Road trippin’ with Cats

Both UVM students and parents alike brought the noise at last weekend’s NCAA Eastern Regionals in Bridgeport, Conn.

“It’s pretty unbelievable — I’m numb to it,” Karen Downing, mother of the Catamounts’ sophomore forward and Connecticut native Jack Downing, said just before UVM’s 4-1 win against Yale on March 27.

UVM families from Connecticut, which also included John Vazzano Sr., father of UVM backup goaltender John Vazzano, got to play a role that they were not accustomed to — ticket-broker.

“I must have gotten 500 calls for tickets — and they’re not cheap,” Vazzano Sr. said. “To have a tournament game in our home state is great.”

“I feel like for the first time I know what it’s like to be a ticket-broker,” Downing added just before the puck dropped. “I’m still getting texts right now.”

A strong contingent of Catamount fans made the journey to Bridgeport as well, including senior Jeff Hutchins. Hutchins said he paid for the steeply-priced ticket – $75 – with “grocery money.”

“I’m sacrificing Ramen and Keystones for a month!” Hutchins joked between periods of Saturday night’s triumph over Air Force, which sent the Cats into the Frozen Four for the second time ever and their first trip since the St. Louis-Perrin-Thomas era in 1996.

Catamount fans — who more than doubled the Air Force contingency and cheered loudly (or jeered the referees equally loudly) — even started a pair of waves during the marathon game that stretched over 90 minutes of play-time.

The Cats will hope to see similar — if not more — support in D.C., where the puck is set to drop at 8:30 p.m. on April 9 at the Verizon Center as the Cats take on No. 1 BU for the fourth time this season.

The Cats are 2-1-0 against the Terriers this season.

Tickets for the Frozen Four are available at the Patrick Gymnasium ticket office and are $177 per ticket.