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College Hockey:
Irwin Scores Hat Trick as Vermont Crushes Northeastern

— Following a disappointing 3-1 loss Friday night, the Vermont Catamounts came roaring back Saturday to crush the Northeastern Huskies, 9-2, in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Senior Brayden Irwin recorded a hat trick and junior Justin Milo scored two goals in the win. Freshman Sebastian Stalberg, junior Jack Downing, senior co-captain Brian Roloff, and freshman Tobias Nilsson-Roos also scored for the Catamounts.

Junior Steve Silva and junior Wade MacLeod recorded the two goals for Northeastern.

“Bottom line is our guys executed better tonight, we were better away from the puck, we were better on the puck, we were physical, aggressive, we played hard for 60 minutes,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I’ve been on the other side of the coin there where pucks seem to kind of just jump into the net.”

“It was a bad night, bad night for everyone in the red,” Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said.

The first period was a strong one for the Catamounts, as they jumped out to an early lead at 1:3, while on a power play. Irwin took a shot from the blue line and got the puck past freshman goalie Chris Rawlings. Rawlings made the initial save when the puck bounced off his chest but it slid into the net as it hit the ice.

Stalberg added to the lead at 7:19, sending a wrister into the net past Rawlings. Stalberg’s goal put the Catamounts up 2-0 to start the second period.

“We felt fortunate to be up two-nothing going into the second period; I thought our energy was good, we changed a little on our forecheck, I thought our guys adapted very well,” Sneddon said.

The Catamounts broke the game wide open in the second, scoring four unanswered goals in the period.

The scoring started early when Downing sent the puck into the back corner of the net at 48 seconds.

Northeastern tried to start a comeback and came up with a score of its own when Silva redirected a shot and put the puck past Madore at 10:56.

It was all Catamounts from there on in the second period, as Justin Milo scored during a four-on-four at 14:08. Senior Colin Vock got the puck to Milo in front of the net and Milo tapped it in, increasing Vermont’s lead to 4-1.

“I really felt the fourth goal killed us; that goal again to give Vermont credit we had that bad case of icing the puck we kept icing the puck, we couldn’t get guys off the ice and we have a four-on four situation,” Cronin said.

Roloff got the puck past Rawlings at 15:40, backhanding the puck just over the goal line after it the hit the inside of the post.

Northeastern replaced Rawlings in the net with freshman goalie Bryan Mountain following the goal. Rawlings returned to the game later for the third period.

Nilsson-Roos made it 6-1 at 18:05 when he scored on a quick shot from the edge of the left circle.

Milo scored his second goal of the game and wrapped up the huge second period for Vermont at 19:03, sliding the puck past Rawlings from close to the crease.

The Catamounts carried the 7-1 lead into the final period, where they continued to dominate the scoring and the game.

Irwin started the third period action by slapping the puck in from the slot to score his second goal at 5:42, increasing Vermont’s lead to 8-1.

The Huskies were not finished though, scoring their second goal soon after at 7:01 when Macleod made a quick shot from the tip of the left circle and beat Madore.

Irwin completed the hat trick and completed the win for Vermont at 12:06, during another four-on-four.

“It just feels great, I mean those kind of games don’t come around too often but I think it’s a result of a great team effort,” Irwin said. “Right from the start we had everyone firing on all cylinders and it was a real collective effort tonight.”

Vermont made a goaltender switch to sophomore John Vazzano following the score.

“At that point you’re careful not to try to rub anything in to the other team but at the same time he deserves some minutes and it was good that he got in there, he got a nice save there and he’s on the record now as playing in a game so again pleased that it was a total team effort,” Sneddon said.

With the decisive win, Vermont earned a split of weekend series with the Huskies.

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