Men’s hockey improves over break

As the semester was coming to a close for the majority of UVM’s student body, the student-athletes of the men’s hockey team were continuing their work, trying to change the course of a season that has largely brought frustration so far.

The team, just two seasons removed from an NCAA Frozen Four Appearance, is struggling this season, a struggle reflected in the team’s record of 4-12-4 overall and 2-8-3 in Hockey East competition.

The remainder of the season will not be easy for the Catamounts, as their schedule will consist solely of Hockey East contests as the Cats battle with these teams for a spot in the Hockey East playoffs.

The team secured their second win of the season over Dartmouth on Dec. 12 and then fell to St. Lawrence 6-4 on Dec. 18.

“It was a strange back-and-forth game,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said of the Dartmouth game. “I told our guys they had to find a way and that no one was going to feel sorry for them.”

Following a brief holiday break, the team picked up some strong momentum in an exhibition game when they rolled over U.S. National University in decisive fashion, 7-1 on Dec. 29.

This carried the Catamounts into the 15th annual Catamount Cup tournament, a tournament hosted by Vermont each year to begin January.

Vermont was the champion of the Cup in the last two seasons, but this New Year’s they were defeated by Ohio State, 3-1, on the opening night of the tournament.

Though Vermont defeated Harvard, Sneddon’s alma mater, in the final game of the four-game tournament, Ohio State claimed the Cup as they were the only undefeated team in the tournament.

“I thought they played hard, I thought their goaltender was excellent and you know I thought they bounced back from their game last night [against Ohio State] and played an excellent game,” Harvard head coach Ted Donato said of Vermont’s play against the Crimson in the Catamount Cup.

Sneddon described the games played during UVM’s winter break as somewhat of a “preseason” for the team before they launch into Hockey East play, which will eventually lead them to the final stretch of the regular season.

“As I told our guys, this is our little mini preseason here … getting ready for the Hockey East schedule,” Sneddon said.

The team suffered yet another loss against Boston University on Jan. 9, 4-2, but bounced back with a 3-1 victory against Northeastern five days later on Jan. 14.

“I thought our team played hard from start to finish tonight,” Sneddon said of the Northeastern victory. “I told our guys after the game that everyone in the room contributed, whether it was a shot block or back check or taking a hit to make a play, making an offensive play; we just did a lot of really good things.”