BURLINGTON, Vt. Vermont used a balance offensive attack as four different Catamounts scored in a 4-1 win over Merrimack in front of the 43rd straight sellout crowd of 4,003 at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Saturday night. Sophomore Peter Lenes (Shelburne, Vt.), sophomore Dean Strong (Mississauga, Ontario), junior Slavomir Tomko (Zvolen, Slovakia) and freshman Colin Vock (Plymouth, Mich.) all scored goals to give Vermont its third straight Hockey East win. The Catamounts improve to 5-4-1 on the season and 3-1-1 in league play while Merrimack falls to 1-9-1 and 1-5-0 in the conference.
Merrimack works really hard and they are very disciplined in their systems and they dont take a lot of chances so you dont find yourself with a lot of odd man rushes, Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. I thought they played hard from start to finish. For us it was a matter of when we got up 2-1; smelling blood a little bit and going after the 3-1 and 4-1. I was certainly pleased with the way we played in the third period.
Strong gave Vermont a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the game when he scored his team high seventh goal of the season. With the Catamounts on the power play the sophomore knocked in a rebound after a deflection by freshman Viktor Stålberg (Gothenburg, Sweden). Lenes fired in the initial shot to set up the score to earn his third assist of the year.
Merrimack would tie the game at one with 8:49 to play in the first period on a power-play goal by junior Derek Pallardy. It was just the 14th goal of the season in 11 games for the Warriors.
With the game tied at one in the second period and the Catamounts on the power play, Lenes blasted a one-timer from the right circle past Merrimack senior goalie Jim Healey to give the Catamounts a 2-1 advantage. Senior Ryan Gunderson (Bensalem, Pa.) and junior co-captain Torrey Mitchell (Greenfield Park, Quebec) each assisted. It was the third goal of the season for Lenes.
Vermont opened up a 3-1 lead on a drive by Tomko from the left circle at 6:38 of the third period. Freshman Brayden Irwin (Toronto, Ontario) set up the score by winning a face off straight back to an open Tomko for his first goal of the season. Vock notched his fourth goal of the year at 16:15 of the third period to make it 4-1 Catamounts. Irwin and senior assistant captain Kenny Macaulay (Baddeck, Nova Scotia) both assisted.
Vermont junior goalie Joe Fallon (Bemidji, Minn.) made 14 saves to pick up his fifth win of the year and Healey made 27 stops in the loss for Merrimack. Fallons 1.66 goals against average this season is tops in Hockey East.
UVM went 2-for-7 on the power play and the Warriors went 1-for-7.
The Catamounts return to action on Tuesday when they visit Massachusetts at 7:00pm. The Minutemen are 6-1-1 on the season.
GAME NOTES: Vermont has gone six straight games holding its opponents to fewer than three goals ... Dean Strong has scored in four of the last five games ... Vermont is 18-4-3 when Strong records at least one point over the last two seasons ... Brayden Irwins two assists gave him the first multi-point game of his career ... Vermont is undefeated (5-0) with Irwin in the lineup this season ... Colin Vocks four goals are the third most for a rookie in Hockey East so far this year ... Torrey Mitchell has recorded at least one point in all but two games this season.