ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Senior Brady Leisenring scored his second goal of the game 34 seconds into overtime as the 19th-ranked Vermont Catamounts defeated Michigan Tech 4-3 in overtime at Sullivan Arena on day one of the Nye Frontier Classic. The win is the first for Vermont in a regular-season opener since the Catamounts defeated New Hampshire 5-1 to begin the 1996-97 season.
“I thought our guys showed a lot of poise, a lot of character and blocked a lot of shots on those penalty kills,” assistant coach John Micheletto said. “The shots indicated that we carried the bulk of the play and I thought that was the way it went. I was glad the guys gutted it out and got the win and didn’t let a couple of mistakes ruin it for us.”
Junior Evan Stoflet gave Vermont a 1-0 lead, scoring from the top of the right circle at 17:17 of the first period on an assist from freshman Dean Strong. The goal was the sixth of Stoflet’s career and it also marked the second straight season the defenseman scored in the regular-season opener.
Michigan Tech immediately responded at 18:50 of the opening period when senior Taggart Desmet scored his third goal of the season on an assist from senior Chris Conner to tie the game at 1.
Strong netted the first goal of his career, to make the score 2-1 Vermont, after grabbing a loose puck out of the air and then scoring from inside the slot. Junior Chris Myers assisted on the goal at 7:41 of the second period.
Down a goal, the Huskies again had a quick answer as senior Brandon Schwartz made the score 2-2 with an unassisted shorthanded goal at 10:42 of the second period.
Leisenring, playing in his first action since Vermont’s game on Nov. 13, 2004 at Clarkson, scored 85 seconds into the third period to give Vermont the lead again at 3-2. The goal was the 36th of Leisenring’s career and Jeff Corey and Torrey Mitchell each picked up an assist.
Michigan Tech rallied again with a power-play goal by Conner at 10:24 of the third period to tie the game at three. The Huskies then had a chance to win the game with one second left in regulation as Ryan Angelow skated in alone on Joe Fallon but failed to score as the sophomore made a tremendous stop to save the game for the Catamounts. Fallon had 18 saves in the game.
In overtime Leisenring would take the only shot by either team, scoring his second goal of the game on an assist from Mitchell to give the Catamounts the win.
“He scored two tremendous goals and he showed great poise on the game-winner in overtime,” Micheletto said. “Obviously it was a tremendous play by Torrey to get in and separate the puck from the Michigan Tech defender and send it out to Brady. Then it was a big-time goal scored by Brady and we are glad to have him back.”
The Catamounts outshot Michigan Tech 39-21 and held the Huskies to 1-for-7 on the power play. Vermont is now 19-4-1 when scoring first in its last 24 games; the Catamounts improve to 1-1-1 all-time against Michigan Tech.