Men’s Preview: #13 Union @ #11 UVM (2x)

In 2014, a Union College Dutchmen side led by Shayne Gostisbehere pummeled the Catamounts 5-2 in the first round of the NCAA tournament en route to the national title.

The players that were freshmen for UVM then – Bradley, Puskarich, Shaw, Hamilton, and Santaguida, among others – are seniors now, and they’ll remember what Union did that day quite well: dominate.

Yes, the Cats have played the Dutchmen in the interim, losing 3-2 in overtime in Schenectady last season. But still…in your last season, you’ve got a demon to vanquish, you may as well vanquish it, especially after the stress of finals week.

The Dutchmen have gotten out to a fantastic start, sitting at 12-3-2 and first in the ECAC. They have four games against mutual opponents, going 2-2 (defeating Michigan and Quinnipiac while losing to the Wolverines and Clarkson). However, a skeptic could point to their schedule – among those Ws have been Brown, Niagara, and RPI, all bottom ten teams in the Pairwise.

In goal Union rolls with senior Alex Sakellaropoulos (and I’m going to copy paste that from now on because that name is, like, Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev length). He’s been okay, but nothing special, posting a .916 save percentage in 13 games. He has lost only one game, though, so it’s good enough I guess. Backup sophomore Jake Kupsky has been woeful, with a .875 SV%.

Defensively, Union is a middle-of-the-pack team, but Jeff Taylor has been dynamic offensively with 16 points. However, no other defender has more than 10 points, with Nick DeSimone second with 8. So the defense is fairly unremarkable – don’t produce a whole lot past Taylor, and concede about an average amount of goals.

It’s the offense where the Dutchmen really shine, ranking fourth in the nation in goals per game. Mike Vecchione leads the country with an eye-popping 35 points, and Spencer Foo isn’t far behind with 30. Sebastian Vidmar also cracks the top 20 nationally with 21 points. It’s proven this year that stopping this trio is nearly impossible, but you CAN limit their effectiveness, something Clarkson were able to do a month ago when they handed Union their last L this season (the trio were limited to a Foo assist on the night in a 3-1 loss). This offense against the UVM defense and goaltending will be an interesting watch.

Games will be Saturday and Sunday on CatamounTV, yet another showdown at the Gutt of two ranked teams.

Go Cats Go.

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