BURLINGTON, Vt. - 13th ranked Vermont scored three first periods goals on their way to a 4-1 win over No. 9 Providence Saturday evening in Hockey East action as the Catamounts swept the weekend series on Youth Day presented by Healthy Living. The win was junior goaltender Jessie McPherson's 33rd win as a Catamount setting a new program record. With the win Vermont improves to 15-7-1 this season while the Friars fall to 16-7-1.
"We couldn't have scripted a better start tonight and that really made it difficult for Providence," Head Coach Jim Plumer said. "This was no easy win by any means. Providence pushed us hard in the second half of the game and I am proud of this team's ability to weather some storms. Jessie McPherson stood tall this weekend and I am thrilled for her to break the record for most career wins, with a lot of games ahead in her career still. She's worked for it and she allows us to play with so much confidence. In the end, it was a total team win and now we have to get ready for round three with Providence next Friday night down there. I know it will be another battle."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Natálie Mlýnková opened the scoring for the Catamounts 9:55 into the opening frame. In transition Corinne McCool from her knees passed over to Mlýnková in the slot and she ripped a shot past Providence's Sandra Abstreiter for her 14th goal of the season. Theresa Schafzahl earned the secondary assist on the play.
- Just 3:02 later the Catamounts top line struck again. On the forecheck Lilly Holmes forced a turnover behind the PC net and she fed a pass to McCool, wide open in front. McCool one-timed a tally past Abstreiter for her ninth goal of the year.
- With 3:32 to play in the first Lara Beecher scored her third goal of the weekend series to make it 3-0. Evelyne Blais-Savoie won an offensive zone faceoff back to Hailey Burns and she fired on net. The puck deflected off a PC defender and came right to Beecher who lifted it over Abstreiter for her seventh goal of the year.
- Hunter Barnett scored Providence's first goal of the weekend set with 5:33 to play in the middle frame. Ashley Clark fed a pass to Barnett in front of the net and she redirected it on net, McPherson made the initial save but Barnett tapped home the rebound for her fourth goal of the season.
- McPherson made eight saves for the Catamounts in the third period and graduate student Lilly Holmes iced the contest with an empty-net tally with 1:07 left in regulation.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- After earning three points with tonight's regulation win the Catamounts are now in second place in Hockey East with a one-point cushion on the Friars.
- Sara Levesque blocked six shots Saturday night, more than the entire Providence team. On one shift, she blocked four shots in 45 seconds.
- With today's 4-1 decision, Community Bank N.A. will donate $300 to Special Olympics Vermont. Community Bank, N.A. donates $75 per goal to Special Olympics Vermont for every goal the men's and women's team scores this season.
- With tonight's win, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate $100 to King Street Youth Center, as part of the Cats Win, Community Wins initiative. Since the campaigns inauguration in 2017, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group has donated over $80,000 to local non-profits.
The Catamounts and Friars will face off again on Friday, January 13 at Schneider Arena in Providence. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. in the final regular season meeting between the two teams.