The theme surrounding Saturday evening’s game between the No. 13 Vermont Catamounts and the Northeastern Huskies was opportunity.
For one, it was an opportunity of isolation. The schedule Saturday showed seven games involving Hockey East teams to be played. With a winter storm affecting the Northeast, three of those games were postponed, including the Frozen Fenway, which had two conference games scheduled to be played.
With the remaining four games, only one featured a game between two Hockey East teams. Therefore, when Vermont defeated Northeastern 4-3 Saturday evening, it was recorded as the only conference game of the night.
It was an opportunity for the Catamounts to showcase their program without the noise of conference play. Vermont has put together a compelling resume thus far, with wins over Boston University and Quinnipiac. The game offered the Catamounts an opportunity to showcase their program.
The Catamounts did that, winning a game in which they never trailed, completing a season sweep of the defending Hockey East champions.
“I think that’s Hockey East play,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I think, kind of, the feeing of playoff intensity is going to be there every night.”
Conversely, the game was one of squandered opportunity for the Northeastern Huskies.
The game grew in intensity as the game progressed, with chippiness increasing with the tension. Consequently, Northeastern was awarded six power plays during the game, yet the Huskies were only able to convert on one power play, squandering the chances afforded. The converted goal, however, was key in the makeup of the game. With Northeastern’s Patrick Schule scoring to pull the Huskies to 4-2 just seconds earlier, Zach Aston-Reese’s 19th goal of the season brought the Huskies to within one goal, changing the complexion of the game immensely.
The Huskies, however, were unable to capitalize on that opportunity either. Despite a continued aggressive offensive effort (which included Vermont goaltender Stefanos Lekkas getting run into on a few occasions during the game), the Huskies were not able to capitalize on the opportunity afforded, and the Catamounts were able to escape Saturday evening’s game with a win.
“Down 3-1, I liked the way we started the third, but then we went down 4-1, and then we bounced back and played hard,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “We made it 4-3 with still a lot of time left, 11 minutes or so left, and had some opportunities and then just couldn’t capitalize.”
Hockey East roundup
Michigan Tech 4, at No. 12 Notre Dame 2
Michigan Tech salvaged a split of its weekend series with Notre Dame, upsetting the Irish after scoring two goals in the third period. Alex Smith had a goal and an assist for Michigan Tech.
Yale 4, Connecticut 2
The Bulldogs got the better of their in-state rival Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs, down 2-1, scored three unanswered goals to clinch the win. Yale starter Sam Tucker had 13 saves in the win.
Cornell 1, at Merrimack 0
The only goal of the game was scored on an own goal by a Merrimack defenseman, who kicked it into his own net in a failed clearing attempt. Cornell goaltender Mitch Gillam had 18 saves in his shutout performance.
No. 5 Boston University vs. Massachusetts (PPD.); No. 8 Boston College vs. Providence (PPD.)
The doubleheader scheduled at Fenway Park was postponed due to the winter storm that swept through the region Saturday. The game is scheduled to be played Sunday, Jan. 8.
New Hampshire vs. Brown (PPD.)
Like the Frozen Fenway game, the game between UNH and Brown was postponed due to inclement weather, and is scheduled to be played Sunday, Jan. 8.