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College Hockey:
Sweet Seven: Vermont Breaks Out Against Union

— So much for Vermont’s recent goal-scoring troubles. After getting only four goals in three losses, the Catamounts broke out with 10 goals on the weekend.

The Catamounts got goals from seven different skaters en route to a 7-1 romp over Union at Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday. Hobey Baker candidate Scott Mifsud led the way tallying four points with a goal and three assists. Those points put Mifsud over the 100-career point plateau, the 38th Catamount, all-time, to accomplish the feat.

The win for Vermont is its 15th on the year — the most for a UVM team since the 1996-97 campaign, in which Martin St. Louis lead the team to an NCAA tournament berth.

The Dutchmen are reeling. Union has now lost seven of eight games, all in the league, after winning six ECACHL contests without a loss, to open the season.

Even though the score was more lopsided than Friday’s win over RPI, Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon didn’t think his team played better versus the Dutchmen but was happy to get some goals.

“We played exceptionally well last night, but we couldn’t score,” He said. ” Tonight, I don’t think we played as well from a defensive standpoint, but we finished. It’s kind of funny. After a 3-2 win, we’re all excited that we played great hockey. After a 7-1 win, we’ve got some work to do. That’s the game of hockey.”

Joey Gasparini started it off just 3:52 into the game. On the first penalty kill of the game, Slavomir Tomko started the play, getting the puck up quickly through the neutral zone to Gasparini, catching Union on a line change. He snapped it past goalie Dutchmen goalie Justin Mrazek from the left side. The goal was UVM’s second shorthanded marker of the year and Gasparini’s fourth goal of the season.

ECACHL leader in freshman scoring Torrey Mitchell lit the lamp at 13:36 for the second time this weekend, and tenth on the year, for the 2-0 lead. He took a centering pass from the near boards from Mifsud and put the puck high past the glove of Mrazek. Jeff Corey, who played an exceptional game, totaling seven shots, got the first assist on the play.

Corey then got a goal for himself to make it 3-0. He capitalized on a pass from Mark Lutz to the slot, in the final minute of the period. Corey’s 12th of the year came at 19:11.

Even though Vermont came out of the period with a commanding lead, Union had some nice chances to get on the board, but Travis Russell was up to the task stopping seven shots.

“We came in [to the locker room after the period] and said, ‘hey, we didn’t play very well.’ … They could have easily put three on us. Give credit to Nate ‘s club,” Sneddon said referring Union head coach Nate Leaman. “They played hard to the final buzzer. A bounce here or there on their side and this is a different game.”

Union controlled play in the first ten minutes of the second period. Olivier Bouchard cut into the Vermont lead with a goal 6:03 into the frame. Josh Coyle fed Bouchard, back-door, and cashed in. Any momentum gained for Union from the goal was quickly erased, when Matt Syroczynski finished off a bang-bang play on the power play. Chris Myers sent the puck down low to Mifsud who one-touched it across the crease to Syroczynski to restore the lead to three.

Andy Corran scored :17 later, his second at UVM, and sent Mrazek to the bench in favor of Kris Mayotte. Mayotte didn’t fair any better.

The Cats just kept going. The Vermont power play unit shredded the defense with terrific puck movement resulting in Mifsud’s 16th of the season and a 6-1 lead at 18:10 of the second.

Tim Plant scored a beautiful unassisted goal in the third, for good measure. He worked his way around two defenders with raw speed and tucked it in, to close the scoring midway through the second.

Russell finished with 22 saves before giving way to freshman Jeff Hill who stopped two in his first regular-season action. Mrazek and Mayotte stopped 27.

Vermont went two-for-seven with the power play; Union was scoreless in nine tries.

Vermont (15-9-3, 9-4-2 ECACHL) has a single game next weekend, against Brown Friday, while Union (10-16-1,7-9-0) skates at home with Harvard, on Tuesday, and Holy Cross, Saturday.

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