Four-point weekend for Cats

UVM continued its late season push towards the Hockey East playoffs this weekend as they won Friday and Saturday night’s match?ups with Hockey East rivals Merrimack.The Catamounts dominated a series, which Merrimack never led, outscoring the Warriors 6-2.Senior fourth-line forward Reese Wisnowski started the scoring for the Catamounts on Friday night, scoring his second goal of the season on a rebound from a shot by sophomore forward Jay Anctil. UVM received a scare in the second period, as freshman forward Wahs Stacey was checked into the boards from behind by Merrimack defenseman Fraser Allan.Allan was immediately ejected from the game and Stacey didn’t return to Fri?day’s matchup, but he did play on Saturday.Following the incident, defenseman Pat Bowen evened the score for Merrimack on an assist from freshman forward Joe Cucci.Two minutes later, however, UVM sophomore forward Viktor Stalberg took control.Stalberg took an assist from fellow third-line sophomore forward Brian Roloff and slipped a wrister past Merrimack sophomore goalie Andrew Braithwaite for his first goal of the game.Stalberg struck again with 1:24 left, when he took assists from sophomore forward Colin Vock and freshman forward Jack Downing for his seventh goal of the season.”[Viktor had] two beautiful goals – he’s got an unbelievable shot,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.Junior forward Peter Lenes finished the scoring for the Cats in the third period on assists from Vock and junior forward Dean Strong.Strong didn’t take long to make an impact on Saturday night’s game as well, scoring on an assist from Vock only 14 seconds into the game.Stalberg widened the gap for Vermont with 44 seconds left in the second period when he just barely pushed the puck in the goal, leaving confusion in the air for a brief time until the referees confirmed that the puck crossed the line.”I took it hard to the net and hoped for the best,” Stalberg said. “I guess we got lucky.”Early in the third period, the Warriors capitalized on a 5-3 advantage with a power play goal from Cucci, assisted by forward Rob Ricci and forward Chris Barton.Gutterson Fieldhouse stirred with excitement as the game neared a close, with Merrimack emptying their net in hopes of eliminating their 2-1 deficit.The Warriors came close, with a shot hitting the post in the final 20 seconds, but senior goalie Joe Fallon made a huge save, one of his 34 on the weekend.”Joe was spectacular this weekend,” Sneddon said.As Saturday night’s game came to a close, the Gutterson faithful perfectly summed up the Cats’ series with their “four point weekend” chant.With the two victories over Merrimack, UVM received four Hockey East points, placing them nine points behind conference leader UNH, three behindBoston College and one behind Northeastern and Providence.As the Catamounts continued their surge towards the playoffs, Sneddon looked to his sophomore standout Stal?berg for further energy and contribution.”Viktor was our MVP on the weekend,” Sneddon said. “[He] really distinguished himself as one of the better players in Hockey East this weekend.”