Cats fall to No. 3 Nebraska-Omaha in two-game series

The men's hockey team huddle around the net before their game against Acadia University Oct. 4. UVM has a record of 1-2 this season. DAYNA WYCKOFF / The Vermont Cynic
The men’s hockey team huddle around the net before their game against Acadia University Oct. 4. UVM has a record of 1-2 this season. DAYNA WYCKOFF / The Vermont Cynic

In their first visit to Gutterson Fieldhouse, the University of Nebraska-Omaha proved a tough matchup for the Catamounts. Ranked No. 3 in the nation, Nebraska came in winning their last two games.

In the first game of the weekend series, the Mavericks got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period when forward Fredrik Olofsson scored two goals just two minutes apart.

Vermont got on the scoreboard in the second period with sophomore Jarrid Privitera’s power play goal as well as junior Tom Forgione’s short handed goal. Unfortunately for the Cats, Austin Ortega of Nebraska scored twice to extend the UNO lead to 4-2.

Sophomore Anthony Petruzzelli scored in the third period but it was not enough as the Catamounts fell to the Mavericks Friday night by a final score of 4-2.

For game two there were some notable shifts in line combinations. Sophomores Rob Darrar and Travis Blanleil, and first-year defenseman Jake Kearley entered the lineup for game two, assuming the roles that first-years Craig Puffer and Brian Bowen, and sophomore Ori Ambramson had played in game one. Sophomore Kevin Irwin was also moved up to the second line after a productive game one on the fourth line.

The Mavericks got the scoring underway in the first period with a shorthanded goal from Justin Parizek. A high puck beak UVM junior defenseman Rob Hamilton over his head, and Parizek stuffed the puck past junior goalie Mike Santaguida.

Two minutes later a defensive zone giveaway from UVM led to a shot from Omaha’s Austin Ortega from the top of the circle that squeaked past Santaguida.

The second period had no scoring. The Cats nearly beat Omaha’s first -year goaltender Evan Weninger, when junior Mario Puskarich hit the post and junior Brady Shaw nearly tucked home the rebound in the scramble that ensued. A few minutes later, the penalty kill nearly got another goal when a spin-o-rama pass from Forgione was just missed by senior Jon Turk on the back door.

The Cats entered the third period down 2-0. They would finally end Weninger’s scoreless streak, which extended over 100 minutes and included a shutout against No. 6 Minnesota State.  Puskarich scored a power play goal with a one-time blast from the top of the circle. This came halfway through the period after a barrage of Omaha penalties gave UVM a five on three advantage for nearly a full two minutes.

The Cats would later pull Santaguida with 1:37 left on the clock, but this resulted in another goal from Omaha’s Austin Ortega. senior Alexx Privitera and Shaw collided on the play giving Ortega a free path to the empty net to score his fifth goal of the season and fourth of the weekend.

“We got beat by a team that has better details that we do,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “They are what we hope to be pretty soon. There are still too many offensive and defensive details that we are letting slip by and it’s hurting us.”

UVM’s record sits at 1-2-0 and the schedule gets no easier with No. 1 University of North Dakota coming to Gutterson next weekend for another two-game series.