Women’s Preview: UVM @ Maine

Well, that road trip to UNH didn’t work out that great. Now it’s time to take on their archrivals.

The Cats, after starting 2-0, have gone five in a row without a win, but this game is winnable and a win would help get the season back on track.

The Black Bears have started 2-7, including a 5-1 home skunking at the hands of Merrimack. However, one of those wins was a big one that surprised a lot of women’s hockey fans – a 3-2 win over #5 BC on a last-minute goal by Vendula Přibylová. That definitely shows that, while not as strong as some of the other teams UVM has played, Maine is capable of surprises.

In goal, Maine has several options. Last year’s starter, Meghann Treacy, graduated, and so far this season it’s between Treacy’s ex-backup –  senior Mariah Fujimagari – and sophomore Carly Jackson, who didn’t play her freshman year. Though Fujimagari has more collegiate experience, Jackson has been by far the better goalkeeper this year (a .910 SV% compared to Fujimagari’s .822) and has seen the bulk of the work. Expect Jackson in goal at Alfond tomorrow.

The defense  remains relatively unchanged from last year. Ebba Strandberg has gotten off to a solid start in her collegiate career with three points in her first nine games, and is tied with sophomore Alison Matteau for the team lead in points among defenders. Other than the addition of Strandberg, Brittany Kucera, and Brittany Colton, and the loss of Brooklyn Langlois and Kelsey MacSorley, it’s the same group as last year, a group UVM defeated twice and drew once.

The forwards are where Maine has definitely changed. A pair of Czechs have given an international flavor to the Black Bears as well as scoring – Tereza Vanišová and the aformentioned Přibylová are 1-2 on the team in points. They did, however, lose last season’s top scorer Audra Richards to graduation, and she was one of only three Black Bears to hit double figures. The other forward to hit double-digit points last season was Brooke Stacey, who returns. Catherine Tufts and Morgan Sakundiak both return as well and each have potted a trio of goals so far this year. Even with the small sample size, you can tell this is a better offensive team.

After a bit of a slump, this is the perfect chance for the Catamounts to get back in the win column and take some momentum down to Providence next weekend.

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Men’s Preview: UVM @ #16 Northeastern

(Before we start, I did a Q&A with the guys over at the Northeastern Hockey Blog, which you can find here. Thanks for having me, guys!)

Sometimes, I like being an armchair coach/GM. As in, I’m glad I don’t have to make these hard decisions.

Sunday afternoon is one of those times. Four players suspended for hazing (including the top two scorers from last year) return, but with UVM clicking so well, how best to integrate them? In addition, the foe is going to be a formidable one in the defending Hockey East champions, and Kevin Sneddon admitted in postgame that this game would be tougher than Michigan.

The Huskies have started very well at 3-1-2, continuing their white-hot form from the end of last season. A quick look at the schedule shows that the lone blemish was never going to be easy, a 5-2 road loss at then-#2 Quinnipiac. That said, they’ve had some cake matchups early, including two each against Bentley (a fairly mediocre Atlantic Hockey school with arguably the worst arena in college hockey) and Arizona State (who’s not even in a conference). We’ll see if the Huskies are a legitimately good team or one that feeds off the weak.

The goaltending has seen some changes this year. Ryan Ruck keeps the bulk of the work, and has sported a .905 save percentage so far while playing every game. His backup last season was Derick Roy, who was to put it lightly, subpar (.840 SV%). However, this year, he’s been replaced by the Curtis Frye, who has yet to make his NCAA debut. The third-stringer is junior Jake Theut, who has yet to play in his college career either, so expect Ruck to start.

Defensively, Northeastern is similar to UVM in that it’s less physical and more skill. Freshman Ryan Shea, a Chicago Blackhawks pick, has started his season well with 3 points from 6 games, and sophomore Eric Williams and junior Garrett Cockerill have built on their solid seasons before. Jeremy Davies is one to watch; he’s been hyped by Northeastern fans since committing in 2014 and has started solidly enough this year. The team also added some additional experience in Garrett Cecere, a transfer from Colorado College. This defense is solid, deep, and has helped Ruck mask his mediocre SV% by suppressing shots.

The forwards is where Northeastern shines. The only major losses are Kevin Roy and Mike McMurtry to graduation, but the rest is relatively the same. Last year’s leading scorer, Zack Aston-Reese, has picked up where he left off last year with 10 points so far. Adam Gaudette (9 points) has thus far built on an excellent freshman campaign. Nolan Stevens is still a dangerous player. This is probably UVM’s biggest test: shut down this attack that has clicked so far to the tune of almost four goals per game. The return of Chris Muscoby will be a huge help.

I have no idea how Sneddon plans on reintegrating the guys coming back. If I were in his shoes, here’s how UVM would line up:

Puskarich-Colton-Bradley

Shaw/Best/Alvaro-Darrar-Bowen/Irwin

Privitera-Puffer-O’Neil/Coughlin/Petruzelli

Forgione-Lodermeier-Blanleil

Hamilton-O’Donnell

Muscoby/Phillips-Daigle

Moriarty/Massie/Lee-Abramson

Puskarich and Bradley compliment Colton better than Best/Alvaro and Irwin do, and Irwin hasn’t been that great so far this year anyway. Privitera and Puffer are killing it so I don’t want to break up that pairing, and the fourth line has also been great. As for the D, well, the imbalance of having more LHD than RHD really limits the options if Sneddon wants to keep having three pairs of lefty-righty. But hey, that’s why I’m not a DI NCAA head coach. Probably roll with Lekkas in goal while he’s hot, though I can also see the argument for Santaguida.

Northeastern, like any team that’s joined in 2016, streams their games for free, so expect a recap of this matinee.

 

Recap: UVM (M) 3, #11 Michigan 0

There truly is a first time for everything.

First meeting with Michigan.

First shutout for Stef Lekkas in his NCAA career.

First minute goal.

First collegiate goal for Matt Alvaro.

And ultimately, a first win in a first meeting against a very good team.

The Cats made zero changes to the side that won 5-2 in Omaha, and unlike those road games, the Cats got it going early. Michigan with a careless defensive zone turnover, then Derek Lodermeier with a nice drop pass to Tom Forgione, who finished top shelf to make it 1-0.

Minutes later, Lekkas makes an outstanding save on the PK to keep the lead intact, and then not long after that Matt Alvaro doubled the lead. Great drop pass by Kevin Irwin (who I’ve criticized a LOT), but Alvaro’s move to beat Cutler Martin was even more impressive.

Then, scoreless second, then Rob Hamilton grabs a power play marker midway through the third to put the game out of reach. Point shot, traffic in front, actually originally credited to Brian Bowen. 3-0 Cats and they’d hold onto it as the student section started chants of “OVERRATED” towards the 11th-ranked Wolverines.

And that marks five games into the season, which means all the guys suspended for hazing come back. This’ll be interesting going into the Northeastern game on Sunday. Normally I would’ve said Puskarich/Bradley in for Alvaro/Irwin and Muscoby in for Phillips (sorry Petruzzelli, but Lodermeier’s been quite impressive), but after tonight I’m less sure. Too many good players is a good problem to have, I’d say.

Some notes:

-Voting is currently going on to name the UVM student sections. The choices are The Den, The Summit, The Mountain, The Ice Box, and The Cage. I like The Den and  The Cage, wound up voting for Den as most of the people at the game liked it the most. (Doesn’t UNH use the Ice Box, anyway?)

-Michigan really started to lose discipline as the game went out of reach. Literally seconds after UVM scored on the PP, they take another penalty. (Speaking of officials thank GODDESS that they weren’t as strict this week)

-Kind of ironic that the first line (Shaw-Darrar-Bowen) has been the weakest so far. Maybe that’s where Sneddon makes his swaps? He said in postgame that he wants to integrate the unsuspended players in a way that doesn’t disrupt chemistry, and I’d hate to break up the fourth line or the Privitera-Puffer pairing. Maybe you go with the second line (Puskarich and Bradley compliment Colton better than Best/Irwin/Alvaro IMO). It’s a tough call. Good thing I’m not a Division I hockey coach.

-Four game road trip coming up.I want to see at least 2-2 from it, I’d be happy with 3-1 and ecstatic with 4-0.

-Shoutout to Stef Lekkas for making the awesome save mentioned above. Shutout isn’t a bad way to mark your Gutterson debut!

The Vermont Hockey Blog Three Stars of the Game

  1. Tom Forgione (UVM) – Early goal sent the Cats on their way, and his hustle caused problems for a lackadaisical Michigan squad.
  2. Stefanos Lekkas (UVM) – Gotta give the keeper credit for the shutout! He only really faced one tough shot on goal though. (Several blatant chances were blocked, including one notable one by Massie in the second.)
  3. Hayden Lavigne (Mich.) – The Michigan goalie was the only reason it wasn’t 7-0. This kid is going places.

Northeastern (men) and Maine (women) previews out probably tomorrow night.

Women’s Preview: UVM @ New Hampshire

Time to take a visit next door, as UVM women’s hockey embarks on a four-game road trip (with a bye week included) starting in Durham against New Hampshire.

On paper, the Wildcats, who lost the season series to the Catamounts 2-1 last season, look dreadful with a record of 1-7. However, a deeper look shows that they’ve had the schedule from hell; only one of their eight games was against an unranked foe, and that was a 6-2 spanking of Merrimack. Think UVM men’s hockey’s start last year.

In goal, it’s really unclear who the starter is. Both Kyra Smith and Hilary Cashin (…there’s a political pun in there that I’m too lazy to make) have played four games each. Cashin has the lone win and superior numbers, so if I’m head coach Hilary Witt I roll with her in net.

Defensively, it’s the same squad as last year, just a bit deeper with the addition of two freshmen in Lexie Rivkin and Tori Howran, as well as the move of one of their existing defenders to forward (we’ll get to that in a bit). Their defense has been awfully leaky, allowing two or more goals in every match so far, but again, that schedule may play a role.

Up top, the Wildcats are fairly young after losing five forwards to graduation. One of the more interesting stories is that of Kate Haslett. Last season she posted 9 points as a defender, but this season has seen her moved to forward to help fill in the depth. Redshirt senior Jonna Curtis is the star of the show, and she picked up where she left off last season (where she posted 33 points), posting 8 points for UNH so far. Freshman Carlee Turner has also gotten off to a great start, posting five points including a three point game in the Merrimack shellacking. That being said, the Merrimack game is the only time this season that New Hampshire has posted multiple goals. Again, though, that schedule could be an alibi…or a sign of bigger problems.

We’ll have previews of the Northeastern (men’s) and Maine (women’s) games on Sunday sometime Saturday.

Men’s Preview: #11 Michigan @ UVM

There’s a first time for everything. And for UVM hockey, it’s a first time on Friday.

On the evening where the pagan club will be celebrating sanhaim (THANKS A LOT HALLOWEEN, WE HAD TO MOVE SANHAIM BECAUSE OF YOU), the Catamounts will be welcoming the Michigan Wolverines and legendary head coach Red Berenson to Gutterson Fieldhouse for their first ever meeting. (Should be second, really. Screw you, Handpass College.)

The Wolverines went 25-8-5 last year, making it to the NCAA quarterfinals where they were kicked 5-2 by North Dakota. However, though they’ve started 3-1-1 (taking an L to Union on opening night, then winning three straight before a tie at home to Michigan Tech), this Wolverines team is nothing like last year’s. Starting goaltender Steve Racine has graduated, and several key players in front of that net turned pro early. This includes their entire top line of Tyler Motte, Kyle Connor, and JT Compher, and top defender Zach Werenski. With that much turnover, the Maize and Blue have had some early woes.

In goal, it’s not really clear if there is a #1. Freshmen Jack LaFontaine (a Carolina Hurricanes draft pick) and Hayden Lavigne have started two games each, while Zach Nagelvoort, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick who fell off immensely after his first season of college puck, has started one. This uncertainty could be both a blessing and a curse (blessing due to the ability to rotate but a curse due to, well, uncertainty). But if I’m pressured, I think it’ll be Lavigne after LaFontaine stopped 42 of 45 in their last game, a 3-3 draw with Michigan Tech.

Defensively, the Wolverines lost their two top-scoring defenders in Werenski and Michael Downing. However, junior Sam Piazza has almost equalled his sophomore output (six points) offensively already and has picked up some of the slack. Senior Nolan de Jong is hungry to prove to the NHL team that drafted him, the Minnesota Wild, that he deserves a contract. Two other NHL draftees dot the blueline in Joseph Cecconi and Nick Boka. However, the defense has struggled to produce points, as only Piazza has more than one point (he currently sits on five points). That said, the Wolverines have done a good job keeping opponents off the scoreboard, as their 2.20 goals against average ranks tenth in the country (tied with Ohio State).

Up front, the Wolverines’ offense has had to overcome the loss of the top scoring line in the country (Connor, Compher, and Motte combined for 190 points). Jake Slaker and Vancouver prospect Will Lockwood have looked good early in their collegiate careers as the freshmen have both posted 6 points so far. Two other draft picks, Brendan Warren and Nick Pastujov, have not looked so great early on, as Warren (a sophomore) is pointless in five and Pastujov (a freshman) has one point. That said, Michigan is averaging 3.20 goals per game…while solid, that’s only 20th in the country, but growing pains are to be expected with such a huge loss.

It’s Halloween at the Gutt.

The student tickets have sold out.

The Cats have momentum after surprising the crap out of a lot of people by taking three points of four from Omaha away, and they have the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week (shoutout to Stefanos Lekkas!)

Now, let’s keep it going.

Recap: #7 St. Lawrence 2, UVM (W) 1

There is nothing worse than a big-time last-minute goal against. Nothing.

It’s deflating after 59 minutes of hockey, you barely have time to respond, and it just feels like no matter what, whether it be an equalizer or a go-ahead goal, you are destined to lose.

And that’s what happened tonight. SLU grabbed a last-minute game-winner to prevail 3-2 and sweep the Cats in a weekend series.

The Cats took the lead early on a pretty weak goal, if I’ll admit it. Kourtney Menches with a shot from the far side hashmarks, and I have no clue how it went in. Even looking at the replay afterwords. Looks to me like Grace Harrison, SLU’s New Zealander goalie, bobbled it in. Regardless, it was a 1-0 lead.

After an even first period, the second was all SLU, as the Cats only mustered two shots on goal. Despite this, the defense had done well to make all of SLU’s chances low-danger. But make one mistake and they’ll make you pay, as Kennedy Marchment did midway through the period. She intercepted a pass at the blueline, worked her way in on a shorthanded breakaway, and ripped a beauty over the glove of Madi Litchfield to tie the game.

The third was more even, like the second, and the Cats came close after a MacKenzie MacNeil shot hit the post. But it wasn’t to be on this day, and again, make one mistake and the Saints will make you pay. The Cats left Hannah Miller with her own area code of space, and she ripped a winner past Litchfield. 2-1 SLU with 31.9 seconds to go, and despite a late, frantic effort, there was no coming back.

Looking at the stats, you can see one promising sign – the Cats out-shot attempted the Saints 37-35. But if you don’t finish your chances, or even put them on goal, that means nothing.

I thought the offense didn’t look very cohesive for most of the game (passes into the skates, etc), but the defense was solid and Madi Litchfield was excellent.

The Cats now have to regroup with a four-game road swing coming up, with games in Durham and Orono and then a pair down at Providence. These are very winnable conference games that would mean a LOT in the standings.

The Vermont Hockey Blog Three Stars of the Game

  1. Hannah Miller (SLU) – A clutch, last-minute game winner.
  2. Kennedy Marchment (SLU) – An absolute snipe shorthanded to tie the game.
  3. Madison Litchfield (UVM) – 25 saves, including some huge ones.

Women’s Preview: UVM vs #7 St. Lawrence (Home and Home)

Sometimes in college hockey, there are early season surprises that shock the country. Some die off quickly like the Pokemon Go fad. Others last the whole season, going full Leicester City. St. Lawrence has been one of those surprises this season, and they’re the next test for the Catamount women.

The Saints barely went .500 last year, going 17-15-6, and went out in the ECAC Tournament semifinal to Quinnipiac after upsetting Princeton in the quarters. And with two top-ten foes to start the year and the loss of their top-scoring defender, Amanda Boulier, they looked to have their hands full.

Instead, St. Lawrence upset the apple cart, sweeping then-#9 Northeastern at Matthews and earning a win and a draw against then-#4, now-#8 Clarkson in a home and home last weekend. They roll into this home and home riding supreme confidence.

In goal, it’s the same tandem as last year. Grace Harrison is the starter, having played all four games so far and posting a. 904 save percentage. Behind her, it’s a three-way battle for backup between Sonjia Shelly, Brooke Wolejko, and Allison Compeau. I’d expect Harrison to carry the load once again this week, but if not, I’d imagine Shelly is first off the bench.

The defense lost four members to graduation, but they’re still formidable, preventing shots from getting through (SLU has outshot their opponents every game). However, they haven’t been able to replace Boulier’s scoring, as their leading scorer right now ranks sixth on the team (Kirsten Paladis).  If the Cats can find ways to stop the Saints’ defense in transition, it will be much easier to defeat them.

Because right now, only BU and Colgate have tickled twine more times per game than St. Lawrence, and it’s all thanks to a talented forward crop. Kennedy Marchment’s 10 points is second-highest in the country at the moment, and she has two games in hand on first place (Lara Stalder of Minnesota-Duluth). Last year’s leading scorer, Brooke Webster, is no slouch either, posting 8 points (including her 100th career point at SLU, so congratulations to her!), as has Hannah Miller. This is a team that is very talented offensively, and the Cats will want to avoid a high-scoring track meet against a team whose weapons are so potent.

Game one will be Friday at Appleton Arena in Canton, and costs $8 (c’mon, pay streams, really), while game two will be Saturday at Gutterson and viewable for free on CatamounTV.

Go Cats.

Men’s Preview: UVM @ #20 Nebraska-Omaha (2x)

After a tumultuous first week of the season and a bye week the second, normalcy should return to Vermont men’s hockey as they head out into the heart of flyover country to battle 20th-ranked Nebraska-Omaha.

The Mavericks swept a series at the Gutt last year as part of their impressive 14-3-1 start, peaking at #2 in the rankings. The dynamic duo of Jake Guentzel and Austin Ortega was bossing it, and Evan Weninger was stopping lots of pucks. But after Christmas, everything fell apart. Weninger was injured, but even after he returned, they went 4-14 the rest of the way and got swept by Denver in the NCHC tournament. Omaha has only played two games on the 2015/16 season, a pair of Ws at the Alaska Goal Rush against the two Alaska schools.

In goal, the Mavs return a healthy Weninger, along with last year’s third-stringer Alex Blankenburg. Last year’s backup, Kirk Thompson, is now an assistant coach for the team, and freshman Kris Oldham has taken his spot. I’d expect Weninger and Oldham to split duty this weekend as they did in Alaska.

Defensively, Omaha returns all but Brian Cooper from last season’s blueline. Size is definitely one of Omaha’s strong points, as five of the Mavericks’ defenders stand at 6’2″ or above (in comparison, Vermont only has eleven players PERIOD over 6’0″, and just four above 6’2″, one of whom is a goalie). Last year at the Gutt I remember the Cats’ smaller skill players were having trouble being at a physical disadvantage; we’ll see how Coach Sneddon deals with this, especially as all of our goals against Clarkson came from a similar area around the crease. I doubt Omaha’s bigger defenders will let those kinds of opportunities arise. Three NHL draftees highlight this defense personnel-wise: Ryan Jones (Pittsburgh), Dean Stewart (Arizona), and Luc Snuggerud (Chicago). Snuggerud led the team in scoring from the defense last season.

Offensively, one-half of their dynamic duo, Jake Guentzel, made the jump to pro last summer, signing with the NHL team that drafted him, the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, during the Alaska Goal Rush, Jake Randolph filled his void and did very well, posting four points in two games. The other half of the duo, Austin Ortega, returns, and he hopes to build on last season’s 21 goals. Throw in the growth of their underclassmen, such as NHL draftee sophomores David Pope and Steven Spinner, and you have an attack that will challenge the Catamounts’ defense.

Both games, Friday and Saturday,  will be on NCHC.tv, at the rate of a staggering $15 (seriously, what? AHL Live costs less, and even THAT’S overpriced). So we won’t have a recap.

Women’s preview against St. Lawrence out later today.

Women’s Preview: Vermont @ Robert Morris (2x)

To quote the great Mike Lange:”IIIIIIIIIIIT’S A HOCKEY NIGHT, IN PITTSBURGH.”

Well, okay, 84 Lumber Arena is technically in Moon Township, not Pittsburgh proper, but close enough.

But you get the point. The Gutt goes quiet for a week as the men have off and the women head out to my home state of Pennsylvania for two against the Robert Morris Colonials.

The Colonials had an average season last year, posting a 17-16-5 record and placing fourth in College Hockey America. They just barely escaped a feisty Lindenwood side in the first round of the tournament before falling in the conference semifinals to eventual champions Mercyhurst. They’ve started the 2016/17 season at a 3-0-1 clip, sweeping Providence at their place before earning a win and a draw last weekend against RPI at Houston Fieldhouse. This is a team that knows what’s up, only losing three players to graduation, only one of whom produced more than five points (Ashley Vesci).

Leading the charge up front for Robert Morris is the young duo of freshman Jaycee Gebhard and sophomore Amber Rennie, each currently sitting on six points. Rennie posted 20 points her freshman year, and seems to be taking her game up with her. Last year’s leading scorers, Brittany Howard and Mackenzie Johnston, are back as well; although Johnston has yet to produce a point thus far, it’s only a matter of time. They have solid depth and plenty of college experience, and they’ve been scoring goals efficiently, scoring on around 12% of their shots during their first four games. Efficiency or luck? The Cats can’t control luck, but they can limit scoring chances and efficiency with good defensive positioning.

Only five defenders make up the Colonials’ blueline, as they did not add anyone to replace the graduated Leah Carlson. That said, Kirsten Welsh, Mikaela Lowalter, and Maggie Lague are threats offensively (each posting around 20 points last year), while Natalie Fraser and Leah Carey keep things steady. The lack of depth is a weakness the Cats could exploit, using speed and skill to wear out their defenders.

In goal, Bobby Mo has some healthy competition with all three of last year’s keepers returning. Senior Jessica Dodds and sophomore Lauren Bailey produced roughly identical numbers (.922 v .921) last year, and this season have split the starts so far (with Dodds holding the early edge in save percentage, but small sample sizes).

And before concluding this preview, a shoutout to forward Ève-Audrey Picard, who was named Hockey East Co-Player of the Week (sharing the honor with Northeastern’s Denisa Křížová)! Picard posted 4 points in two games during her first week of NCAA action.

Games (Friday and Saturday) will be broadcast on Robert Morris’s website, buuuut you have to pay nearly $10. I’m a college student. Money is a finite object for me. So there won’t be a recap, unfortunately, since it doesn’t appear RMU has an audio-only feed either. So the next things here will probably be the previews for Omaha (men’s) and St. Lawrence (women’s) next week.

 

Recap: UVM (W) 3, #9/10 BU 2

In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. And UVM women’s hockey just beat one of the best in a thriller at the Gutt.

First goal came fairly early on a 4 on 3 power play. Daria O’Neill with the shot, a mad scramble ensues, and Ève-Audrey Picard sneaks home a backhander in the crease. Side note, holy smoke were they calling everything today. NCAA early season crackdown is real.

That lasted about half a period before Samantha Sutherland, in her fourth game of the year, sniped home her sixth goal of the year while using three Catamounts as a screen. She’s in great form, and I don’t think any goalie, men’s or women’s, is stopping a shot with that much mustard and placed so perfectly.

But that tie only lasted a few minutes. Saana Valkama always seems to be at her best against good competition (she scored twice against BU in the playoffs last year, and scored against Canada at the Women’s Worlds last year), and she continued to prove that once again. Picard set her up with a BEAUTIFUL cross-crease pass, and Valkama just tapped it home to put UVM up 2-1 towards the end of the first.

That remained until the third (but the scoreless second was an absolute track meet and a treat to watch), when Sutherland managed ANOTHER goal that Melissa Black might want back. Took a deflection off of what looks like Black’s glove, and right through the legs. Tie game.

But this year’s team wasn’t going to park the bus and settle for a draw. They went on the offensive instead, and found the game-winner about two and a half minutes later. O’Neill took the point shot, Hanson made the save but couldn’t find the puck. A mad scramble ensued and Alyssa Gorecki poked home the winner. The Cats did a good job of killing the clock to secure the upset.

Oh yeah, and it’s a conference win too. Good start.

Some thoughts:

-Early goings, but I think Ève-Audrey Picard is probably the most talented player this program’s had since Amanda Pelkey graduated. Three goals in her first two games and she was making it look easy. So much skill and an excellent skater.

-The defense was excellent at the little things. Getting sticks in the passing lane, positioning themselves well, etc. That’s the kind of stuff that gets ignored, but can make a goalie’s life much easier by limiting the quality of their chances. The PK went 7 for 7 as well and looked amazing, especially after killing two minutes of 5 on 3 early in the third.

-This wasn’t a game where the Cats rode a hot goalie to a shock win. Melissa Black was excellent, don’t get me wrong (more on her below), but they pretty much matched the Terriers blow-for-blow. The shots ended at 40-39 BU, and the eye test seemed to check out.

-I don’t know what it is about BU, but we ALWAYS play them tough. Despite how bad last season went, we tied them in the regular season and managed to nick a game in the playoffs. Two years ago we beat them in the regular season at Walter Brown Arena. Are we their bogey team?

The Vermont Hockey Blog Three Stars of the Game

  1. Melissa Black (UVM) – She made the key saves when she had to,  and was able to keep cool in a wide-open game. She wasn’t the only reason we won, but she was key nonetheless.
  2. Samantha Sutherland (BU) – Two goals in a losing effort. She’s had a great start to her senior year with 7 goals in 4 games.
  3. Ève-Audrey Picard (UVM) – Toss-up here between Picard’s goal/assist and Valkama’s three points. I’m going to side with the arena simply based on the eye test; I thought Picard looked better (though Saana was excellent too!).

Next up: a road trip out to Pittsburgh for two with Robert Morris. Preview will come sometime this week.