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Vermont senior goalie Mike Spillane had 26 saves and earned his second career shutout Monday night as the Catamounts defeated Yale 1-0 at Gutterson Fieldhouse, in a rematch of the first round of last seasonâ€™s NCAA tournament.
â€œI donâ€™t think we started off great tonight, I think we were a little bit flat but I thought we did a great job staying focused, sticking to our systems, not having individual efforts. I thought we played really well as a team,â€ Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. â€œOne of the most potent offenses youâ€™ll ever see and we shut them down.â€
â€œI thought it was a heck of a hockey game,â€ Yale coach Keith Allain said. â€œVermont defends so well we had a tough time getting on track offensively but it was a game that certainly could have gone either way.â€
The gameâ€™s defensive battle showed through in the first period as the game stayed scoreless for both teams in the first 20 minutes. The Bulldogs outshot the Catamounts 10-7.
Yale senior Mark Arcobello came very close to pulling his team ahead in the final seconds of the period. While his teammate junior Denny Kearney was serving a hooking penalty, Arcobello wrapped the puck around the net, almost sliding it in, but it was knocked away at the last second, keeping the game at an even 0-0 heading into the second.
The second period also remained scoreless until the final few minutes when the Catamounts scored the gameâ€™s only goal. Freshman David Pacan scored at 15:35, putting the puck past freshman goalie Jeff Malcom as players swarmed around the crease, eventually knocking the net out of place.
The goal was put under video review but was upheld, giving the Catamounts the lead they would carry through to the end of the game.
It looked as though the Bulldogs may tie the game in the third, on a play strangely similar to Pacanâ€™s goal. The puck almost got past Spillane as players crowded around. This was also put under review but was deemed to be a no-goal.
â€œIn all honesty I just saw a net, a lot of guys going hard to the net but I never actually saw the puck cross the line,â€ Sneddon said. â€œObviously weâ€™re thankful we have video, happened twice tonight and both times they got the right call because of the use of video replay. That just shows how important it is so weâ€™re pleased to have it and it worked in our favor tonight.â€
Yale pulled Malcom from the net late in the third. Vermont senior captain Brian Roloff took a shot on the empty net but it hit the post and bounced away, leaving the final score at 1-0.
Strong defense for both teams played a big role in the game, with Malcom also having 26 saves for Yale.
â€œI was pleased with the way our team played and I was really pleased with the way our young goaltender played,â€ Allain said.
â€œVery pleased with our effort defensively, offensively we did some nice things we just maybe didnâ€™t capitalize as much, I think that was more to do with them playing very good defensively as well,â€ Sneddon said.
Sneddon was also pleased with Vermontâ€™s penalty kill, notably the play of junior Brett Leonard and senior Jay Anctil.
â€œI canâ€™t say enough about Leonard and Anctil on the kill,â€ Sneddon said. â€œThose two guys moved from not being in the lineup to our first rotation on the penalty kill.â€