Much like the last home series for the Catamounts, the one played against Providence College was a compilation of two very different hockey games.
Vermont and Providence tied the Feb. 4 game 1-1, though both teams had their chances to break through. The Catamounts found their scoring power on Feb. 5 when they dismantled the Friars 7-1.
“I’m very pleased for our young men, they’ve been through a lot and certainly this is a step in the right direction,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “We’ve got a long way to go but I thought this was the first weekend that we played with great energy for both nights in a long time.”
Junior Drew MacKenzie scored the goal for Vermont on Feb. 4, while senior co-captain Ian O’Connor recorded the goal for Providence.
“I think the score was reflective of how even the game was,” Providence coach Tim Army said. “It was really a hard-fought game.”
The game got off to a slow start as neither team was able to record a goal in the opening period, though Providence significantly out-shot the Catamounts 15-7.
Vermont had a promising chance to score early in the second period when sophomore Anders Franzon picked up a pass from first year Matt White and shot a one-timer from the left of the Providence net. Junior goaltender Alex Beaudry made the stop though and both teams remained scoreless.
“The save he [Beaudry] made on Franzon coming down the back door, one-time shot I thought it was a great save by Beaudry and I thought Rob [Madore] made some great saves tonight as well,” Sneddon said.
Vermont got on the scoreboard board first at 4:07 in the second period with the goal from MacKenzie.
MacKenzie knocked a backhanded shot into the net as Providence first year Mark Adams was preparing to exit the penalty box.
Adams was the last Providence player to see the inside of the penalty box until four straight Vermont players had served their turns.
Providence recorded the equalizer when the teams were at even strength at 10:35 in the second, as O’Connor’s shot deflected off the stick of a Vermont player.
The Providence penalties came one right after another in the third period, as Vermont’s had in the second. Both coaches commented on the oddness of this situation.
“Unfortunately it was a game of special teams,” Sneddon said. “I think both teams probably wanted to play a lot of five-on-five. We got into penalty trouble I think in the second period there, it was almost like it was their turn then to go on the short-hand for quite a while.”
“It was a little odd, because it wasn’t like one penalty and then we’d be short and then they’d get a penalty,” Army said. “It was two, three in a row for both teams and it’s hard to kill in succession like that.”
Penalty trouble didn’t hold back the Catamounts in the Feb. 5 game the following night, as seven different Catamounts scored the seven goals.
Sophomores Ben Albertson, Chris McCarthy, Anders Franzon and Tobias Nilsson-Roos scored for Vermont, along with senior assistant captain Jack Downing, MacKenzie and first year H.T. Lenz.
Senior assistant captain Matt Germain scored the goal for Providence.
The Catamounts wasted no time kicking off the scoring in the first period. Albertson scored at 2:14, picking up a pass from fellow Vermonter senior Brett Leonard and sending in a wrist shot from the left circle.
Germain soon scored for the Friars, but the tie would not hold as it had in the previous night’s contest.
Instead, McCarthy scored at 14:08, collecting a pass from senior assistant captain Kyle Medvec and sending the puck into the net from the left circle.
MacKenzie slipped the puck in between the leg pads of Beaudry to put the Catamounts on top 3-1 to end the first period.
It was in the second period that the Catamounts started to pull further away from the Friars.
Franzon got his revenge on Beaudry for the previous night’s game when he took control of the puck and carried
it into the offensive zone, where he knocked a wrist shot past Beaudry at 14:05.
Nilsson-Roos and Lenz were next to score and this brought the Catamounts into the third period with a solid cushion.
Providence junior Justin Gates took over goaltending duties for the Friars in the third, as Beaudry was unable to repeat the performance he had displayed on Feb. 4.
As the final period was winding down, Downing found a gap to put the puck through to beat Gates as he slid to one side of the net at 14:39.
This was the final goal of the weekend, leaving the score at 7-1.
The Catamounts hit the road again and faced Maine on Feb. 11 and 12.