BURLINGTON, Vt. — Providence goaltender Tyler Sims made 20 saves and Jon Rheault scored twice as the Friars defeated Vermont, 4-0, Saturday at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
With the shutout, Sims set a new record for career blankings by a PC netminder, breaking Mario Proulxs mark, which stood for 24 years.
The Friars (4-6-2, 4-3-2 Hockey East) outplayed the Catamounts (3-6-2, 3-3-2) from start to finish, exposing UVM’s league-worst defense, which, coming into the game, gave up 3.80 goals per game.
Vermont’s own record-setting goalie Joe Fallon (15 saves), who has struggled of late, helped get the visitors going by giving up a pair of goals before getting yanked. The rest of the Catamounts didn’t do much to help themselves, either.
The Friars led 1-0 after one period on the strength of a Greg Collins goal at 14:39. Collins threw a weak wrist shot on Fallon from the top of the left circle that found its way through the goaltender.
Kyle Laughlin made it a 2-0 at the 6:08 mark of the second. Off of a cycle in the left-wing corner, Laughlin made a centering pass that deflected off of Fallon’s stick and in.
“I’m sure that he’d like to have the two goals back,” said PC coach Tim Army. “He had a couple that he normally stops, and they went in, and for us on the road, that really helps to settle you in and gives you an opportunity to stay with your approach.”
That’s exactly what Providence did.
Just over two minutes later, Mike Spillane (14 saves), in for Fallon, gave up a goal from the slot, making it 3-0, to Rheaualt on an odd-man rush. It was Rheault’s fifth of the year and first of two in the period.
“I don’t care what team you’re talking about in any sport, when a key position lets up two soft goals like that, it really takes away from your entire team,” said UVM coach Kevin Sneddon. “I feel like this team is pretty good at responding, but when you give up lay-up goals like we did tonight, I think those are tough to come back from. We just never really were able to capitalize.”
Rheault closed out the scoring in the period and game with 19 seconds left, as he sped past Vermont’s Mark Lutz and in alone on Spillane. He stuffed the puck five-hole.
The final 20 minutes were scoreless and Sims had no serious threats to break up his shutout.
“He didn’t have a high volume of shots, but there were some real good opportunities that Vermont had tonight,” said Army. “When the game was really in doubt at 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, he made some really good stops and allowed us to have the foundation to build a 4-0 lead.”
“I thought they executed a really smart game-plan,” Sneddon said. “They wanted to play in their zone very little, and they got it right out. [It] wasn’t always a tape-to-tape play; it was just sometimes chipped out in the neutral zone, but they really prevented us from forechecking.”
The magnitude of Sims’ record wasn’t lost on his coach. “It’s pretty impressive when you look at the names. [Guys] like Chris Terreri and Nolan Schaefer, [both] guys that played in the NHL [played for Providence].”
Providence, with points in six of its last eight league games, hosts Brown Tuesday in the Mayors Cup while Vermont continues its five-game homestand against Harvard Saturday.