BURLINGTON, Vt. - Andy Balysky's goal directly off an offensive zone faceoff just 10 seconds into the third period proved to be the game-winner as Providence skated past Vermont 5-2 on Sunday in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts fell to 5-16-1 (2-12-1 HEA) with the loss, while the Friars swept the regular season series and evened their record at 9-9-2 (7-5-1 HEA).
"Sometimes the puck had eyes tonight for them and we're disappointed," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "Our guys are pretty bummed out having played pretty well and in the third period and overtime (on Friday) and to try and come with that same energy. We just didn't have our skills as well as last game and that was frustrating and disappointing and a couple of goals we need to be better on. That was the difference in the game I thought."
After a scoreless first period, Vermont earned its third power play of the night early in the second and took the lead roughly three minutes in. Michael Paliotta and Anders Franzon played catch along the blue line and Franzon fed Paliotta for a one-timer at the left point. H.T. Lenz was able to tip the drive past Alex Beaudry into the lower right corner to give the Catamounts a 1-0 lead.
Shortly after the goal, a Lenz boarding minor led to the Friars' their first power play of the night. Matt Berglund worked his way open for a shot at the top of the right circle and he whipped it toward the net. Rob Madore made the initial save, but Drew Brown poked the puck to Ross Mauermann and he slid it home to knot the score at one.
Late in the middle frame, Providence took its first lead of the afternoon. The Friars won a faceoff in their own zone and Damian Cross skated down the right wing boards into the UVM zone. Cross dropped the puck off to Daniel New who took it into the corner and threw it to the right post. Derek Army drove the net and tipped it under Madore at 18:39 to put PC on top 2-1.
Providence wasted no time in the third as it doubled the lead 10 seconds into the final stanza. Army won a draw in the right faceoff circle and worked it cleanly back to Andy Balysky. The senior unleashed a quick wrist shot from the top of the circle and beat Madore high for a 3-1 Friar advantage.
The Catamounts responded at the 12:16 mark of the third period with an impressive individual effort from Colin Markison. The freshman took a pass from Drew MacKenzie at his own blue line and streaked down the right wing into the PC zone. Markison curled and dragged the puck through the right circle and used a defenseman as a screen to beat Beaudry short side.
Once again, the Friars had a quick response as Army skated toward the Vermont zone during a Providence line change. The sophomore came across the UVM blue line and slapped a shot that beat Madore over his left shoulder. Army's goal came just 1:10 after Markison's tally and put PC back ahead by two goals.
Vermont fought to get back within one in the final minutes but was unable to beat Beaudry on several net-front scrambles. Madore was pulled with two minutes left in regulation to create a 6-on-4 power play, and UVM finished the game in that situation after a penalty on Myles Harvey at 19:35. Off the faceoff, Mauermann shot the puck all the way down the ice into an empty net to seal the win with 11 seconds left. The Cats finished the night 1-9 on the man advantage while the Friars cashed in one of their two power plays.
"I certainly thought they did a nice job on our power play," said Sneddon. "I think they were very aggressive on our corner guys and we didn't handle that pressure very well. When we had it up top we were able to create some chances, we just couldn't finish off the plays we needed to make and they did. We really fought the momentum tonight, we had stretches (where) we would lose it, we'd fight to get it back and that was more demoralizing than anything."
The Catamounts return to action next Friday (Jan. 20) as they travel to face UMass Amherst (8-8-5, 4-6-4 HEA) for a rematch of Frozen Fenway at 7 p.m. Three of the last four meetings between the Catamounts and Minutemen have been decided by one goal. All the action can be heard live on WVMT-620 AM and online at SportsJuice.com, as Alastair Ingram calls the play-by-play with pre-game coverage starting at 6:30 p.m.
NOTES: Drew MacKenzie extended his season-high point streak to eight games with his third period assist, and now has a point in 10 of his last 11 games ... Vermont out-shot Providence 30-17, including a 13-3 edge in the third period ... UVM averaged nearly 32 shots per game in three meetings with PC this season and won the shot battle in all three games ... The Catamounts have scored at least one power play goal in seven of their last eight games ... Vermont took a total of six penalties against UMass Lowell and Providence this weekend and remains the least penalized team in Hockey East.