Freshman right-winger Joey Gasparini scored the game-winner with 38 seconds left in overtime to give the UVM Men’s Hockey team their first win over the Fairfield University Stags on Saturday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Gasparini. “For myself, getting it in overtime is a remarkable feeling.”
The win over Fairfield is Vermont’s first of the season and snaps a 16 game winless streak extended from last season. It is also Vermont’s first non-conference win in a year and a half; the last one being a 3-2 win in OT against Clarkson on March 11, 2001.
Fairfield senior captain Rae Metz scored early in the first period on a power play to make it 1-0 for the Stags.
With five minutes left in the period Vermont captain John Longo answered back with his own power play goal to tie it up. Fairfield was able to make it 2-1 with only 22 seconds left in the first when Cody Wojdyla buried a loose puck in front of Vermont freshman net-minder Travis Russell.
Russell was having his first start after giving up six goals in two periods against UNH and was solid in net the whole game, shutting out the Stags after the nineteenth minute of the first period, and tallying 13 saves, including three in overtime.
Russell expressed confidence in his team after the game, saying, “We have a great team this year; I’m sure there’s many more [wins] to come.”
The Cats played most of the second and third periods right up in Fairfield goalie Craig Schnappinger’s face with numerous close scoring chances that the Cats just couldn’t capitalize on.
Vermont Junior Jeff Miles was able to put one in to tie it up at the end of the second period from a nice setup by seniors Ryan Miller and Thomas Hajek.
The Cats dominated in overtime as well, playing the whole five minute period in the Stags defensive zone. The whole bench rushed the ice after Gasparini’s goal with 38 seconds left and cheers could be heard for quite a while from outside the locker room after the game.
The Catamounts (1-2-2) take on Wayne State this Friday at 7:00p.m. at Gutterson Field House. Says Vermont junior Jeff Miles, “It feels good to get a win.”