It’s fitting that the last game before Halloween, much like the Michael Jackson song that’s been a staple of Halloween for decades, was a THRILLER.
After some tough losses to Michigan, the Catamounts went out and actually put together 60 solid minutes (65, actually), but an opportunistic UNH side led by Danny Tirone’s excellent effort kept them from two points.
The Catamounts DOMINATED the first period with a 16-5 shot advantage. But Tirone made save after save after save and UVM just couldn’t finish.
Which of course means UNH opened the scoring in the second. Power play goal, Max Gildon continuing his white-hot start to his NCAA career by feeding Michael McNicholas backdoor for a tap-in. Both defenders were occupied, O’Donnell was pressuring Gildon while Grant was covering Patrick Grosso and didn’t see McNicholas.
UVM managed to fight back pretty quickly. Alvaro with a shot right off the faceoff. It’s not in the highlight pack so I can’t analyze it.
Couple minutes later, though, and UNH is ahead again. Ara Nazarian was denied on the breakaway by Lekkas, but he sticks with the play and scores, although I’m still not sure how the puck went in.
At the end of the period, Evers takes a really dumb penalty by pushing down Salvaggio after the whistle. It means little in the second, but sets the stage for the third.
First minute of the third, Puffer with a beauty of a shot to tie the game shorthanded. That’s back-to-back games where UVM had a shortie (Kaufman had one against Michigan). Someone with more patience than me should look up when the last time that happened was.
But then, with Evers still in the box about 30 seconds later, UNH goes ahead, deflating a hyped Gutterson. Nazarian potting one from close range just outside the crease. That was a real buzzkill after a huge, huge shorty.
The next goal for UNH to put them up 2 was essentially another power play tally, as Colton had JUST come out of the box when Brendan van Riemsdyk buried a rebound past Lekkas. Could’ve used a defenseman near the crease to prevent stuff like that. At that point I was basically resigned to defeat.
Luckily, the squad wasn’t.
Less than three minutes later, Misley takes a shot from a terrible angle, but Tirone’s save rebounds right to O’Donnell who isn’t missing with a half-open net. It’s 4-3, and the Gutt is rocking again.
Late in the game, Marcus Vela takes a penalty (we’ll discuss him more later). UVM pulls Lekkas for the 6v4 advantage. The pressure rises, the Gutt gets louder, and the Cats cash in.
Evers gets the puck at the point and puts it on goal. Tirone saves, but the rebound is loose. Lodermeier shovels it out, and O’Donnell buries his second of the period to tie the game with 34.3 seconds to go. Gutterson ERUPTED.
Nothing going in an OT which UVM largely dominated, with the best chance being a Colton shot that hit the post.
- I criticized The Den after the Saturday game against Colorado College. Well, last night it was great, so I’ll give some credit. (I also loved the random “Aussie Aussie Aussie! OI OI OI!” chant. It was so out of context that it was glorious.)
- I really liked the top 3 lines (Privitera-Colton-Puffer, Misley-Lodermeier-Esposito, Alvaro-Darrar-Bowen). I think they should stay that way for the forseeable future. That second line in particular looked real good.
- As for the bottom line, really impressed by Kaufman…Petruzzelli and Best, not so much, I’m not even sure they played in the third.
- This was my first chance to see Brian Kelly in a game since preseason. He didn’t play a ton, but I thought he looked solid back there.
- Outside of that tying goal, the power play was hot garbage.
- And speaking of power plays, I’m half convinced that Marcus Vela was a sleeper agent trying to hand the game to UVM. FIVE minor penalties, yeesh.
- I think Harmon should start one of the UConn games next weekend. Lekkas looks a bit tired, and this was probably his weakest game of the year.
- Shot attempts were 77-44 in favor of UVM. Yeah. That’s more like the team I watched last year. Sneddon said postgame that the team seems to be finding its identity again.
The Vermont Hockey Blog Three Stars of the Game
- Matt O’Donnell (UVM) – 3 points, including two goals in the third to tie it. Ice in his veins.
- Ara Nazarian (UNH) – Also had 3 points, also in a 2+1.
- Danny Tirone (UNH) – If he wasn’t so sharp in the first it could’ve been 3-0 UVM and a completely different game.