Step aside St. Louis, Thomas and Perrin
The last time the Cats were in the Frozen Four was in 1996, when they were led by current NHLers Martin St. Louis, Tim Thomas and Eric Perrin.
That team fell in the semifinals in double overtime to Colorado College on a controversial goal off a hand pass.
Senior Peter Lenes remembers watching the game 13 years ago after his parents took him out of school.
“It is kind of funny, some of the buddies who were taken out [of school in 1996] with me can’t believe that we were taken out once for this and I am now participating in it,” Lenes said. “I think there is just a great buzz around Burlington and people are excited.”
This is just Vermont’s second ever trip to the Frozen Four.
In true feline style, the Cats have been given a second life and have more than taken advantage of it.
After being swept by UMass-Lowell in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs, Vermont was forced to sit and wait for just over two weeks to find out if their regular season was good enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament.
Sure enough, it was, and the Cats rolled through Yale on their way to the quarterfinal battle with Air Force.
In the game against the Falcons, the Cats thought they had won at the end of overtime but the referee did not find conclusive evidence to award Vermont the winning goal.
Yet again in double overtime the refs went to the replay booth — this time for over 12 minutes — before awarding the Cats the victory on a Dan Lawson shot that went through the net.
“The officials wanted to make sure the call was right and you have to be patient,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “It was a tough process but the right process.
“We all know that Vermont was on the end of a bad call back in 1996 so instant replay is critical now to get the call right. I think all us coaches want the right call made so it is worth the wait.”
After playing nearly five periods, waiting 12 minutes for a verdict from the referees and then driving back to Burlington all night, was Dan Lawson still excited to see his game winning goal sail through the back of the net?
“Actually, coincidentally, right when we got back from the bus, like 4:30 in the morning, got to my dorm room, turned on SportsCenter and next thing up was Vermont versus Air Force and I got to see [the goal],” Lawson said. “I was pretty excited.”
The goal that kept the referees in the review booth for an excruciating 12 minutes and eventually sent the Cats to the Frozen Four has found its way onto ESPN and will remain in UVM athletic lore.
Until next year for Stalberg
The top three finalists for the Hobey Baker award were announced on Thursday and Vermont junior Viktor Stalberg was not one of them.
The forward from Sweden led the Cats in both goals and assists, notching 24 and 21 this season, respectively, and was one of the top 10 finalists for the prestigious award.
A NHL prospect who was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Stalberg could choose to go to the NHL after this season.
While Stalberg was not named one of the top three, the Hockey East conference was wellrepresented as all three finalists hail from either Boston University or Northeastern.