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.

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