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BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont freshman Jack Downing (New Canaan, Conn.) scored the game-winning goal on the power play with 1:28 left in overtime to give the Catamounts a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over St. Lawrence in front of a crowd of 3,712 at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Saturday night. Vermont improved to 4-6-3 (3-3-2 HEA) on the season with the win while St. Lawrence dropped to 6-9-3 (2-4-2 ECAC).
Freshman Josh Franklin (Wrentham, Mass.) recorded the first goal of his career, sophomore Colin Vock (Plymouth, Mich.) had a power-play goal and junior assistant captain Corey Carlson (Two Harbors, Minn.) notched his team-high fifth score of the year for the Catamounts.
Junior co-captain Dean Strong (Mississauga, Ontario) added three assists as Vermont won for the first time when trailing after two periods since Dec. 20, 2003 in a 4-3 overtime victory against Connecticut. The win over UConn also happened to be the first-ever for Kevin Sneddon as head coach at UVM.
"We needed one of those games," Sneddon said. "A tight one-goal game where we find a way to win. It wasn't always pretty out there but I'm proud of the team. They found a way in the third period to notch the equalizer and to go after it in overtime."
Prior to the victory against the Saints, the Catamounts had gone a span of 48 games (0-44-4) without a win when trailing after 40 minutes. Vermont had earned a pair of come-from-behind ties against No. 4 Boston College (3-3) and No. 12 Harvard (2-2) this season.
With the Catamounts trailing 3-2 in the third, Carlson tied the game at 6:34 of the period. He made a sensational move to maneuver around a St. Lawrence defenseman at the left circle to come free in the slot. Vock and Strong each assisted.
Following a St. Lawrence penalty in overtime sophomore Brian Roloff (West Seneca, N.Y.) setup Downing for the game-winner with a backdoor pass to the left pipe.
"Going into break you couldn't ask for more than an overtime win like that," Downing said. "This gives the team a lot to build on for the second half of the season"
Downing's second goal of the season helped Vermont improve to 3-1-2 in its last six contests. The Catamounts now head into a 13-day layoff before the first round of Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup on December 29.
Vermont took an early 2-0 lead before St. Lawrence responded with three consecutive goals.
Franklin scored 7:25 into the opening period on a rebound in front off a shot by Downing to make it 1-0.
Then Vock gave UVM a 2-0 advantage at 13:27 with a wrister from the slot for his fourth goal of the year. Strong and Carlson each assisted on the power-play tally.
St. Lawrence answered with a goal by junior Jared Ross just 10 seconds later to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Second period goals by sophomore Mike McKenzie on the power play and freshman Aaron Bogosian at even strength put the Saints in front 3-2 going to the third period.
UVM was out shot 9-3 in the second period. Sneddon was pleased though with how his team responded in the third to tie the game and force overtime.
"I gave the guys a lot of credit in the postgame," Sneddon said. "In the third period they found their energy and came together to get the job done."
Sophomore Mike Spillane (Bow, N.H.) made his second straight start and made 19 saves to pick up the win.
John Hallas (8 saves), Kain Tisi (3 saves) and Alex Petizian (9 saves) each played a period in goal for St. Lawrence in regulation. Petizian also played in overtime and took the loss.
The Catamounts went 2-for-5 on the power play and have scored eight goals on the man advantage in the last six games. St. Lawrence went 1-for-6.
Vermont returns to action in the Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup on Saturday, Dec. 29. UVM meets Holy Cross in the first round at 6:30pm and Quinnipiac takes on Western Michigan in the early game at 3:30pm. Sunday's consolation game is set for 3:30pm and the championship game will be at 6:30pm.
There will be a giveaway sponsored by the Sheraton and TD Banknorth for both days of the Catamount Cup. Vermont's game on Sunday will feature the annual Teddy Bear Toss, sponsored by Vermont Teddy Bear.
NOTES: Tonight was the 81st meeting between Vermont and St. Lawrence ... The Catamounts have faced the Saints more than any other team in program history ... UVM is 18-14-2 all-time at home against St. Lawrence ... The Catamounts are 7-3-17 in their last 27 overtime games ... Tonight was the first overtime victory for Vermont since a 2-1 win at Harvard on Nov. 28, 2006 ... The Cats are unbeaten in 33 straight when scoring at least four goals ... Freshman Kyle Medvec had a team-high plus-two rating.