BURLINGTON, Vt. — Freshman Joey Gasparini scored with :38 remaining in overtime and Travis Russell stopped 13 of 15 shots as Vermont escaped with a 3-2 victory over Fairfield Saturday.
Fairfield opened the scoring just 2:52 in the first period as Stag Rae Metz lit the lamp on the power play. Jack Devaney and Hunter Greeley assisted on the goal, Metz’s second of the season. Devaney held the puck to freeze the Vermont defenders before sliding it across ice to Metz, whose one-timer beat Russell cleanly.
Vermont knotted the score at 14:26 of the period when John Longo scored a power-play goal of his own. Brady Leisenring and freshman Phil Youngclaus assisted, with Youngclaus collecting his first collegiate point.
The Stags reclaimed the lead in the final minute of the period. Lyon Porter scored after a scramble in front of the net. Greeley recorded his second assist on the goal and Cody Wojdyla picked up the other.
Despite the Fairfield lead, Vermont outshot the opposition 14-6 in the first stanza.
Vermont tied the score late in the second period at 18:18. Jeff Miles tallied on the power play. The goal was Miles’ team-leading fourth of the season and was assisted by Ryan Miller and Thomas Hajek.
Fairfield junior goaltender Craig Schnappinger was stellar at times, making several key third-period stops and keeping the game close until Gasparini’s backbreaking goal in the final minute of the extra session.
Schnappinger finished the contest with 34 saves in what ultimately became the Stags’ third loss of the season.
“I thought we competed real hard. You’re not gonna change the talent level that you’re facing in your opponent. It is what it is. You just have to deal with it and I think we dealt with it pretty well tonight,” said Fairfield head coach Jim Hunt.
Russell, meanwhile, had a light night’s work for Vermont. “It was nice to play some solid defensive hockey and give him a chance. I thought he was real solid,” said Catamounts head coach Mike Gilligan.
Vermont (1-2-2) is back in action next weekend when it faces Wayne State in another nonconference game, while Fairfield (0-3-0) begins MAAC play against Bentley on the road and Connecticut at home