It was a different Vermont team that stepped onto the ice tonight. Coming off a tough loss to UNH the night before, the Catamounts showed energy unseen in their previous match up. Despite being unable to produce during three power plays, UVM pressed hard against the Wildcats and controlled the momentum of the first period.
A short-handed goal by sophomore Tobias Nilsson-Roos put Vermont ahead early in the second, with UNH’s Mike Beck answering before the end of the power play. Phil DeSimone, scoring his second of the series, put UNH in a familiar position, ahead by one.
The deficit would not dampen Vermont’s spirits. Down by a goal, the Catamounts poured on the pressure, keeping the Wildcats in their own zone for the duration of the period.
Tonight, no single effort stood out. Rob Madore continued to make crucial saves, allowing Vermont to control the tempo, and make powerful plays on the UNH net. Connor Brickley’s hustle exemplified the team’s motivation. Assisting, freshman, Matt White’s tying goal in the third period, Brickley continued to make his presence known with smart, consistent, play.
New Hampshire’s junior goalie, Matt Di Girolamo kept the Wildcats alive with forty saves. Phil DeSimone’s hundred and first career goal capped the team’s strong performance, but could barely hold off the energy of the team they beat the previous night.
It was the small things that made the big difference tonight. Digging pucks off the boards, reclaiming turnovers, strong, well executed, fundamentals kept UVM alive. Tied for seventh with U. Mass in the Hockey East standings, the Catamounts are in a good position to finish the season strong.
Momentum will be the name of the game entering their next away series, at Boston University. A single loss against the Terriers, earlier in the season, does not bode well for the Catamounts. If the team can maintain the intensity shown tonight, however, the series against fourth-seeded Boston could yield valuable points.