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.
-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
- Tom Forgione (UVM) – Early goal sent the Cats on their way, and his hustle caused problems for a lackadaisical Michigan squad.
- 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.)
- 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.