Vermont busts losing streak

The men’s hockey team skated to a win and a loss on Feb. 17 and 18 on the road against New Hampshire in Hockey East action. The first game resulted in a 4-3 Catamount win and the second game went to the Wildcats, 3-1.

The team’s record stands at 6-23-1 (3-19-1 HEA) following the weekend series.

“I think we played a pretty good game and I thought both goaltenders played excellent tonight,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said after Saturday’s game. “We tried to make a few adjustments on our strategy going into the third period, but we just didn’t make enough plays tonight and UNH did.”

Sneddon is taking the second game’s loss in a positive light, however, seeing that there is still some promise in the future of the team.

“Again, for the most part I thought we battled as if we were fighting for a playoff spot or home ice — it was a gutsy effort,” he said. “There are a lot of positive things for us to focus on and definitely some teaching points as well.”

The first game of the series was decided in overtime and the Catamounts came out on top.

“I’m very proud of our team; I think it just shows the kind of character we have, being down late on the road, finding a way to get the equalizer, and then playing to win in overtime,” Sneddon said. “I thought we did a pretty good job defensively tonight and Rob [Madore] was very good at times when we needed him.”

It was the Wildcats who struck first in the game, though, when Scott Pavelski sent a wrist shot into the net at 7:18 of the first period.

The Catamounts came back to tie it just seconds later at 7:53. Sophomore H.T. Lenz deflected a shot that first-year Michael Paliotta had taken, and tied the score at one.

UNH’s Eric Knodel knocked in a power-play goal at 19:10 of the first, giving the Wildcats a one-goal edge to carry into the second period.

Neither team scored again until the third period, when Paliotta picked up a pass from first-year Kyle Reynolds and scored at 8:31.

UNH had a quick answer and took back the lead at 9:16 when Kevin Goumas scored from the top of the crease.

Lenz factored into the game again in a big way as the third was winding down into its final seconds. Lenz scored for the second time at 19:46 when he collected the puck from senior Drew MacKenzie and fired a slap shot into the net.

This tied the game at three and sent the game into overtime.

It was Mackenzie who scored the game-winner at 1:38 of the overtime period when he knocked in a rebound.

The second game of the weekend held a different result for the Catamounts.

Vermont did score first in this game at 17:00 in the first period, when graduate student Brett Bruneteau knocked in a rebound off a shot his brother, sophomore Nick Bruneteau, had taken.

Bruneteau’s goal was the only one the Catamounts could muster in the contest, as three different New Hampshire players recorded the subsequent goals that brought the score to 3-1.

Vermont will host Boston University at Gutterson Fieldhouse for their next series on Feb 24 and 25. This will be the final home series of the regular season for the Catamounts.