Cats Expect Strong Year


The 2013-2014 mens Ice Hockey Season is nearly underway as the Catamounts gear up to play their 30th year of the Hockey East Association.

The Coach’s Preseason Poll has predicted Vermont to finish 9th out of 11 this year with a total of 34 points. The Preseason Poll was released Tuesday at the league’s annual media day at the Legends Club at the TD Garden.

“The pace is different this year,” Coach Kevin Sneddon said, who is entering his 10th season leading the team. “I think this stems from an increase in our talent level. Our strength and conditioning coach deserves a lot of credit, Justin Smith. The guys are in shape and are ready to go. So practices have been at a much higher tempo than we’re used to seeing.”

Eleven new players will grace the ice this year dressed in the green and gold. Six of which are forwards, along with three defensemen and two goaltenders. Assistant Coaches Kyle Wallack and Kevin Patrick recruited these new players.

The class features Brendan Bradley (Richboro, Pa.), Patrick Feeley (Winthrop, Mass.), Thomas Forgione (South Burlington, Vt.), Robert Hamilton (Calgary, Alberta), Malcolm McKinney (West Vancouver, B.C.), Chris Muscoby (Airdrie, Alberta), Mario Puskarich (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), Bradley Ryan (Mississauga, Ontario), Michael Santaguida (Mississauga, Ontario), Brady Shaw (Ottawa, Ontario) and Michael Stenerson (Surrey, B.C.).

“We have added depth and competition in every position on our roster,” Sneddon said. “We felt we took a step forward last year by improving the culture within our program. Step two was to increase our talent level and our competition for playing time. Now we will focus on the development and team cohesion of this group as we strive for excellence.”

Last season, the team finished 11-19-6 with an 8-13-6 conference record. They have improved their win total in 2011-12 from 6-27-1 and they are poised to improve it again. The Catamounts lost in the Hockey East Quarterfinals to Boston College, which is predicted to finish first this year, along with UMass Lowelll, according to the preseason poll.

The Catamounts maintain a steady goalkeeper this year with sophomore goalie Brody Hoffman. The goalkeeper finished last year’s season tied for second place with Tim Thomas and Rob Madore on the all time single season games played list.

Hoffman saved 942 shots last year, ranking him fifth in UVM single season saves. Hoffman finished 19 saves behind Tim Thomas who saved 961 in 1994-95.

The Catamounts also have Chris McCarthy, the senior forward who led the team in goals with 13 goals, 18 assists and 31 points last season. McCarthy will look to lead the team in his final season. Last year, McCarthy was given a Hockey East Sportsman award and being named to the all conference team.

In their first conference home games of the season, the Catamounts will be facing the newest Hockey East members, Notre Dame, this season Nov. 1 and 2 at Gutterson Field House.