Entering the 2009-2010 season, the men’s hockey team had to replicate one of the most successful seasons in school history.
Last season, Vermont was ranked as high as third in the national poll and reached the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. They were able to reach the Frozen Four but lost to eventual national champion Boston University 5-4 in the national semifinal.
This season, Vermont looked to replicate the success they were able to create last year and make it back to the NCAA tournament once again.
Overall, Vermont experienced an up-and-down season marred by mid-season controversy and highlighted by a dramatic Hockey East tournament run, as well as a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Vermont finished the season 17-15-7 (9-11-7 HEA) and was ranked in the national top 20 all year long.
There were solid wins against Denver and Yale, and two dramatic wins against rival Boston University.
The team also endured devastating losses to teams that were less superior such as Merrimack.
Another blow was the dismissal of second-leading scorer Justin Milo. Milo was dismissed mid-season for vague reasons that were left mostly unexplained to the media and the community.
Despite the controversy, UVM was able to salvage what could have been a disastrous blow and was able to make a run in the difficult Hockey East Conference tournament.
After losing in the semifinals to Boston College, a bid for the NCAA tournament was in doubt. But when the tournament field was announced Vermont was included as a No. 4 seed in their region against Wisconsin.
In the NCAA tournament game, Vermont jumped out to a 2-1 first period lead before falling 3-2, bringing the roller coaster ride of a season to an end.
“These are terrific young men that are going to do very well. Our seniors in particular are going to do very well, not only in their hockey futures but in life in general because of the quality of their character,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.
Many believed that Vermont did not deserve to make the tournament, but senior Brian Roloff thought otherwise.
“There was a lot of doubt around college hockey about [us]. But with our community and our locker room we felt like we belonged to be here,” Roloff said.