BURLINGTON, Vt. - Five different Catamounts scored a goal and Brody Hoffman stopped 21 shots on Saturday night as Vermont extended its winning streak with a 5-1 non-conference victory over former ECAC rival St. Lawrence at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts improve to 8-5-1 (4-4-0 HEA) with their fifth consecutive win, while the Saints drop to 8-9-2 (2-4-2 ECAC) with their fourth straight loss.
"This is a big win for us. I was very proud of our guys for their ability to come through a difficult week with limited practice time and a lot of attention on academics," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "To quickly refocus and get ready, they knew how big this game was. This was an important game for us and I'm pleased with the effort from the net out."
Vermont opened the scoring on the power play roughly halfway through the first period. Jake Fallon fed a pass across the blue line to the left point for Michael Paliotta, who fired a one-timer that beat Tyler Parks blocker side at 9:37. Mario Puskarich picked up the second assist on the game's first tally.
UVM doubled the advantage later in the frame after a prolonged offensive shift for St. Lawrence. Connor Brickley lobbed a clearance out of the defensive zone and Jonathan Turk gloved the puck down along the left wing. Turk quickly deked past a Saint defenseman on a curl-and-drag move and roofed a shot into the upper right corner.
St. Lawrence got on the board just 52 seconds into the middle period as Greg Carey dragged the puck past a Vermont defenseman and wristed a shot off the left post. The rebound bounced off Brody Hoffman's back and trickled into the net as the Saints cut the Catamount lead in half.
UVM killed off a pair of St. Lawrence power plays and protected the lead into the latter stages of the period. Nick Bruneteau collected a feed from Paliotta at the left doorstep and faked a shot as he delayed behind the net. The senior defenseman curled to the opposite post and stuffed home a wraparound to push UVM's advantage to 3-1.
Vermont took the edge into the third period before Chris McCarthy added an insurance goal six minutes in for his fifth of the year. The senior stick handled out of a crowd in the right corner and deked his way to the top of the crease. McCarthy dangled around Parks and slid a backhander into the left side of the net for a 4-1 lead. Fallon and Puskarich posted their second assists of the night on the play.
H.T. Lenz added an empty-netter off a defensive zone faceoff with four seconds remaining to close out the Saints. Vermont finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play while holding St. Lawrence's power play scoreless on three chances. The Saints entered the night with the top-ranked power play in the country at 30.0 percent.
"I feel like our penalty kill was extraordinary tonight," said Sneddon. "We just executed the game plan. Coach (Kevin) Patrick did a great job with limited practice time putting in a strategy against the nation's best power play."
The Catamounts return to action on Tuesday (Dec. 17) against Northeastern at 7:05 p.m. for their final Hockey East contest of 2013 at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the game for the FOX44 & ABC22 Feed a Family Food Drive, sponsored by MyWebGrocer. Donations will help feed families in need in Chittenden County. Kids can also take pre-game photos with Santa and Rally on Tuesday.
Reserved and general admission tickets are available for the Northeastern game. Reserved seats are $22 for adults and $17 for children 17 and under, while general admission tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Tickets can be purchased online at UVMathletics.com/Tickets, in person at the UVM Athletic Ticket Office in Patrick Gym (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), or over the phone by calling 802-656-4410.
NOTES: Vermont has won five straight games for the first time since Nov. 16-29 during the 2008-09 season ... Over the last two seasons, UVM is 14-1-2 when leading after two periods ... Mario Puskarich and Michael Paliotta extended their point streaks to five consecutive games ... Five different players registered multi-point games in the win ... Vermont has scored at least one power play goal in each game during its winning streak and is 6-for-19 during that span ... The Catamounts are 30-for-31 on the penalty kill on home ice this season ... St. Lawrence entered the night ranked fourth in the nation in scoring offense (3.78 goals per game) and UVM held the Saints to one goal on just 22 shots ... Brody Hoffman has won each of his last three starts, allowing only five goals in that span. Hoffman also grabbed his first career point with an assist on UVM's second goal in the first period.