Trouble with the Green Monster

The difficulties of the season did not cease for the men’s hockey team over the winter academic break. The team was able to come up with two wins in eight games over the break and their record ended at 5-16-1 overall.

Games played over the break consisted of St. Lawrence, an exhibition game against the Russian Red Stars, the Catamount Cup tournament, Maine, UMass Amherst at Fenway Park, UMass-Lowell, and Providence.

The team’s first break victory came against Ferris State during the annual Catamount Cup, a holiday tournament the Catamounts host at Gutterson.

Though Vermont didn’t win the tournament, the team did snap a previous five-game losing streak with the win.

“I think that was our first real 60-minute effort of solid competition and I’m very happy for the guys that they got rewarded for it,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said.

Any momentum gained from the Catamount Cup win was short-lived though, as the Catamounts lost to Maine 3-1 in their next contest.

Though Vermont lost the game, Sneddon was pleased with the team’s performance, especially considering the injuries the team is facing.

The injury list includes sophomore Connor Brickley, who was injured playing for the US in the World Junior Championships and will be out indefinitely.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of our team right now;w I thought it was like a playoff game with kids blocking shots left and right for both teams, finishing checks, doing all the little things,” Sneddon said. “We’re a team that’s pretty depleted right now in terms of six or seven different players being out of the line up and we had guys step up and play some key minutes for us.”

It was then that the team travelled to Boston to participate in Frozen Fenway against UMass-Amherst.

The injury-plagued Catamounts held their own, scoring first and then tying the game after Umass went ahead with a 2-1 lead.

When the game went into overtime the stalemate continued until there were just 22 seconds left in the game. It was then that UMass’s Michael Marcou netted a power-play goal to lift the Minutemen over the Catamounts for a final score of 3-2.

“I give our guys a lot of credit, everything we addressed in between periods they adapted to and executed in the game really well,” Sneddon said.”We had some great looks to win it, both in regulation on that five minute power play, and certainly in overtime. I told the guys, it’s a game of inches and it was a hard-fought game both ways. I’m proud of the way our guys represented our institution here in Boston this weekend.”

Following the heart-breaking loss, the Catamounts skated to their second victory of the break six days later, this time against UMass-Lowell.

The Catamounts defeated Lowell 3-2 at Gutterson, after they trailed the River Hawks 2-0 going into the third period.

First-year Colin Markison and junior Sebastian Stalberg scored within seconds of each other in the third period against Lowell to tie the game before graduate student Brett Bruneteau notched the game-winner in overtime.

“That third period might have been the best period I’ve seen our guys play all year,” Sneddon said. “We were first to pucks and we finished every check. I’m hoping this is a learning game for us that if we play that way all the time we’ll be a pretty good hockey team.”

Vermont fell to Providence 5-2 in the following game on Jan 15, wrapping up the academic break.

Next up is a rematch against Frozen Fenway opponent UMass-Amherst, this time at UMass on Jan. 20.