BURLINGTON, Vt. - 12 different Catamounts tallied at least one point and Vermont came back in the third period to skate past former ECAC rival Dartmouth 5-3 on Sunday afternoon in non-conference action at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Sebastian Stalberg scored twice and was one of three UVM players to record a multi-point game in the winning effort.
The Catamounts had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in each of the first two periods but had to battle back from 3-2 down in the final frame with a pair of tallies in less than two minutes to secure the victory. Vermont improves to 3-8-1 (1-6-1 HEA) with its fourth straight win over the Big Green, which falls to 4-5-1 (3-3-1 ECAC) in defeat.
"Every time we thought we built momentum, Dartmouth had an answer for it. We talk about the answer factor, not only did we answer to tie it up but we got the go ahead goal," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "I don't think we played as well as we did against Colgate but it was certainly nice to score four 5-on-5 goals and then finish with an empty-netter. It was certainly good to be rewarded for our work ethic tonight, I'm very pleased for the guys."
The Catamounts took the lead less than five minutes into the first period as they skated in on a 3-on-1 against Dartmouth goalie James Mello. Colin Markison charged down the left wing boards and dropped the puck to Lance Herrington. The senior defenseman fed it back to Markison, who quickly slid a touch pass across the crease to Stalberg for a wide open tip in.
Dartmouth found the equalizer roughly four minutes later courtesy of its top line. Doug Jones fed the puck to Eric Robinson along the right half wall inside the Vermont zone, and Robinson curled around the circle to whip a wrist shot toward goal from the outside hash mark. Matt Lindblad provided a screen in front of Alex Vazzano and the puck found a way past his stick side to knot the game at one.
In the second period, UVM regained its advantage as Michael Paliotta netted his first career goal. Paliotta pinched to keep the puck in the Big Green zone at the right point and fired a one-timer toward Mello. The shot hit off a Dartmouth skate in the low slot and deflected past the senior netminder to give Vermont a 2-1 lead. Fellow freshman Kyle Reynolds and Mike Montagna grabbed the two assists.
Dartmouth had another answer roughly six minutes later after a prolonged scrum in front of Vazzano. The sophomore saved a point shot with his blocker and punched the rebound out to Lindblad, who spun a shot toward goal that was also stopped. A third rebound came out to Robinson in the left slot and he finally buried the puck past a sprawling Vazzano to even the game at two.
Vermont nearly regained the lead by hitting the post twice in less than three minutes around the second intermission. With under a minute to go in the second, Stalberg threw a puck toward goal from the left circle, but it bounced off the skate of H.T. Lenz and rung off the far post. Two minutes into the third, Matt White fired a rebound over Mello's left shoulder, but the puck hit both the crossbar and post and stayed out as the score remained 2-2.
At the 4:00 mark of the final frame, Dartmouth took its first lead of the day as Lindblad gained the Vermont blueline. The sophomore dropped the puck off to Jones, who buried a quick wrist shot into the upper right corner to make it 3-2 Big Green. The Catamounts responded a minute later as Anders Franzon threw a pass across the slot from the right point. The puck deflected to Anthony DeCenzo, who dished it off to Drew MacKenzie for a backhand at the right post to tie it up again at 5:02.
Less than two minutes later, Vermont went back ahead for good. After a point shot caromed to the end boards, Lenz collected the loose puck and cycled down low to Brett Bruneteau. The junioe dished a short pass near the right post for Connor Brickley, and he quickly buried the puck over Mello's left shoulder to restore the Catamount lead. Dartmouth pulled Mello for an extra skater with roughly a minute left, but Stalberg pushed home an empty-net goal with three seconds left to seal the victory.
"We have to stick to what we've been doing. As coach has been preaching, we've been playing great we just haven't gotten those wins and we have to believe and keep going," said Stalberg. "Today wasn't the prettiest game but we'd rather come away with the win. We have to grind it out and make sure that we get the wins."
Vazzano made 26 saves to collect his first career victory for the Catamounts, while Mello stopped 23 shots in a losing effort. Both teams went 0-2 on the power play as Dartmouth had a narrow 29-28 edge in shots. UVM has now won two of its last three games and tied a season-high with its five goals on the afternoon.
Vermont wraps up a five-game homestand next weekend by hosting the Maine Black Bears (4-6-2, 3-5-1 HEA) in a two-game series at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Both games next weekend can be heard live on WVMT 620-AM and on the Internet at SportsJuice.com, with Alastair Ingram calling the play-by-play. Live video is available for free via CatamounTV at UVMathletics.com, and the Saturday game will be televised on WCAXtra.
Friday night is Cat Pride Club Appreciation Night, as members of the club can earn an extra point by attending the game. On Saturday, fans with a ticket to the men's hockey game can also show their ticket for free admission to the women's hockey game against Connecticut at 2 p.m. Saturday also marks the annual Teddy Bear Toss, as well as a Student Government Association giveaway for University of Vermont students.
NOTES: Eight of the last 10 meetings between Vermont and Dartmouth have been decided by a goal or less, and Sunday's contest was three seconds away from finishing as a one-goal game ... The Catamounts have won each of the last four meetings by a total of five goals ... It was the 74th all-time meeting between the schools, which were travel partners in the ECAC before Vermont's move to Hockey East in 2005 ... UVM has killed off nine straight on its penalty kill and hasn't allowed a power play goal in its last four games ... The Cats have taken only 11 penalties in that span ... Paliotta becomes the fourth Vermont player to net his first goal in a Catamount jersey this season, joining Kyle Reynolds, Brett Bruneteau, and Blake Doerring ... Bruneteau and Anders Franzon each had two assists in the win.