BURLINGTON, Vt. - Mike Santaguida made 39 saves for his first career shutout on Sunday afternoon as Vermont shut down Massachusetts for a 2-0 Hockey East victory at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Catamounts sweep the Minutemen in the weekend home-and-home series and improve to 5-5-1 (4-4-0 HEA), while the Minutemen fall to 3-9-2 (1-6-2 HEA). UVM moves into a fourth-place tie in the Hockey East standings with UMass Lowell.
"I asked our team before the weekend, we needed to start making a move." said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "I thought this was an opportunity for us to do that. We liked what we saw in practice. We thought things were starting to click pretty well against Providence even though we didn't come away with a win. I like the way our team played."
Vermont took the lead with just 1:38 remaining in the first period off a quick transition play. Chris McCarthy fired a diagonal pass from center ice down the left wing onto the tape of Jake Fallon. The junior took a few strides before firing a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot over the glove of Steve Mastalerz into the upper right corner.
UVM out-shot Massachusetts 11-7 in the first period and held a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. In the middle frame, Brendan Bradley nearly doubled the lead on a one-timer from Rob Hamilton's pass, but Mastalerz came across the crease and made a sliding left pad save at the right post.
The Catamounts maintained the one-goal advantage into the third period before earning their fourth power play of the night on a Ben Gallagher tripping minor. McCarthy wristed a shot on target from the right point, and the rebound spilled to Mario Puskarich at the left doorstep. Puskarich buried the loose puck at the 11:11 mark to push the lead to two as Michael Paliotta picked up the second assist.
UMass called its timeout with 1:33 left in regulation and pulled Mastalerz for an extra skater. Hamilton and Puskarich each blocked shots during the 6-on-5 situation and Santaguida shut the door the rest of the way. Vermont went 1-4 on the power play and 3-8 for the series, while the penalty kill was perfect on all four UMass power plays over the weekend.
"Their urgency, we talked about that during the week," said Sneddon. "It wasn't desperation, it was urgency and aside from one minute (Friday), I thought we did a great job playing with that playoff urgency that we wanted to get points this weekend."
Next weekend, Vermont continues a season-long nine-game homestand with a two-game non-conference series against the Maine Black Bears on Friday (Nov. 29) and Saturday (Nov. 30) at 7:05 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Both games will be streamed live in high definition via CatamounTV.com, and pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. each night on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com with Alastair Ingram on the call.
Friday night at Gutterson is Chittenden County Alumni Night presented by Free Press Media. Saturday is Family Fun Night and Cat Pride Club Appreciation Day, as well as Cars.com Night.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY | Camouflage Jersey Auction
Vermont wore special camouflage jerseys on Sunday against UMass as it hosted Military Appreciation Day. The team's game-worn camouflage jerseys are being auctioned off now at auction.uvmathletics.com with bids starting at $150 per jersey. Proceeds from the auction, which is scheduled to close on Monday (Nov. 25) at 12 p.m., will benefit the Vermont Veterans Fund (VVF).