The front end of a Hockey East conference series against the University of Maine Black Bears (4-7-3, 1-4-1 HEA) ended on a high note for the University of Vermont Catamounts (4-7-3, 1-4-1 HEA) on Friday, pouring on four consecutive goals in the middle period on their way to a 6-2 shellacking of Maine at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt. For Vermont, it was the second straight game where they scored four goals in a single period.
Third-year forward Rob Darrar and first-year forward Ross Colton led Vermont with two points in the contest, with Darrar notching two goals and Colton tallying a goal and assist. First-year goaltender Stefanos Lekkas backstopped the Catamounts with precision, stopping 36 shots.
Maine appeared in control early in the contest, outshooting Vermont 17-7 in a scoreless first period where the Black Bears failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Instead, Vermont returned a flurry of goals to put the game out of reach well before the final horn.
Colton opened up the scoring at the 1:26 mark of the middle period after receiving a pass from fourth-year forward Brady Shaw and breaking along the far wall. After creating separation, Colton deked twice and snuck the puck past Black Bears second-year netminder Rob McGovern, who stopped 18 shots in the contest before being replaced for first-year goaltender Stephen Mundinger midway through the third period.
Darrar would score twice in five minutes to triple his team’s lead, the first coming on an assist by fourth-year forward Brendan Bradley. Bradley crossed the puck to Darrar at the left circle, who one-timed a shot that beat McGovern for a 2-0 Catamounts advantage. Darrar found twine again less than four minutes later after out-skating the Black Bears defense to goalmouth on a break up ice and pushing home a shot on a hopeless McGovern.
Fourth-year defender Rob Hamilton notched Vermont’s fourth consecutive goal in the contest before Maine could respond. Hamilton’s goal came just six seconds into a power play opportunity, sending a low slap shot from the left point that struck the post and fell beyond the goal line, extending the Vermont lead to 4-0.
Second-year defender Rob Michel answered for Maine with just 29 seconds remaining in the middle frame. First-year forward Mitchell Fossier found Michel at the point, who wristed a shot by Lekkas to cut the lead to 4-1.
First-year forward Derek Lodermeier stretched the Vermont advantage early in the final period on a feed from fourth-year forward Chris Muscoby, the first goal of his collegiate career. Muscoby sent a shot on net that deflected off McGovern and back into the crease.
Lodermeier crashed the net and connected on a shot that beat McGovern, who was pulled after Vermont’s fifth goal.
First-year defender Patrick Holway inched Maine closer with a goal of his own midway through the final period, but Maine would not get any closer. Maine’s comeback chances were laid to rest when fourth-year forward Mario Puskarich notched an empty net goal.
Mundinger finished with seven saves on seven shots in 11:23 between the pipes for Maine. Vermont finished 1-of-6 on the man advantage, while Maine failed to capitalize on any of their seven power play opportunities.
Black Bears battle to 2-2 tie
After suffering a four-goal loss on Friday, the Maine Black Bears responded in Saturday’s matinee contest, leading 2-0 entering the final stanza. Maine fumbled in the third period, however, relinquishing their two-goal advantage late in the contest despite McGovern’s remarkable 43-save performance in net.
Vermont shot a season-high 45 shots on goal in the contest, with Lodermeier playing part in both Catamount tallies.
Trailing 2-0 at the outset of the third, Vermont struck at the 2:03 mark to cut their deficit in half. Lodermeier skated into the slot, wristing a shot off McGovern’s chest that landed back in play. Fourth-year forward Tom Forgione crashed the net and put home the rebound to bring the Catamounts within one goal.
Lodermeier knotted the score just six minutes later on an incredible individual effort. After killing off a penalty, Lodermeier took the puck up ice and fired a wrist shot that beat McGovern just inside the left post on his blocker side.
Neither team was able to find twine in the remainder of regulation or the five-minute overtime period that ensued after the third. Vermont outshot Maine 4-0 in the additional frame but could not derail McGovern.
Maine scored both of its goals in the middle period, the first coming from second-year forward Brendan Robbins. Robbins received a pass in the high slot from second-year defender Sam Becker before cashing in a slapshot that beat Lekkas top shelf for a 1-0 Maine advantage.
First-year forward Patrick Shea tallied his sixth goal of the year to double the Maine lead just 1:05 after Robbins’ goal. Moving up ice on a 3-on-2, first-year forward Chase Pearson crossed the puck to third-year forward Nolan Vesey, who dropped the puck back to the trailing Shea. Shea wristed a shot to the far post from the right faceoff dot, giving Maine a 2-0 lead.
Maine nearly scored in the opening period on a tip-in by third-year forward Malcolm Hayes. However, after review, officials determined Hayes had tipped the puck in on a high stick, negating the scoring play.
Lekkas saved the comeback opportunity for the Catamounts after Forgione’s goal early in the middle period. Becker broke up ice with the puck and Vesey beat a Vermont defender to give the Black Bears a 2-on-0 chance approaching Lekkas. Vesey skipped the puck back door to Becker, but Lekkas sprawled to the opposite post to make an uncanny glove save, thwarting the Maine rush.
Maine went 0-for-4 on the power play, extending Vermont’s penalty kill streak to 28 straight. Lekkas finished with 24 saves in the contest.
Maine returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 26 when they travel to Portland, Maine for a 7 p.m. contest with Brown University.