Catamounts drop two in weekend series


After a confidence-boosting comeback victory over Minnesota last weekend, UVM had a disappointing weekend at Gutterson to open up their home and Hockey East season.

The Catamounts lost games on Oct. 28 and 29 to Merrimack. The first loss was 4-1; the second was 4-2.

In the first game, Merrimack senior Jesse Todd recorded two goals and an assist to lead the Warriors over Vermont.

“It was a tough game for us tonight. We learned our lesson the hard way,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “We gave up easy goals tonight, and that was probably the big thing that I’m disappointed in. We lost too many battles and too many races tonight for us to have a chance to win.”

In the second period, Vermont first-year Kyle Reynolds got control of a rebound and passed the puck to junior Sebastian Stalberg, who one-timed the puck into the net. This was Stalberg’s third goal of the season.

The Warriors were given a costly 5-on-3 power play opportunity in the second period, as Vermont first-year Michael Paliotta and Kyle Mountain were sent to the penalty box —Paliotta for a roughing penalty at 14:59, Mountain for a slashing penalty at 16:25.

Todd was there to capitalize on the advantage, knocking in a loose puck at 16:50.

Merrimack’s Shawn Bates dealt the final blow 27 seconds later on a breakaway.

“They’re going to execute; their power play is fantastic,” Sneddon said. “They executed their 5-on-3 really well, but again we gave up a breakaway. That’s just guys focused on the puck and not covering lanes. We were disappointed in that. We didn’t really make them earn their goals tonight.”

Vermont fell short again in the second night of the weekend series. Though the team dropped their second game in a row, Sneddon saw improvement.

“We were better tonight from our standpoint as a coaching staff. We did a lot of things in our zone better than we did last night, but we’ve got to strive for consistency,” Sneddon said. “We were excellent at certain things for periods of time and then we would lose it, and we got into that situation again in the second period where we gave them two quick goals. A team like that plays very well when they’re up.”

Sophomore Connor Brickley did score the first goal of the game at 3:50 of the first period, sending the puck into the upper left hand corner of the net.

After three Merrimack goals, graduate student Brett Bruneteau scored at 3:48 of the third period with a one-timer.

This was Bruneteau’s first goal as a Catamount, coming from the University of North Dakota, where he finished an undergraduate degree in just two years. Brett and sophomore Nick Bruneteau are brothers.

This game marked the second-career start of sophomore goaltender Alex Vazzano, who started the game instead of Vermont’s usual goaltender, senior Rob Madore. This was Vazzano’s first start at Gutterson.

“We can’t get caught up in the results right now,” Sneddon said. “But we have to understand that league points are at stake, and we can’t give away points like we did this weekend.”

The Catamounts will play again next weekend, continuing Hockey East play on the road, this time against Providence, Nov. 4 and 5.