As the UVM women’s hockey team skated out for warmups, the student section, a sea of green and gold, roared with approval.
The women’s hockey team held their fifth annual Pack the Gut game on Friday, facing off against the University of Connecticut. The Catamounts pulled out the 1-0 win in a very important conference game.
The Pack the Gut event was started in 2013 by former forward Danielle Rancourt ’14.
“[She] wanted the intensity of a men’s game at Gutterson at a women’s game. Additionally, the Pack the Gut game originally benefited and continues to benefit the charity Meals on Wheels,” said Chris Gallogly, media relations and sports information assistant.
Tickets for the evening are sold at a discount to the public, but are free for UVM students.
“For the women’s hockey program, for many girls it is the largest crowd they will ever play in front of,” Gallogly said. “Not many people play games with a few thousand fans in attendance.”
The almost 1,900 fans that attended the game created a different atmosphere than other home games for the Catamounts.
Despite UVM athletics’ work, Gutterson still had thousands of vacant seats.
“We love the support from all of the people that came,” senior captain Taylor Willard said. “We have to make sure we are keeping our nerves under control.
I thought we did that today and it’s a great feeling to be out there and hear the crowd.”
It took until 3:18 in the third period for sophomore forward Ali O’Leary to break the game’s scoreless tie.
Both teams had good chances in the first period, but neither could finish.
The Catamounts’ best chance in the period came when an O’Leary shot hit the post at 7:12.
The Catamounts had three power play opportunities in the second period, but were not able to get past UConn goalie Annie Belanger.
“I didn’t really like the way we played in the first period and I thought we had a lot of chances in the second [period],” head coach Jim Plumer said.
In the third period the Catamounts were finally able to break through, with first-year forward Alyssa Holmes passing the puck off to O’Leary, who crushed a shot past Belanger.
Senior defender Amanda Drobot also picked up the secondary assist on the play.
Plumer said that despite the atmosphere, he didn’t think the team felt any pressure, and that they got to experience an atmosphere only present at most men’s games.
UConn didn’t go down without a fight, and UVM spent ten minutes of the third period one player down. The Huskies did not capitalize. Sophomore goaltender Sydney Scobee finished the game with 41 saves.
“To get that two points [in the standings] and basically ensure that we have the tiebreaker over them was pretty important,” Plumer said.
The Catamounts also faced off against UConn on Saturday for Senior Night, where both teams were held scoreless in a 0-0 draw.
The Catamounts honored five seniors: defenders Taylor Willard, Amanda Drobot, Katherine Pate, and forwards Mackenzie MacNeil and Kourtney Menches.
Vermont moves to 10-17-5 overall and 7-12-4 in Hockey East play and finishes out the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Northeastern University.