BURLINGTON, Vt. — Led by senior Jeff Corey, who tallied two goals and two assists, six players scored points for the No. 9 Vermont, as the Catamounts defeated Providence 6-2 in the inaugural Hockey East game at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Brady Leisenring also chipped in two goals and an assist becoming the 39th skater in UVM history to reach the century plateau in points.
With the win, Vermont matched the best start in school history, joining the 1985-86 squad as the only two to start a season 8-1-0.
The Cats broke open a tight game after one period, scoring five goals over the final two stanzas to cool off the Friars and put a halt to PC’s best Hockey East start in school history.
“I thought we played pretty darn well,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “I know it was a little sloppy early on, but I thought we played a solid game from start to finish.”
Providence got on the board first 8:42 into the opening period. The Friars fourth line of Nate Meyers, Torry Gajda, and Brian Horan combined for the goal. Meyers went five-hole, in close, from the left side, on UVM goalie Joe Fallon (18 saves) for the 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long. Vermont answered back less than three minutes later. Slavomir Tomko took an initial shot from the left point, Chris Myers found the puck on his stick and he put it away for his third of the year. Dean Strong was credited with another assist on the goal at 11:09.
Vermont poured it on in the second period, scoring three more times. The Cats potent power play struck to make it 2-1 at 4:35. Corey cleaned up a rebound of a Brady Leisenring shot to take UVM’s first lead of the game. Peter Lenes got the first assist on Corey’s fourth of the year. On the goal, Leisenring extended his career-longest point streak to nine games. Corey seemed to flourish while skating on the second line, for the first time in the season, with Strong centering him and Corey Carlson. He played on the right side a position he is more accustomed to.
The Friars came back with a power play goal of their own, while the teams skated 4-on-3, at 6:01 when Jon Rheault beat Fallon, who was caught down on the ice. Rheault’s fourth goal was assisted by Tony Zancanaro and Matt Taormina.
Leisenring added his sixth of the year with a rocket that beat PC goalie Tyler Sims (31 saves) cleanly. Torrey Mitchell, who had three assists on the night, hit Leisenring with a terrific pass. Leisenring then skated untouched to the left circle and ripped a low shot for the 4-3 lead. Tomko added his second assist, making a nice play to move the puck up ice to Mitchell.
Strong then set up Corey’s second of the night and fifth goal of the year. Strong found Corey streaking to the net with a long diagonal cross-ice pass right on the tape. Corey made no mistake, beating goaltender Tyler Sims at 11:32. The Friars called their timeout to stem the tide and the visitors got out of the period only down by two, at 4-2.
Leisenring and Lenes added two more in the third both on the power play for the
Leisenring is proud to have etched his name into the history of Vermont hockey, but more importantly to the team and himself, the Cats bounced back from last Friday’s loss, 4-2 at Boston University.
“It was a great victory for us tonight to respond to last weekend’s tough game at BU,” he said. “It’s about the little things. We showed up and we did that tonight. We got the little things done, and got a big win.”
First-year Providence coach Tim Army thought his team didn’t play a very good game on the road. “I thought we took some shortcuts. I thought that we were undisciplined, and I though that we didn’t shoot the puck enough,” he said. So, those are the things you need to do on the road to be successful.”
Vermont was 3-for-8 with the man advantage while the Providence went 1-for-5.
The Friars (5-4-0, 5-2-0 Hockey East), next play Tuesday at Northeastern, while The Catamounts (8-1-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) face a tough test with a game at home against Boston College Sunday afternoon.