Vermont’s first-period lead evaporated as the game wore on and the men’s hockey team skated to a 2-2 tie against Northeastern University on Nov. 26 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Junior Drew MacKenzie and sophomore Chris McCarthy netted the two goals for the Catamounts.
Senior captain Tyler McNeely scored the game-tying goal just seconds into the third period for Northeastern. First year Luke Eibler also recorded a goal for the Huskies.
“It just seems like pucks are finding a way into the back of our net in strange ways and it’s not going in for us as easy,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.
“It’s disappointing, I think we did a lot of good things in the third period, we did everything but put the puck in the net.”
The Catamounts struck first in the game at 7:01. Senior Brett Leonard sent the puck to MacKenzie near the Northeastern net and MacKenzie sent a one-timer past sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings to put the Catamounts on top 1-0.
Vermont failed to score during a five-on-three powerplay opportunity when Northeastern first year Anthony Bitetto was sent to the box for holding along with Eibler for cross checking at 10:19.
Senior Dan Lawson came close to capitalizing at 11:30 but his shot from the point hit the post instead of hitting the back of the net.
“I don’t think it [the five-on-three] changed our momentum because I thought we actually did a pretty good job on it,” Sneddon said. “Obviously you want to score on five-on-three and I think we hit two posts and had a couple real close calls … I wasn’t too disappointed in that, I don’t think it really stole momentum by any means.”
The Catamounts increased their lead at 10:28 in the second period, this time able to collect on the power play when McCarthy scored, knocking in a rebound.
Northeastern cut the lead in half quickly though at 11:13. Eibler shot a wrister from the right circle, and it got past junior goalie Rob Madore, bringing the score to 2-1.
McNeely had a breakaway at 15:50 and tried to tie the game, but he could not get the puck into the net.
McNeely got his revenge very early in the third period, though, when he shot the puck past Madore on the glove side just 26 seconds into the period.
This forced the game into overtime as neither team was able to score in the remaining minutes of the third period.
“After we scored, Vermont took their game up to another level and we weren’t able to match it,” Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin said. “Part of that inability to match was our unwillingness to get pucks deep, we kept turning pucks over, we didn’t get pucks out of our zone so Vermont was able to sustain pressure and I think they fed off that momentum all the way down to the end.”
In the final minute of the overtime period, the puck was dangling close to Northeastern’s goal line. Rawlings took control, however, and covered the puck with his glove, preserving the 2-2 tie.