BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Vermont Catamounts fought off the Providence College Friars in a 3-0 shutout Sunday night in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Freshman Chris McCarthy had a goal and an assist for the Catamounts while junior Justin Milo scored the other two goals of the game.
“I thought we gave it our all for sixty minutes,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “I thought we were excellent for two periods, but a real intense effort for sixty minutes again. A very complete weekend for us, obviously against two good teams.”
“We made some mistakes but we hung in there,” Providence coach Tim Army said.
The game’s opening period was scoreless for both teams, with Providence outshooting the Catamounts 10-5.
The early part of the second period continued to be scoreless until Vermont pulled ahead at 7:34. McCarthy scored from the right circle, avoiding defenders and putting the puck past Providence netminder Alex Beaudry into the back corner of the net. Sophomore Drew MacKenzie assisted McCarthy on the goal.
“MacKenzie had the puck at our blue line and just cut across the ice, found me open, I beat the defensemen, took it down and beat the goalie,” McCarthy said.
Milo increased the lead for the Catamounts at 14:22, when he scored with a wrist shot, assisted by McCarthy and junior Brett Leonard. This was the first assist of Leonard’s career.
Vermont took the 2-0 lead into the third period.
In the third, Milo cemented the win for the Catamounts. Milo scored his second goal of the game at 18:05, sending the puck straight to the back of the net, assisted by senior Colin Vock and senior captain Brian Roloff.
Army said that a lack of production on the power play held the Friars back in the game, especially in the first period.
“I thought our power play was sound asleep in the first period,” Army said. “On the road like that, you’ve got to not so much capitalize but you’ve got to generate some momentum off your power play. Three power plays in the first, a chance to take the lead, we not only didn’t take the lead, we didn’t even get a shot on goal I think in three power plays.”
Sneddon was pleased with Vermont’s power play and also cited strong defense as an important part of Vermont’s dominance in the contest.
“I thought defensively, some of our best hockey,” Sneddon said. “We made the most of our opportunities, which were few and far between, because they (Providence) played well defensively as well.”
Senior goalie Mike Spillane made his first start of the season for the Catamounts and had 33 saves while earning a shutout. Beaudry had 20 saves for the Friars.
“I was just really excited to play and I really feel that I accomplished what I worked on this summer,” Spillane said. “My mentality was just to focus on the next shot and one shot at a time.”
“I thought he made three or four huge saves for us when it was 2-0 that really preserved our lead very nicely and gave us confidence,” Sneddon said.
Milo had another big night for the Catamounts, scoring three goals over the course of the weekend.
“The thing we love about Justin is he loves to shoot the puck,” Sneddon said. “Players nowadays want to pass first then their second thought is to shoot. He knows what his job is, he knows what his role is, and that’s to get pucks going to the net.”