UVM hockey starts slowly

The UVM men’s hockey team has had two consecutive 20-win seasons but this year, they have only won three out of their last 13 and currently stand at 3-9-2.

Students reflected on the team’s start to the season.

First-year Morgan Schwartz said that UVM has had a slow start.

“It’s tough because we just want to see them win and they haven’t been good at home recently; I really hope they turn it around soon,” Schwartz said.

Continuing education student Austen Thum agreed.

“The team has been playing alright this year, but they haven’t been getting puck luck and the hockey gods just aren’t on their side right now,” Thum said.

Multiple reasons factor into why they have had such a slow start.

The Catamounts lost two of their best players from last year defensemen Mike Paliotta and Nick Lukko.

Both played significant roles on the team last season.

Losing Paliotta, Lukko and then-junior goaltender Brody Hoffman to professional teams has weakened this year’s men’s hockey team.

That is not to say that current junior goaltender Mike Santaguida has faltered; in fact, according to Sneddon, he has played quite well considering the lack of defensive maturity in front of him.

Sneddon has made it clear that the problem with the Cats this season has not been Santaguida.

UVM has had the hardest schedule in men’s Division I college hockey this year, and is the only team to play all of last year’s Frozen Four participants, according to Rochester Institute of Technology.

In those games, the Cats lost to the University of North Dakota twice and the University of Nebraska Omaha twice.

They will play Boston University this weekend and Providence College later on in the year, the other two teams in last year’s Frozen Four.

Vermont’s first five games were against top-10 ranked opponents: University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota and University of Nebraska-Omaha.

According to Sneddon, the team needs to learn to complete a full 60-minute effort, something the Cats have seldom done this year.

“You’ve got to pay a price to win,” he said. “It’s a hard lesson to learn that if you don’t take your foot off the gas, or pay a price for 60 [minutes], things can happen.”

As of late, the Cats are 1-3-1 in their last five games, with the tie coming from losing a three- goal lead to UMass Amherst in the third period Nov. 15.

The Catamounts’ two losses to the University of Maine came at time when Maine had previously not won a game all year.

The Cats’ schedule does not get any easier from here on out, as they will play No. 11 Boston University this weekend, followed by St. Lawrence University and Union College.