BURLINGTON, Vt. — Joe Fallon just might be bankrupting the local bagel shop, since the shop gives a free bagel and coffee to all ticket holders to Vermont shutout games.
Fallon recorded his 11th-career shutout, and second of the weekend, blanking Northeastern, 3-0, with 18 saves Saturday at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The whitewash breaks the UVM all-time record for shutouts in a career previously held by Tim Thomas, who was among those honored prior to the game, as the school announced its All-Time Team, “The ECAC Years.”
Fallon’s sixth shutout of the season also established a new mark, and was the second time in the year that he has blanked a team twice in a weekend.
“I thought we played a real patient game tonight,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “With so many penalties early on against, it took us a while to get into the flow of things.
“I thought we played great defense all weekend, and did a real nice job on the penalty kill, and, finally, our power play found a way to solve Northeastern’s penalty kill, which was very good all weekend.
“Joe will certainly give the accolades out to the defensemen, because I thought they did a great job clearing the rebounds, but bottom line is, even though there weren’t a lot of shots, he made some big saves this weekend, and, certainly, it’s a great honor for him.”
Vermont played a sluggish first period, taking some undisciplined penalties but was able to come out of the frame with no damage on the scoreboard. Northeastern looked good in the period, skating hard and showing an intensity that wasn’t there in Friday’s 3-0 loss.
The Huskies best chance came on the power play with six minutes left in the period. Ryan Ginand fired a shot from the left circle that Fallon had to be quick to turn away. In all, the Cats, the least penalized team in the nation, took four minors in the period, and seemed lucky to go into the middle frame in a scoreless draw.
“I thought Northeastern did a great job coming out at us a lot more aggressively on the forecheck,” Sneddon said, “and we had a tough time coming up the ice with any sort of attack. So credit Northeastern for playing a real gritty style tonight.”
UVM continued its sluggish ways into the second period, but by the latter half of the period looked to have regained its legs. The Catamounts finally broke on top with a power-play goal, and a fluky one at that.
Defenseman Ryan Gunderson centered the puck from low on the left side of the net. Andrew Linard tried to break the play up, but inadvertently knocked it into the net. Gunderson was credited with his second of the year, with assists going to Sifers and Mitchell at 14:18.
Sometimes it takes a bounce to get a team going, and that’s exactly what happened for the hosts. Jeff Corey nearly doubled the lead late in the period, shorthanded, when the puck was chipped to him behind the NU defense. He made a move but was thwarted by Huskies goalie Doug Jewer (19 saves).
Vermont added another power-play goal at 9:20 of the third, as Matt Syroczynski tipped his second of the season past Jewer. Brady Leisenring set up Syroczynski perfectly on the play.
Corey Carlson closed out the scoring for Vermont at 12:39, robbing Jewer of the puck behind the goal, and finding the back of the net as the goalie scrambled back to the cage. Unassisted, the goal was the fourth of the season for the freshman.
The Cats were 2-for-8 on the man advantage, while the Huskies were fruitless in five opportunities.
A dejected NU coach Greg Cronin was in no mood to analyze his team’s play.
“I don’t really want to say anything. We lost the game,” he said. “If you can’t score goals, you don’t win a hockey game.”
Sneddon is in awe of the 11 shutouts Fallon has notched in just 51 games at Vermont.
“That’s an amazing, amazing stat,” he said. “I look at it, I’m still shaking my head. That’s an amazing feat for him. I know he’s proud of the record.”
Fallon was visited after the game by the other goalie named to Vermont’s All-Time Team, Dave Reece. He was quick to give credit to his teammates for helping him get to the record.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for our team to do it in a year-and-a-half. Coach Sneddon’s system has allowed us to play really well defensively,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking too hard about it. I didn’t expect to get it this quick.”
Vermont (15-5-3, 7-4-2 Hockey East) hits the road next week for a pair with Boston College, while Northeastern (1-15-4, 1-10-4) winless in its last 12 games, has a home-and-home series with Lowell, starting Friday.