BURLINGTON, Vt. — Joe Fallon made 21 saves to extend his school record for shutouts to 15, and Corey Carlson chipped in two first-period power-play goals as No. 13 Vermont blanked Rensselaer, 3-0, Friday in the second semifinal of the Catamount Cup at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Vermont will face St. Cloud State who defeated Union 4-2 earlier in the day in the championship game.
With the shutout, his second in as many games, Fallon has yet to surrender a goal in the Catamount Cup. The junior from Bemidji, Minn. posted back-to-back bagels (1-0 against Dartmouth and 3-0 versus Clarkson) helping UVM capture the trophy in 2005.
“Fallon was great,” said RPI coach Seth Appert. “I mean he made a couple saves early that were very important in the first period, and he made probably four or five great saves in the third. A couple through traffic that he found; a backdoor play where our defenseman jumped up; another backdoor play on a scramble on the rebound.”
The Cats (11-5-1, 6-2-1 Hockey East) opened a two-goal lead in the first period on the strength of the two Carlson strikes
The first came at the 4:35 mark of the period. Carlson tipped a Mark Lutz shot from the point past RPI’s Mathias Lange. Kenny Macaulay also assisted on Carlson’s third of the season.
He added his second of the night, 11:23 into the period, collecting a rebound and putting the puck in the net over Lange, who was down and out of the play.
“The second goal was a scramble in front and [Colin] Vock shot one and I think it hit the pipe and it just ended up right on my stick I just had two pretty lucky goals,” said Carlson.
“That was pretty huge for us to get a quick two goals in the game tonight,” he continued, “because things weren’t really clicking.”
Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon agreed that his team was a little rusty after playing its last game at St. Lawrence on Dec. 16.
“I just felt like we gave up some 3-on-2s,” he said. “It was one of those things where you come of a break, our effort was there, but our minds weren’t always there.”
In all, the Cats were 2-for-4 with the man-advantage while Vermont’s nationally top-rated penalty kill held the Engineers off the board on four power-play chances.
Fallon was sharp in the period, with eight saves. He stoned Jake Morissette twice from the slot on the power play and flashed out the glove on Andrei Uryadov, with 3:17 left in the period.
The middle period was scoreless and Lange played a big part in making it that way. Vermont controlled play for stretches of the period, holding an 11-3 advantage in shots in the frame. Lange made saves on Carlson, Dean Strong, and Viktor Stalberg, among others – all from close range.
“I thought we played very well until kind of the end of that period,” Sneddon said. “If we can hold a team like that, who has some very skilled forwards, to three shots we give ourselves a good opportunity to come out ahead in a period like that.”
Appert, who was happy with his team’s play considering the extended layoff, noted that RPI created some quality chances in the period, and throughout the game, but couldn’t finish them.
The Engineers (5-5-6, 1-2-3 ECACHL) had a number of quality chances in the final 20, but again Fallon stood tall making some sparking stops.
Strong put the game away in the final minute with an empty-netter from the top of the circles.
Lange was named the Engineers’ Player of the Game and had 22 saves.
RPI faces its Capitol District rival in the consolation game at 4 p.m. Saturday while the championship is slated for 7.