Cats fall short in season opener

 

Vermont men’s hockey faced off against seventh-ranked University of North Dakota Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena to mark the start of the 2013-14 regular season.

The Catamounts open the 50th anniversary of the UVM men’s hockey program.

North Dakota outscored Vermont for the 5-3 victory with a total of four unanswered goals. “We did a good job mounting a 3-1 lead and we kind of beat ourselves,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.

“There were a lot of momentum swings in the game, not for long periods, but we just got out-muscled on pucks a couple of times and they turned them into real good scoring chances,” Sneddon said. “There was far more good than bad, as much as I hate blowing a two-goal lead on the road.”

With less than three minutes into regulation, senior Nick Bruneteau scored the first goal of the night with an assist from first-years Brady Shaw and Rob Hamilton off a power play.

North Dakota’s Adam Tambellini, tied the game 29 seconds later short side on first year UVM goalie Mike Santaguida.

The Catamounts did not leave the game tied for long as first-year Tom Forgione scored his first goal of his UVM career with help from senior forwards Pete Massar and Matt White.

Hamilton also scored his first UVM career tally for the night with five minutes left in the middle frame increasing the lead 3-1.

North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi answered with a shot from the inside. UND continued scoring with 1:10 left in the second period with a goal from Brendan O’Donnell.

Mark MacMillan and Drake secured the victory for North Dakota both scoring goals making the final score 5-3. UVM was scheduled to face off against UND again Saturday night Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.

Vermont tied North Dakota 2-2 on Saturday night moving their record to 0-1-1 (0-0-0 HEA).

“We’re not pleased with the tie but we’re pleased with the resilience, being down 2-0 and all the momentum with them,” Sneddon said.

“It was good for our freshmen to experience and for our leaders to show the way,” he added.

After 10:58 in the first period UND’s Jordan Schmaltz assisted Rocco Grimaldi for the first goal of the night on a power play making the lead 1-0.

Sophomore Drake Caggiula scored the second tally for North Dakota with 43 seconds left increasing the lead to 2-0.

Sophomore Jonathan Turk assisted fellow sophomore Robert Polesello as he scored in the left circle with 3:34 in the second off the underside of Zane Gothberg’s glove.

Bruneteau assisted senior Chris McCarthy for the final goal of the game making it a tied score of 2-2 when his wrist shot was on the high glove side of Gothberg.

“The third was back and forth. They carried the momentum and we carried the momentum. Overall it was a good college hockey game,” Sneddon said.

In overtime the Catamounts failed to capitalize on a power play of 1:48, which ended the game with a tie. Santaguida ended the game with 31 back-to-back game saves to mark the opening of his collegiate career.

UVM’s next game will be Saturday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. for the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The Nittany Lions opened up their season at home against Army Oct. 11. The team’s 2013-2014 premier on the ice ended with the first win for the team, coming out 4-1 over Army.

A Penn State player that Vermont can lookout for is junior defenseman Nate Jensen who is a top scorer for the Nittany Lions.