Following weekend series against Maine, the men’s hockey team was reeling after a loss and tie against the 19th ranked Black Bears.
“I think our execution all over the ice was terrible,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.
“Bottom line is our team doesn’t come to play every night and I don’t know who we have.”
It was pretty clear going into their series at Providence last weekend that something needed to change. Sneddon articulated the need for positive change along with many of the players.
“It starts in practice,” sophomore goaltender Rob Madore said. “Guys working hard, guys battling, maybe even a little bit harder than we have all year. Keeping each other accountable for our play and maybe not letting things slide as much as we were before.”
Whatever was said in the locker room, and whatever work was put into practice, paid off huge dividends for the Catamounts, who went into Rhode Island and beat Providence 5-1 and tied them the next night 1-1.
In the first game of the back-to-back, five different Catamounts recorded goals, including freshman Sebastian Stalberg, who also added two assists. The freshman line of Stalberg, David Pacan and Chris McCarthy continued to sustain their energy and versatility that has emerged in the past few weeks.
“They’ve been excellent for us,” Sneddon said of the three rookies. “They’re a line that gives us energy. They make plays, and when they make mistakes, it’s stuff we can teach.” In the second game of the weekend double-header, Vermont battled to earn a 1-1 tie and finished the weekend with three points, moving them into a tie for fifth place in the Hockey East conference.
Madore made 32 saves and the freshmen contributions continued with a goal by Pacan. Providence out-shot Vermont but were only 1-6 on the power play as Madore’s play in net was the key for the Catamounts.
“He made a couple of saves tonight that I don’t know how they didn’t end up in the back of the net,” Sneddon said.
As Vermont (13-9-4, 7-8-4) moves forward, there are certainly still things that need work, but after an impressive series against Providence on the road, there are indications that things are starting to look up.
“Our guys fought hard this weekend,” Sneddon said.
“We had urgency and it was playoff style hockey. I think we’re getting closer to where we need to be for the stretch run here.”