BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont junior co-captain Dean Strong (Mississauga, Ontario) scored the equalizer on the power play with 2:32 remaining and the Catamounts played one of their best games of the season to earn a hard-fought 2-2 tie against No. 9 Northeastern in front of a sellout crowd of 4,003 at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Hockey East action on Friday night. It was the sixth overtime game in the last 10 contests for Vermont, who moved to 4-8-6 (3-5-4 HEA) on the season. The Huskies are 11-5-3 overall (8-4-2 HEA) and 10-1-3 in their last 14 contests.
UVM matched a season-high in shots with 37 but Northeastern sophomore goalie Brad Thiessen made 35 saves, including 14 in the second period.
Sophomore Brian Roloff (West Seneca, N.Y.) notched his first goal of the season for the Catamounts.
Sophomore Randy Guzior and junior Dennis McCauley both scored third period goals for Northeastern.
"I thought we had a great game tonight," Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. "Now the challenge is to bring it every night. The guys aren't smiling in the locker room right now. They are disappointed with a tie, which is good, and they are hungry to go back at it tomorrow night."
The Catamounts led 1-0 after two periods behind Roloff's goal at 15:28 of the second. Sophomore Viktor Stalberg (Gothenburg, Sweden) setup Roloff in the slot with a pass from the bottom of the right circle for the score.
However, the Huskies answered with two goals in the first 5:37 of the third to take the lead.
Guzior scored from the slot at the 1:18 mark to tie the game. Then McCauley sent a blast from the right circle that beat UVM sophomore goalie Mike Spillane (Bow, N.H.) to make it 2-1 Huskies with just over 14 minutes remaining.
With the Catamounts on the power play, Strong tied the game 2-2 with 3:32 left. He sent the puck from the right goal line in front and it deflected off a Northeastern defender and past Theissen for the score. It was the fourth goal of the year for Strong and the 11th power-play tally in the last 12 contests for the Catamounts. Junior assistant captain Peter Lenes (Shelburne, Vt.) and senior co-captain Mark Lutz (Stevens Point, Wis.) both assisted.
"The battles, the races to the puck, we looked like a team that was well organized tonight," Sneddon said. "It's a big change from last week to this week and the guys are appreciative of each other and each otherís effort and they should be."
The six ties for Vermont have already matched a program record in a season. The Catamounts are 1-0-6 in overtime this season and are on pace to break the school record of 10 overtime games in a season.
Spillane, making his first start since a 4-3 overtime win against St. Lawrence on Dec. 15, turned away 25 of 27 shots on the night.
"I felt like I was seeing the puck well. I was pleased with that aspect." Spillane said. "I felt like I was competing hard and the guys were playing phenomenal in front of me."
Northeastern finished 0-for-1 on the power play while Vermont went 1-for-3.
The Catamounts complete the regular season series against the Huskies on Saturday at 7:05pm at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The game is sold out. The UVM Student Government Association will distribute foam thumbs to the first 500 students to the game.
NOTES: The Catamounts are 8-4-3 all-time at home against the Huskies ... Vermont is 4-1-3 against NU since joining Hockey East ... UVM's 1-0 lead in the second period was its first lead at any point during a contest since Dec. 15 against St. Lawrence ... Dean Strong went 16-for-24 on faceoffs ... Vermont is 3-2-3 when scoring first this season and 3-0-2 when leading after two periods ... The Catamounts are 3-4-4 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.