College Hockey:
Mifsud’s Hatter Keeps Vermont On Target

— Senior assistant captain Scott Mifsud netted a hat trick, and goaltender Joe Fallon had another solid game in net for Vermont as the Catamounts dropped a seven-spot on Yale, beating the Bulldogs 7-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday

The Vermont power play keyed the win for the home squad, converting on five of seven opportunities to run away with a sweep of their opening ECACHL series.

Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon was much happier with his team’s play Saturday than he was when his Cats beat Princeton 2-0.

“I thought we played a great game tonight,” he said. “Obviously we would have liked to get Joe a shutout there at the end, but aside from that we didn’t make many mistakes tonight.

“We played a solid game,” he continued. “Obviously our power play wasn’t effective last night, did a heck of a job tonight. That was the difference in the game and I just thought that we played well in all aspects of the game.”

Vermont came out flying in the first period and scored the game’s first goal just over two minutes in. Freshman defenseman Slavomir Tomko put a shot past Yale goaltender Josh Gartner, assisted by Mike Arcieri at 2:05.

Vermont’s leading scorer, Mifsud, nearly enlarged the lead six minutes later when he gathered the puck in the Vermont zone and fired a wrister labeled for the top corner. Gartner snagged it clean out of the air.

Mifsud was just getting started. He potted his fifth of the year a little over a minute later on the power play at 12:55. Mifsud popped a rebound of a Brady Leisenring shot in past Gartner, who was out of position on the play. Ryan Gunderson got the second assist on the goal.

Mifsud was hardly done. He beat Gartner up high to the glove side with :32 remaining. Jeff Corey and Leisenring assisted on another power-play tally.

Gartner was replaced by sophomore Matt Modelski after allowing three goals on 11 shots. Modelski played well but didn’t fare any better on the scoresheet than his predecessor. Vermont continued to pour on the offense in the second period.

Mifsud finished off his hat trick with a beautiful goal in transition to make it 4-0. Yale’s Christian Jensen had a shorthanded breakaway bid that Fallon made a nice stop on closing his five-hole. Gunderson gathered the rebound and found Torrey Mitchell up ahead of the play.

Mitchell went in on Modelski on a 2-on-1 with Mifsud, and Mifsud one-timed the puck past Modelski, who had no chance on the play. The fans showered the ice with hats for Mifsud’s third goal and at 7:25, his seventh of the season.

“It’s not tough to score a couple of those goals when you get some empty nets like that,” Mifsud said. “I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. When guys around you are making plays like that, I was just lucky to be on the back end of those.”

“That was the turning point,” said Yale coach Tim Taylor. “When we had the shorthanded breakaway, they turned around and got the puck way up to the far blue line right away. The third goal was kind of a backbreaker.”

Kenny Macaulay scored his second of the year, a power-play goal at 11:38 of the period. Jaime Sifers and Joey Gasparini assisted on the marker from the midpoint. Macaulay’s shot surprised Modelski, fluttering past him on the blocker side for a 5-0 lead.

Sophomore Chris Myers expanded the lead to 6-0 with a laser of a shot on the left which picked off the top corner on the glove side of Modelski. Again the Yale goalie had little chance at 13:20.

Clarkson transfer Matt Syroczynski scored his first goal as a Catamount assisted by Chris Smart and Tomko before Brad Mills for Yale broke up Fallon’s bid for a second straight shutout with 1:116 left in the contest.

Vermont was perfect on the penalty kill for the fourth consecutive night, not allowing Yale a man-up goal in seven chances. Over that four-game stretch the Cats have denied the opposition goals in 34 straight power plays.

“I thought even after the first period, because two of the goals were power-play goals, we could make a game of it in the second and third,” Taylor said.

He summed it up simply: “Fruitless power plays for us, and effective power plays for the other team.”

Modelski stopped 30 Vermont shots in his two periods, while Fallon made 22 saves in a workmanlike effort to get his fourth win in only eight college games.

“That was the kind of effort we had out in Duluth that we wanted to get back to that style of play,” said Sneddon.

Another one of Vermont’s senior assistant captains, Leisenring, chalked up two assists in his second game back after missing the first five games with a groin pull.

Both teams hit the road next week with Vermont (4-4-1; 2-0-0 ECACHL) traveling to the North Country to play always-difficult games at St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Yale (0-4-0; 0-2-0) plays at Harvard on Friday and Brown on Saturday.

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