Men’s hockey opens season with shutout win over No. 8 Minnesota

Junior Mario Puskarich skates during warm ups at Gutterson Fieldhouse last year before a game against ClarkssonUniversity Oct. 17. COLE WANGSNESS/The Vermont Cynic
Junior Mario Puskarich skates during warm ups at Gutterson Fieldhouse last year before a game against Clarkson University Oct. 17. COLE WANGSNESS/The Vermont Cynic

Despite entering the game trailing the University of Minnesota in the national rankings, UVM won its first game of the season against the Gophers Oct. 10. Defying the odds on the road — against a team that has won nearly 80 percent of its home games in the past few years — Vermont beat Minnesota 3-0.

Minnesota entered the season ranked 8th nationally in various preseason polls and packed their arena with nearly 10,000 fans to see their Gophers take on the Catamounts in the season-opening “Hall of Fame Game.”

Junior Mario Puskarich scored two goals, including one with nine seconds remaining in the first period. Puskarich’s shot trickled past Minnesota first-year goaltender Eric Schierhorn and Puskarich maneuvered around his man and tapped  the rolling puck into the net.

He added another goal early in the third period that included sophomore Trey Philip’s first career college hockey assist. With Minnesota’s goalie pulled late in the third, senior Jonathan Turk scored the final goal a minute remaining. First-year Liam Coughlin got his first college hockey point for assisting Turk.

Junior Mike Santaguida fixes his equipment during the Catamounts game against Acadia University. UVM lost to the Axemen 2-1. COLE WANGSNESS/The Vermont Cynic
Junior Mike Santaguida fixes his equipment during the Catamounts game against Acadia University. UVM lost to the Axemen 2-1. DAYNA WYCKOFF/The Vermont Cynic

Mike Santaguida got the start in net for the Catamounts and did not allow a goal as he picked up his fifth career shutout. He faced 24 shots — the majority of which came in the first two periods. 

UVM held Minnesota to four shots in the third period, while successfully killing off their fourth penalty of the game. “I thought we got better as the game wore on. We played a really smart third period. We played to win,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said, according to UVM athletics. “We had a lot of first-year players in key situations and our returning players stepped up and showed them how to win in the third.” 

 

The Catamounts will face No. 10 University of Nebraska-Omaha at 7:05 p.m. Oct. 16 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.