CANTON, N.Y. - Freshman Brody Hoffman made a career-high 39 saves and Vermont used three second period goals to beat longtime rival St. Lawrence 5-2 on Saturday night in non-conference action at Appleton Arena. The Catamounts were a perfect 6-6 on the penalty kill and improved to 4-8-3 (3-5-3 HEA). The Saints dropped to 7-8-2 (1-4-2 ECAC) with their four straight loss.
"I thought St. Lawrence played a great hockey game," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "We got ourselves into a little penalty problem, but the bottom line was we found a way to win. We didn't play nearly to the best of our ability, but we got a good lead, produced some offense and had the chance to learn to play with the lead."
"We talked about weathering the storm. We knew they would come at us with everything they had and we had to kill off another penalty," added Sneddon. "We did a good job of killing it and then finished the job. We did not get too rattled despite the St. Lawrence pressure."
The Saints nearly opened the scoring on an early power play but Hoffman made several saves to keep the game scoreless. Halfway through the first, Jacob Fallon won an offensive zone faceoff back to Chris McCarthy and he curled with the puck into the high slot. McCarthy fired a wrist shot through traffic to beat Matt Weninger blocker side and gave the Catamounts a 1-0 lead.
Less than four minutes into the second period, the Catamounts doubled their lead. Ryan Rosenthal cycled the puck to Mike Montagna below the St. Lawrence goal line and he worked his way to the left doorstep. The sophomore centered a pass off a stick at the top of the crease, and Kyle Reynolds buried the loose puck for his first goal of the season. Rosenthal picked up his first career point with an assist on the play.
Roughly four minutes later, Vermont added a power play tally to push the lead to three. Pete Massar fed Matt White behind the Saints' net and he carried the puck to his left. White spun a pass back to the right doorstep for a pinching Nick Luukko, and the defenseman stuck it home for his second goal of the year. Weninger was pulled from the game for Kyle MacDonald after the third UVM tally.
St. Lawrence finally got on the board with five minutes to go in the middle frame as Greg Carey fired in a wrist shot on the power play for his 12th goal of the year. Fallon answered just 2:14 later for the Catamounts to restore the three-goal advantage. The sophomore skated across the St. Lawrence blue line and fluttered a shot past MacDonald's glove as Vermont took a 4-1 cushion into the second intermission.
Nine and a half minutes into the third, Kyle Essery cut into the lead with a one-timer in the slot off a centering feed from Gunnar Hughes. The Catamounts held off a St. Lawrence charge after the goal, using their timeout to break the momentum, and kept the 4-2 advantage into the closing minutes. The Saints pulled MacDonald with 90 seconds left, but White tossed a backhander into the open net to seal the win with 1:16 remaining.
UVM finished the night 2-3 on the power play, including White's empty-netter. Hoffman stopped at least 10 shots in each period, including 15 in the first, to grab his fourth collegiate win. Weninger and MacDonald combined to make 14 saves in the loss for St. Lawrence. Four Vermont players posted multi-point games in the victory.
Vermont hits the road in Hockey East play next Thursday (Dec. 20) for its final game before the holiday break and faces Providence at 7 p.m. The Catamounts and Friars split a two-game series in Burlington back in early November. All the action from Schneider Arena will be televised live on COX Sports. The game will also be broadcast on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com starting at 6:30 p.m.
NOTES: Saturday marked the 87th all-time meeting in series history between the former ECAC rivals ... The only school Vermont has faced more in men's hockey is New Hampshire (100 all-time meetings) ... Senior Tobias Nilsson-Roos skated in his 100th career game on Saturday, becoming the second Catamount player to reach the century mark this season ... Vermont has killed off 54 of the last 60 power plays it has faced ... Vermont had five different scorers on its five goals, which marked a season-high.