BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Vermont offense exploded for three second period goals and got 20 saves from Joe Fallon to top Massachusetts-Lowell 5-2, at Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday.
Both Torrey Mitchell and Dean Strong paced Vermont with a goal and an assist each.
UVM outplayed and out skated Lowell for most of the game, with the exception of the first ten minutes, often beating the River Hawks up and down the rink with speed and skill. Lowell spent an inordinate time on the penalty kill.
Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon was most satisfied with the discipline his team displayed.
“I thought our guys did a great job of showing composure. I thought that was the biggest part of our game tonight. We stayed very disciplined, and generated some good offense. It was a good all-around game.”
With the win, the No. 5 Catamounts earned three points on the weekend and finished out the 2005 portion of their Hockey East ledger a respectable 5-3-1.
“We’re pleased. Obviously we want four but three is solid,” Sneddon said. “We came back tonight, and we just played a pretty solid hockey game. Three out of four points in this league is good. It was important to get some confidence out of this weekend and finally get the two points at home.”
On the other side, Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald knows that it’s hard to win on the road, or any place, for that matter, if the opponent is on the power play for minutes totaling more than an entire period.
“You don’t have to be Scotty Bowman to figure out if you take a lot of penalties against a real good team like this, including some 5-on-3s and some real key penalties at poor times, you have no chances to win.”
Five different Catamounts registered goals, three of which came on power plays. UML handed the fourth-ranked man advantage unit three 5-on-3s and a 5-minute major, which lead to three power-play goals in 21:34 of total time.
Vermont broke the game open in the second, scoring three goals. Brady Leisenring made it 1-0 when he cleaned up the rebound of a Kyle Kuk shot two minutes into the period. The goal was Leisenring’s first point since hitting the 100-point mark against Providence five games ago. Mitchell also assisted the goal for his team-leading 21st point of the year.
Mitchell would add his sixth goal late on a power play, unassisted, at 17:59 of the third.
The Cats added to the lead two and a half minutes later. Chris Myers scored his fourth of the year, battling to the front of the net with a Lowell defender draped all over him.
Fallon was tested in the period by five shots from in close, all of which he turned away, with some in spectacular fashion.
UVM had some great chances to increase the lead in the middle of the period. The Cats were awarded a five-minute power play when Mike Potacco hit a Vermont skater from behind at 8:46. Lowell did a nice job killing the major with help from Vetri.
Vermont finally extended its lead to 3-0 with Kenny Macaulay’s point shot with :18 left in the period.
The River Hawks best chance of the period came when Matt Walsh stole a pass in the Cats’ defensive end and put a wrist shot on goal. Fallon had to be quick, as he flashed out a pad to make the save on the shot from the slot, six minutes in.
In the third, Mark Pandolfo stopped Fallon’s shutout bid five minutes in. He one-timed an Elias Godoy pass to make it 3-1.
Strong scored his fifth of the year from Corey Carlson and Jeff Corey in the last 5 on 3. Mitchell’s goal made it 5-1 on one of the power plays, just ten seconds later.
Vermont got off a slow start in the first as Lowell took the play to the home team in the first half of the period. The Cats, though, came on in the second ten minutes to lead in shots 10-8 at intermission. River Hawks goaltender Peter Vetri (25 saves) stood on his head to keep it scoreless through one.
Brad King added a tally from a pass by Bobby Robbins at the buzzer to account for the final score.
UVM finished 3-for-11 with 20 shots on the power play, while UML was 1-for-3 with seven shots.
“There’s certain things you need to do to play well on the road,” MacDonald said. “Being in the box a lot is not one of them. That just took us totally out of the game.”
Lowell (4-9-0, 3-6-0 Hockey East) is at New Hampshire Saturday and home skating with Dartmouth next Sunday. It’s exhibition action for Vermont (11-3-1) against the USA Under-18 squad on Saturday.