Cats earn home ice for tournament

Rebounding from a tough stretch that saw them go winless in three of their last four, UVM hockey swept Maine over the weekend, bringing themselves to a 14-7-4 conference record and securing home ice for the Hockey East quarterfinals.

The Cats defeated Maine 3-2 on Friday night after scoring two power play goals from sophomore Dan Lawson and senior captain Dean Strong.

Maine got off to a good start early in the game, going up 1-0 in the first period with a power play goal from sophomore Robby Dee.

The lead didn’t last long, though, as Vermont sophomore Josh Burrows tied the game later in the first.

The Black Bears out shot the Catamounts 15-8 in the second period and took back the lead with a goal from senior Matt Duffy.

However, Strong’s power play goal tied the game again for Vermont in the second period before Lawson scored the game winner three minutes into the third.

A huge step forward for the Catamounts was an increase in power play production. The Cats went 2-for-5 on the power play after scoring just once in their last 37 attempts.

“For us to finally score two power-play goals, that was a monkey off our back,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said following the game.

Saturday night’s game was scoreless until the final period, when Maine sophomore Tanner House scored to put the Black Bears up 1-0.

However, Vermont answered when sophomore Jack Downing tied the game with under seven minutes remaining in the third.

Sophomore Justin Milo completed the late comeback, scoring the winning goal for the Catamounts with just over four minutes remaining to secure a 2-1 victory and the sweep.

“I thought Maine left it all out there and we did the same,” Sneedon said. “I think we just had some guys make some special plays when it counted most.”

“Our depth has been our asset from the start of the season to this point – we’ve needed different players to step up and they have,” Sneddon said.

Vermont will host New Hampshire next weekend for a two-game series to wrap up the regular season.

Heading into the final weekend of regular season play, UVM is tied with the Wildcats for third place in Hockey East. BU remains in second, trailing by just one point to conference-leading Northeastern.