BURLINGTON, Vt. — Following up on a 5-3 Denver victory Friday night, it was a different game for the Vermont Catamounts and the Pioneers on Saturday as they skated to a 1-1 tie in front of a sold out crowd at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Drew Shore scored the only goal for Denver while Senior Dan Lawson recorded the goal for Vermont.
“From our standpoint, I thought we took a step forward in our improvement overall from last night,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “I thought we did a much better job managing the offensive part of the game, puck management, we had some pretty good chances offensively. I thought it was a very, very good, exciting college hockey game.”
Denver started off the contest very strong, out-shooting Vermont 10-5 in the opening period. Neither team was able to score though and the game remained 0-0 heading into the second.
“I think the first period we looked a little sluggish,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “You know for a lot of the players it’s their first time playing back-to-back. I thought Denver played extremely well. They got on us, kind of put us back on our heels a little bit, and we didn’t respond real well.”
Vermont freshman Connor Brickely got the puck close to the Denver crease to start the second period but was unable to get it past freshman goalie Sam Brittain.
Instead, Denver struck first at 3:06 of the second when freshman Jason Zucker passed the puck to an open Shore, capitalizing on a Vermont defensive turnover that had occurred behind the net. Shore was ready and waiting in the slot and he sent the puck in past Madore for the goal.
Denver senior Jesse Martin made a hard snap-shot minutes later, attempting to take advantage of a Vermont tripping penalty committed by senior Josh Burrows, but Madore made a key glove save to keep the deficit at one.
The Cats were then able to even the score as the period was winding down at 18:06 when sophomore Tobias Nilsson-Roos pitched the puck back to Lawson, who scored from the point when his shot deflected off of Denver defensemen Paul Phillips.
The third period ended up as another scoreless one for both teams and the game went into overtime.
When the clock was winding down with less than a minute left in the overtime period, the puck was dangling just to the left of the Vermont net. Players swarmed to try and take possession of it but neither team was able to gain control.
After such decidedly one-sided shooting in the opening period, the shots were even at the end of the game with 29 for both teams.
“Great sign for our team that we can have a poor period and then come back and play as well and as hard as they did for the final two periods,” Sneddon said.
“Sometimes your best friend is intermission and sometimes it’s your worst enemy,” Gwozdecky said of Denver’s lack of total domination following the first period.
Both coaches were pleased with the performances of their respective goaltenders however.
“I was really pleased for Sam,” Gwozdecky said. “I thought he played a very controlled game. The goal that was scored on him, you couldn’t fault him at all. I thought both goaltenders were very good tonight but obviously for young Sam, a real good step forward.”
“Both goalies were sensational,” Sneddon agreed. “Rob made some huge saves and I thought their young goaltender, that’s his first official college game. I thought he played excellent for them.”