Cats Get Revenge Against Big Green on Ice

Vermont scored five unanswered goals in just under five minutes and then killed a critical 5-on-3 Dartmouth power play late in the game in a 6-4 victory over the Big Green Saturday in ECAC men’s ice hockey action at Thompson Arena in Hanover, New Hampshire. Rallying from a three-goal deficit, the Cats put the rest of the league on notice on a frigid night in the Upper Valley: this team is finding its stride, and is getting better with each game. “We had the jump in our step the whole night,” Vermont coach Mike Gilligan said. “And Shawn (Conschafter) came up real, real big at the end to nail it down. This is a very resilient team. They never said die, and we killed off a big penalty at the end.” Dartmouth, 9-7-1 overall and 5-5-0 in ECAC play, took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when freshman standout Hugh Jessiman blasted a rolling puck past Vermont’s Shawn Conschafter at 10:30. Dartmouth took a 3-0 lead on goals from Stempniak and defenseman Garrett Overlock before Vermont responded with two goals in 97 seconds to make it 3-2 at the end of an abbreviated second period. Freshman Jeff Corey banged in a rebound off of a shot from Scott Mifsud at 17:45, with Oriel McHugh also getting an assist, and only 1:27 later, senior assistant captain Bryson Busniuk scored his fourth of the season and the 25th of his career at 19:12. Mifsud and Corey got assists on that goal. Vermont needed just 71 seonds to tie it when Busniuk scored his second of the game on the power play, sliding the puck past Yacey early in the third. Jaime Sifers and Brady Leisenring assisted on the goal, which was the first of four in the final frame for Vermont. Junior Jeff Miles scored his first goal in seven games, and his team-leading 12th of the season, at 1:44 to give Vermont a 4-3 lead, and then sophomore forward Tim Plant scored hisfirst of two goals at 2:35. John Longo assisted on Miles’ goal, while Sifers and Baron Becker got the helpers on Plant’s goal that went off a Dartmouth defender and over the head of Yacey into the cage. With a 5-3 lead and the game seemingly in hand, Vermont was called for simultaneous minor penalties on Corey and Sifers at 11;14 of the third period, setting up a full two-minute 5-on-3 for the Big Green. Dartmouth had perhaps their best scoring chance of the game 27 seconds into the two-man advantage, but Conschafter slid across the crease brilliantly to stop Mike Ouellette’s bid from the slot. Moments later he made a great save on Hugh Jessimant’s shot and the Catamounts were on their way to a monumental victory. “This is big for us,” Gilligan said. “This sets up the second half of the season for us.” In other hockey news, former UVM star, and record holder Martin St. Louis further solidifying his place as one of the premier players in the National Hockey League, former University of Vermont standout Martin St. Louis ’97 has been selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game. “It is an honor to be in that game and to get the chance to play with and against some of my idols,” St. Louis told the Tampa Tribune Thursday. “This is something that I am going to remember for quite a long time. I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store.” St. Louis joins former Catamount standout John LeClair ’91 as the only Catamounts ever to play in an NHL All-Star game. LeClair, who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers, is a five-time National Hockey League All-Star and a two-time Olympian, and one of the top power forwards in the game. St. Louis was a three-time All-American and three-time Hobey Baker finalist for the Catamounts from 93-97.