UVM dominates #9 Northeastern in weekend series

The Catamount men’s hockey team sent a message to the rest of the Hockey East this weekend with their 2-2 tie with the #9 ranked Northeastern Huskies Friday night and a 5-2 rout of the same squad on Saturday. While UVM was less than pleased with the tie, they proved that they are a dangerous team, no matter who is in net for them. Head coach Kevin Sneddon switched goalies again, choosing sophomore Mike Spillane to start on Friday night in place of senior Joe Fallon, who had started the past five contests, and got the nod in net on Saturday. Besides one unlucky bounce of the puck, Spillane was otherwise impressive. On the second Northeastern goal of the game, with 14:23 left in the third period, left wing Dennis McCauley fired a rocket off of Spillane’s right leg padding, and the puck carried just enough momentum to drift into the goal. “That goal was on my shoulders,” Spillane said. Prior to that point in the action, Spillane had been a brick wall in net, making 18 saves through two periods. UVM jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 15:28 mark in the second period with sophomore Brian Roloff’s first goal of the season, which was assisted by a pair of defensemen, sophomore Viktor Stalberg and freshman Josh Burrows. Northeastern came out hungry in the third period and scored their first goal at the 1:18 mark. Tensions mounted in Gutterson Fieldhouse less than a minute later when a whistle was blown just before UVM pushed the puck into the net and then a scuffle broke out behind the goal. Arms and sticks flew and players were choked before this glimpse of hockey’s raucous history broke up. Two skaters from each team were sent to the penalty box and the conflict cooled after that point. Following the second Huskies goal, the Cats got their own lucky bounce. A rebound off a NU defenseman’s foot found its way into the net, tying the game with two and a half minutes left in regulation on a UVM power-play goal credited to junior co-captain Dean Strong, assisted by senior co-captain Mark Lutz and junior assistant captain Peter Lenes.The game went to overtime, but neither team managed to mount any offense in the extra period, ending in a tie. “We deserved a better fate,” Sneddon said. “We played a great game tonight and had a lot of chances.” Sneddon was also proud of his goalie, but unsure about who will be the team’s goalie from here on out. “Spillane was great tonight and made some huge saves, and [Fallon] had a great week of practice,” he said. “It will be important to have both guys going for the rest of the season.” Sneddon’s words were proven true on Saturday night as he placed Fallon in the goal, and his play guided the Cats to an impressive 5-2 victory. UVM received goals from five different players as their well-balanced offensive attack was too much for Northeastern to handle.