Northeastern downs Vermont as playoffs become a longshot

Northeastern University delivered a pair of losses to the Catamounts in men’s hockey Jan. 27 and 28 in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Friday night’s game ended in an 8-3 Northeastern victory while Saturday’s loss was 4-2.

Vermont’s record stands at 5-19-1, 2-15-1 HEA, following the weekend series. With their two victories, the Huskies swept the season series against the Catamounts.

Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon was pleased with the effort of the injury-laden Catamounts in Saturday’s game.

“I felt like we got a lot out of our team tonight from a lineup that was anything but what we thought it would look like at the beginning of the season,” he said.

“I know there are no moral victories, but my point to them tonight was all about when we played together and had each other’s backs and worked hard for each other,” Sneddon said. “We were a lot more effective than last night when we didn’t.”

The Huskies took the initial lead just minutes into the opening period of the game and never relinquished it. They scored four consecutive goals before Vermont first-year Kyle Mountain scored a short-handed goal to put the Catamounts on the scoreboard.

Mountain scored his first career goal with a wrist shot at 13:45 of the second period. First-year Kyle Reynolds and sophomore Matt White scored the other two Catamount goals, both in the third period.

Northeastern sophomore Cody Ferriero recorded his first career hat trick in Friday’s game, netting all three of his goals in the third period.

On Saturday night, the goaltending duties for Vermont fell to sophomore Alex Vazzano, who was making his first start since November.

“After being thrown in there for not playing in quite some time I thought [Vazzano] did a great job; I’m very proud of him,” Sneddon said. “I could tell he was nervous today at pre-game skate and had the jitters, but he calmed himself down and he gave us a chance to win a hockey game tonight, and that’s what we need out of that position.”

Vazzano had 24 saves in the game.

“Any goals that were scored against us tonight were certainly nothing to do with goaltending, and that’s a positive,” Sneddon said.

Northeastern again scored the first goal Saturday evening at 6:56 of the first period. This time, though, Vermont quickly had an answer. Reynolds knocked the puck in at 10:01.

The Huskies surged back to score the only two goals of the second period with scores from junior Alex Tuckerman and first-year Dan Cornell.

In the game’s final period, Vermont got within a goal of tying the game when first-year Colin Markison scored on a rebound with two minutes left in the period. This brought the score to 3-2.

Northeastern’s Ferriero scored an empty-net goal at 19:41, ending the Catamounts’ hopes for a comeback.

Saturday night was also the annual Skating Strides Against B

reast Cancer game. The team raised money for the Vermont Cancer Center.

Vermont’s next challenge will be two games against UMass-Lowell on Feb. 3 and 4.