Cats Win Again!

Vermont’s Jeff Miles scored a hat trick and Ryan Miller added two goals and two assists as the Catamounts won their second straight game, 8-3, over Wayne State in a non-league Division I men’s hockey game Friday.

The Warriors, 2-1-0, had a 14-game unbeaten streak, the longest in the nation, before the loss to UVM.

“That was as good a 20 minutes of hockey that we have played in years,” Gilligan said, referring to the second period. “We played smart and we moved the puck well.”

Vermont, 2-2-2, opened the scoring in a wild, five-goal first period at 8:45 on Brady Leisenring’s rebound goal, with assists going to sophomore defenseman Gerard Miller and freshman Baron Becker. Wayne State responded with a goal of their own less than two minutes later off the stick of Chris Vail, who banged a rebound past Vermont’s Shawn Conschafter after Maxim Starchenko had stolen it on the left boards.

The Warriors, 2-0-0, took a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal by captain Keith Stanich from the high slot.

But Vermont kept at it and senior Ryan Miller scored his first of two straight goals at 16:36 on the power play, holding the puck as he skated through the slot before beating David Guerrera with a low shot. Bryson Busniuk and Conschafter recorded the assists on the play, which started with the Vermont goalie kicking out a shot to the blue line, where Busniuk took it from there to the slot. Miller then scored again at 18:51, pumping in a rebound off a Thomas Hajek shot. Junior Jeff Miles also assisted on the goal, and Vermont had a 3-2 lead after one period.

The Catamounts took a two-goal lead at 6:50 of the second period on Miles’ fifth goal of the year from the doorstep. Thomas Hajek and Miller assisted on the goal, with Hajek carrying the puck in from the blue line before feeding Miles for the easy one-timer.

“Once we got two goals up, our attitude was very solid on the bench and in the locker room. It was good to see us score goals against a quality defense and a solid goaltender.

“We were on our game tonight,” Gilligan continued. “This was a lot of fun tonight.”

Senior Bryson Busniuk scored his first goal of the season midway through the third period, with Leisenring picking up the assist, before Miles scored twice in 75 seconds and then freshman Jeff Corey tallied moments later to give Vermont an 8-2 lead. Wayne State’s Maxim Starchenko scored in the final moments to make for the final margin. Conschafter had 27 saves for Vermont, while Guerrera had 23 for Wayne State.