but maybe making the two sections next to the band the student section and leave section 12 to GA? I’d happily sacrifice my spot in the middle of Section 12, Row Q if it meant a more organized setup. Women’s sports don’t tend to draw a whole lot, but if one of them explodes in popularity out of nowhere (maybe women’s basketball gets back to the early-90s glory days, or women’s hockey explodes), I would support this there as well.
- Dump the Clear Bag policy for men’s basketball and men’s hockey. Least likely to happen, but come on, no one likes this. It alienates half your fanbase (women, especially mothers of infants who can no longer bring in diaper bags), and for…what reason, exactly? More leg room? I’m sorry, but no one ever complained about my totes the last couple of years, and I recently got a new bag that is even smaller…but is still too big. (And I need a bag not just because I’m a woman, but because I am a type 1 diabetic and need to carry supplies as well – a glucometer, fast-acting sugar, emergency infusion sets and batteries for my pump, etc.) “Oh but other schools are implementing it!” Maybe that’s part of why a lot of athletic events are seeing a decrease in attendance? Don’t adopt the policy of a league (NFL) whose attendance is declining if you don’t want your own attendance to drop (and hell I’ve seen people literally drop going to NFL/CFB games just because of it). And most people aren’t aware of it until they get to the Gutt, only to be told “you can’t bring that in.” By that point, especially if you’re a student living on campus without a car, it’s too much of a pain in the butt to walk back to your dorm (unless you live on Athletic) and it’s too risky to leave it at the door. So what do you do? Skip on the game and spend your time doing something else. If you want to know how small your bag has to be to go in, I think the limit is 4.5″ x 6″. My hand, from wrist to tip of my middle finger, is roughly 8″. Good luck finding a bag literally smaller than the average person’s hand! I get no backpacks or seat cushions with backs. But even turning people away for a purse? C’mon, you’re being daft. TL;DR: The clear bag policy is sexist, screws mothers of small children, and makes people prefer to stay home and stream instead of showing up to games. DON’T USE IT.
- Market Stronger. As a sports writer and someone whose passion for UVM athletics is a bit…over-the-top, I’m an oddball in that I know when all the games are. But the average UVM student has no idea. The only knowledge we have of upcoming games comes in the form of emails, which is pretty ineffective at a school where not reading e-mails (current students and recent grads know what I’m talking about) is basically a meme, and posters…on Athletic Campus. Which if they’re not coming in the first place, how are they supposed to know to come? More promotion of upcoming games would be nice. Flyers in busy areas where students will be, such as the Davis Center and the dining halls, would be a good start.
- Incentives to Come to Games. Kinda goes in hand with 3, but to get students to the games, you usually have to dangle a carrot in their face. When I first came to UVM, there were fan fests at the indoor track with pizza and free stuff if you came early. That gets people to show up! The only time I can recall one of those over the last 12 months was the America East Championship basketball game. It doesn’t have to be that specifically, but some sort of incentive would be nice. And no, the Cat Pride Club app doesn’t really count when A) so few people know it exists and B) there’s only 3 prizes (a scarf, a frisbee, and a license plate holder).
- Spirit Squad. A lot of student sections across the country have leaders that also function as something of a spirit squad that gets the students excited. (UNH, for example, has the “Cat Pack Captains.”) Why doesn’t UVM? It would probably also help marketing, as – speaking from the point of view of a student – it means a lot more coming from other students than it does from higher-ups. Hell, this squad could also host watch parties for road games and stuff like that (an idea I’m taking from Mitch’s Misfits at Michigan Tech, who hosts one every week). And yes, I would volunteer if such a squad became a thing, so I’m not just offering empty talk, I’ll put my money where my mouth is if I have to (I’ve been pondering trying to start something up for soccer, but I don’t quite have the networking/people skills to pull it off on my own).
Look. I don’t have all the answers to this problem. But UVM needs to find some. Our student-athletes deserve better than what they’ve gotten this year in terms of support. And I know we only have 3 home games max left (none at all at worst), but the offseason gives you 7-8 months to get some sort of plan together, and much of that is empty summer nothingness. Why not spend it helping set up the best home field/ice/court advantage for our student-athletes?
With tonight’s game against Northeastern, five players will be playing their final regular season game at the Gutt. Now, there may be more home games depending on if we can secure home ice…but still, I do these on senior day.
There were some ups and downs with this group, whether it be the solid 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, the unlucky 2015-16 season, or this one. But still, they put in the work for four years and deserve recognition.
Let’s recognize those playing their last regular season games at Gutterson today.
#10 – Forward – Travis Blanleil
Career Statistics: 89 GP, 7-6-13
Blanleil doesn’t pop out on the stat sheet, and he’s a small guy. But I’m not sure there’s a person on this roster that (from the eye test) busts his ass more than him. A fierce forechecker and relentless backchecker, along with a positive presence in the locker room, Blanleil always gave 100% effort, whether UVM was trailing 5-0, winning 5-0, or duking it out in a tie game.
#19 – Forward – Jarrid Privitera
Career Statistics: 134 GP, 27-32-59
When Jarrid’s brother Alexx left BU in 2013, Jarrid also decommitted from the Terriers, electing to go with his brother. And when Alexx chose UVM, so, too, did Jarrid. Over his four-year career, Privitera has provided some solid scoring from the middle-six, and has contributed defensively as well on the PK.
#23 – Forward – Rob Darrar (C)
Career Statistics: 107 GP, 12-22-34
I’ll be honest and say I was really surprised when Darrar was named captain. A former teammate of Privitera’s at Dubuque, Darrar was in the midst of a career year as a junior before an injury took the wind out of his sails. He’s still solid, but is playing a bottom-six depth scorer and power play point man role as opposed to a top 6 role.
#26 – Defender – Trey Phillips
Career Statistics: 99 GP, 4-11-15
Phillips is an oddball, having joined the team midway through the 2014-15 season alongside Ori Abramson. An undersized defender, he’s one of only 3 righties on the team. He actually played forward at Brooks, but D at UVM. Never a staple in the lineup, he nevertheless carved out a decent role with the team.
#28 – Forward – Anthony Petruzzelli
Career Statistics: 134 GP, 21-21-42
Had UVM held on for the tie, “Rico” would have been the hero last night. A key scorer for some good Brooks teams in junior, Petruzzelli didn’t fill that role at UVM, but rather that of a bottom-six depth scorer and penalty killer. He did give us one memorable moment, though: the OT winner at Conte in 2015 that gave UVM its first win against the Eagles in 5 years.
Thanks for the four years everyone, and good luck.
I don’t know what’s weirder: the fact that UVM, after showing zero signs of life in November and December, has gone 7 games unbeaten, or the fact that Northeastern is the reigning Beanpot champions.
Maybe the fact that both are true?
The Catamounts have been one of the hottest teams in the country lately with their 7-game unbeaten streak. But now they face a tough test in a strong Northeastern team on an emotional high after becoming legends on Huntington Avenue, ending 30 years of Beanpot misery for the Huskies behind an Adam Gaudette hat trick.
This Northeastern team scores a ton of goals – they are tied for 7th in goals per game. But unlike last year, they can actually keep the puck out of the net and are 7th in goals against per game. Ryan Ruck is still there, and he’s still mediocre, but he’s also injured at the moment. But Cayden Primeau has stolen the show and the starting job with a .926 SV%, making me eat my words on him from the start of the year.
Three Things to Look Out For:
- Oh God That Top Line. You simply cannot beat Northeastern by trying to outgun the top line of Gaudette, Dylan Sikura, and Nolan Stevens, a unit that has combined for 121 points. Gaudette and Sikura are the top two scorers in the country, and Gaudette has the most goals in the nation. UVM is going to have to try and slow them down with good positioning and reading the game and outgunning the bottom 3 lines.
- Emotions All Over. On one side, Northeastern is coming off an emotional high of getting that Beanpot monkey off their back. On the other, it’s UVM’s senior weekend, and that’s always an emotional time. Look for a highly spirited affair, and I expect the emotional state of the teams to affect the play.
- NU Road Semi-Woes. The Huskies are 17-8-5, but they’ve been pretty shaky on the road, with a 4-4-3 record away from Matthews (and TD Garden which was basically Matthews…what direction is TD Garden from Matthews? I’m not an expert in Boston geography). They have not won a single game outside of the state of Massachusetts. That’s an interesting observation, and unless I’m missing something, Vermont is not a part of Massachusetts. If the Cats can get some home cooking going, I’m more optimistic.
Games are Friday and Saturday at 7. Keep the momentum going.
UVM students, I know I’ve been critical…but let’s give the team the best home ice advantage we can on senior weekend and keep pushing for Octofinals home ice – we’re one point up on UMass for the final home ice spot with a game in hand but UMass has the tiebreaker.