NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — A trio of third period goals and solid goaltending by sophomore Joe Fallon lead No. 8 Vermont to a hard-fought 3-0 win over Merrimack in front of a crowd of 1,340 at Lawler Arena. Fallon made 14 saves to notch his seventh career shutout as the Catamounts improved to 9-2-0 overall and 3-2-0 in Hockey East.
“It’s the sign of a good hockey club,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “Things just didn’t go our way in the first two periods and we played a little bit undisciplined. You’ve got to give credit to
Merrimack, I think their game plan was to keep it real simple and slow down the pace and they did that for two periods. Then the boys answered the bell and got the job done in the third period and it’s an important two points on the road.”
The game was scoreless after two periods and the Warriors (3-6-0, 0-4-0), who hadn’t played since Nov. 4, matched the Catamounts in shots with 13.
Vermont entered the game ranked third in the country on the penalty kill and stopped five Merrimack power plays in the first 40 minutes. The biggest defensive stand came when the Catamounts held the Warriors scoreless during a five-minute major for hitting from behind midway through the second period. Vermont also stopped a pair of 5-on-3′s as Fallon made several big saves along the way.
The Catamounts then dominated action in the third period, out shooting the Warriors 15-1. Freshman Peter Lenes broke the scoreless tie at 1:43 of the final period, netting a power-play goal for his team-high eighth goal of the season. The score came off a rebound on a shot by sophomore Torrey Mitchell. Senior captain Jaime Sifers also received an assist on the play.
Vermont extended its lead to 2-0 when junior assistant captain Kenny Macaulay netted a power-play goal from the right circle at 9:52 for his second score of the year. Sifers and freshman Kyle Kuk each helped set up the goal.
At 14:31 freshman Dean Strong finished off the scoring with his fourth goal of the season to give Vermont a 3-0 lead. Freshman Corey Carlson and senior Jeff Corey each got an assist.
The shutout was the second for Vermont and Fallon this season. With seven shutouts in his career, Fallon trails only Tim Thomas ’97 (10) and Dave Reece ’71 (8) for the most shutouts in UVM history. He improves his career record to 25-12-4 with the win.