Women’s hockey wins first game of the season

The Catamounts dominated Sacred Heart 6-2 in the women’s hockey home opener Friday at Gutterson Fieldhouse for their first win of the season.Both teams came out strong and it was Sacred Heart’s Whitney Dziama who scored the first goal off a rebound from Vermont goalkeeper Shivaun Siegl’s pads in the third minute of play. Dziama’s goal was assisted by Devon Kittredge and gave the Pioneers the early 1-0 lead.Sacred Heart’s lead was short lived however, as Cats sophomore Sarah Smiddy put a hard slap shot past Pioneer goalie Stephanie Boulay after passes from juniors Kate Lesniak and Kristi Anderson less than four minutes later. The Cat’s increased their lead when freshman Chelsea Furlani, assisted by juniors Frankie Williams and Karen Sentoff, scored at the 3:39 mark. The lead expanded to 3-1 in the 12th minute when freshman Melanie Greene scored off assists from Sentoff and Furlani. “We’ve been working on many different conceptual things,” UVM head coach Tim Bothwell said. “We’re trying to keep the shift length short and move the puck more from stick to stick, which we did an exceptional job of in the first period. It was unarguably our best period of the year.”The second period saw a breakdown of strength on both sides. The puck was moved from one end of the ice to the other in a yo-yo like fashion, with serious congestion around both nets. Even when the Pioneers had a five on three advantage they were not able to get the puck in the net. The Catamounts broke through on a goal by Anderson with an assist coming from senior Gabe Worzella with 2:14 left in the second period.”We came out really strong, connecting with all the passes and coming through for everyone,” said Furlani. “What happened was in the second period we just didn’t focus on the small things that we’ve been working on and our play really reflected that. It was a challenge for us to find our focus again.”Four minutes into the third period, Sacred Heart’s Jenn Bragger beat Siegl for the Pioneers’ second goal of the game to make the score 4-2.In the final 10 minutes of the period, Vermont picked up the caliber of play once again, reminiscent of the first period.Clearly dominating Sacred Heart, the Cats put two more goals in the net when senior Jenny Hogan and Sentoff scored. Senior captain Kristin Norris got the assist on the first goal while sophomore Jessica Murphy and Furlani each received one on the second.”Our biggest challenge coming into the game was the feeling that we should and could win,” Bothwell said. “It was a hard position to be in because we still had to go out there and actually win. Overall, we did a great job playing a smart and simple game, avoiding the thought that we’re better than them.”With the win, Vermont improves to 1-6-0 on the season while Sacred Heart drops to 0-3-0 on the season.The next contest for the Cats comes Friday, Nov. 3 against St. Cloud State at home.”The win is huge for us,” Norris said. “We can certainly continue to win if we focus on the small things, which will in turn build to bigger things. This is a big confidence booster and it will carry us through the rest of the season as we build on ever game.”