SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — New Vermont hockey coach Kevin Sneddon received a rude welcome Saturday from the Union power-play unit in his return to the place he called home for 10 years. The Dutchmen took advantage of undisciplined penalties by the Catamounts to score three power-play goals, including two by Jason Visser, and cruise to a 5-1 ECAC victory at Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles Center.
The Catamounts, who had 55 penalty minutes in Friday’s 7-1 loss to Rensselaer, collected 41 minutes against Union. Two of Vermont’s best players had significant penalties. Forward Jeff Miles got a 10-minute misconduct late in the first period and defenseman Jaime Sifers was ejected early in the second period following a major hit from behind penalty.
“We were undisciplined tonight,” said Sneddon, who was the Dutchmen’s head coach for five years after being an assistant coach his first five years. “I think it’s frustration right now. They’re so hungry for a win that they’re playing too emotional in terms of tempers. You have to learn within the game what you can and can’t get away with in terms of the officiating.”
Union (7-2-2, 2-1-1 ECAC) extended its winning streak over Vermont (0-7-2, 0-4-0) to six games. The run started under Sneddon, who in June after to take over Vermont.
“[Friday] night, we didn’t have it together,” said Union coach Nate Leaman, whose team was 1-for-8 on the power play against Dartmouth. “Tonight, we kind of had it together. That’s the way it is with power plays. You can’t get too frustrated about that stuff.”
The Catamounts gave Sneddon a 1-0 lead 2:45 into the game when Evan Stoflet scored. But Joel Beal tied it just over four minutes later on Union’s first power-play attempt.
Scott Seney gave the Dutchmen the lead at 10:21 with his team-leading ninth goal of the season. The Dutchmen were already on the five-minute power-play for Sifers’ penalty when Vermont’s Chris Mounsey was called for high-sticking. That gave Union a two-man advantage for 1:53. With six seconds left on that advantage, Visser redirected a pass from Jonathan Poirier, past goalie Scott Sortal at 7:06.
“We really wanted to put a two-goal gap between us,” said Visser, who had another power-play goal in the third period. “We’ve been working a lot on the power play during the week. It was just that time of the game where we really needed to get a big goal, so it was good to get one.”
Notebook: Poirier had three assists. … Chris Konnick scored an empty-net goal with 53.2 seconds left. … Goalie Kris Mayotte had another outstanding game. He made 31 saves, and also picked up an assist on Konnick’s goal. Mayotte stopped 62 of 64 shots over the weekend. … Sneddon wasn’t the only former Union coach returning to Messa Rink. Vermont assistant coach John Micheletto was a Union assistant from 1996 to 1999. … The game also featured a battle of brothers. Union assistant coach Tony Gasparini faced younger brother, Vermont forward Joey Gasparini. … Union hosts Minnesota-Duluth for two games next weekend.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.