In front of the 34th consecutive shutout at Gutterson Fieldhouse the Catamounts saw their lead vanish in the blink of an eye. The Maine Black Bears blasted the Catamounts with three goals in a span of 74 seconds in the third period to lead the way to a 3-1 victory.
Vermont, which dropped to 17-9-3 and 9-8-3 in Hockey East, had been 13-0-3 when entering the third period with a lead and 12-1-2 this season when scoring first. The Black Bears, 19-10-0 (12-8-0), didn’t care about any of that.
The Cats got a 1-0 lead on a 5-on-3 power play goal by senior Jeff Corey at 3:38 of the second period. It was Corey’s team leading 13th goal of the season and gives him 96 points in his UVM career. The goal came on a rebound after a shot from Corey Carlson. Brady Leisenring also got an assist on the play.
The third period started with both teams fighting for possession and scoring opportunities. 6:47 into the third period the Black Bears captain Greg Moore found the back of the net on the power play. It was Moore’s 21st goal of the season.
“I thought we had complete breakdowns and I’m pretty disappointed in the team,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I thought we played a great first and second period and most of the third. They score a little bit of a lucky goal on the power play when the puck bounced off Jaime’s (Sifers) shin pad and in and we had no response.”
Exactly 30 seconds after Moore’s goal Maine took the lead when Rob Bellamy skated in on the front of the net and got a beautiful pass that he buried past Cats goalie Joe Fallon.
At the 8:01 mark of the final period the Black Bears finished off their scoring on a slapshot from the point by Bret Tyler that rifled by Fallon. This marked the third goal that Maine scored in a span of one minute and 14 seconds.
Maine out-shot Vermont 23-19, which marked just the fifth time in the 29 games this season that the Cats had put more shots on net than their opponent.
“We let them come into our building and walk over us the next two minutes.,” said Sneddon. “I hope our guys are going to be angry by it and come back strong tomorrow.”
Before the game on Saturday night, senior captain Jaime Sifers will be honored as a Humanitarian Award Finalist. Sifers is one of seven finalists of the 2006 award that is presented each year to college hockey’s finest citizen regardless of division.
According to coach Sneddon, “Jaime is one of the toughest competitors in college hockey, yet off the ice he is one of hockey’s finest citizens. This is a tremendous honor for Jaime, his family and the University.”