BURLINGTON, Vt. — Despite an early two goal lead and a hat trick from senior Wahsontiio Stacey, Vermont was unable to hold off Denver as the Pioneers defeated the Catamounts, 5-3, at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Sophomores Drew Shore and Matt Donovan scored two goals each for Denver while senior Jesse Martin also scored. Stacey scored all three of the Vermont goals.
Im pleased with how we played. I thought it was a tremendous, exciting hockey game for the first game out of the chute, Denver coach George Gwozdecky said.
Obviously they did a good job, we made a couple of mistakes, a couple lucky bounces you know, they get back 2-2 and thats what good teams do, you know they find a way to chip back, Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said.
Denver tried to put early pressure on Vermont in the first period when Martin and senior Anthony Maiani had a 2-on-1 opportunity in front of the Vermont net. Martin made a quick shot but missed the net.
Vermont returned the pressure at 6:15 with a power-play goal that opened up the scoring for the night. When Denver junior John Ryder went to the penalty box for slashing at 5:46 Vermont senior Josh Burrows got the puck to Stacey from the boards and Stacey sent it high into the net past sophomore goaltender Adam Murray, scoring his first goal of the season and putting Vermont up 1-0.
Stacey struck again with his second goal of the night at 6:08 in the second period. Stacey scored with a snapshot from the right circle and got the puck to slide right past Murray. Vermont senior assistant captain Kyle Medvec was originally standing in the path of the puck but he moved aside just in time to let the puck get through.
Vermont’s Stacey thought he had increased Vermonts lead to 3-0 soon after but the goal was disallowed as a result of a tripping penalty that Jack Downing had committed.
Im still wondering why it wasnt 3-0, Sneddon said. That was a pretty big momentum swing right there we kind of got the goal and it resulted in a penalty. I didnt think that was the right call it should have been 3-0.
This penalty would prove to be costly for the Catamounts when Shore scored Denvers first goal of the night on the resulting power play at 10:43. The goal was put under review and ultimately upheld, bringing the score to 2-1.
Denver rounded out the period by tying the score at 18:47. Donovan scored short-handed when he picked up a pass from Maiani close to the crease and backhanded it past junior goalie Rob Madore.
It was Donovans second goal that put the Pioneers on top at 6:31 in the third. Freshman Dan Olszewski sent a pass to Donovan, who was ready at the top of the right circle. Donovan sent the puck into the upper right corner of the Vermont net.
Martin widened the gap at 9:38 when he one-timed the puck into the net from the slot.
Following a Vermont timeout, Stacey put Vermont back within a goal of the Pioneers at 17:50. Vermont junior Drew MacKenzie made a shot from the point, which Murray was able to save. When a deflection off of Murray followed, Stacey knocked it in, bringing the score to 4-3.
Any hopes of a late comeback were short lived for Vermont though. When Madore was pulled for an extra skater, Shore got control of the puck in the neutral zone and tapped it into Vermonts empty net at 19:28, cementing the 5-3 Denver victory.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at Gutterson Fieldhouse to finish off the weekend series.