This can be guaranteed: The University of Vermont hockey team’s trip from Orono, Maine, Friday night/Saturday morning was not a pleasant one.
With all due credit to Merrimack a week ago and Maine on Friday, the Catamounts should not have lost these games, not if UVM wants to be considered a Hockey East contender.
At the least, Vermont should not have lost either game playing as poorly as it did.
The Catamounts need to take stock of their situation, from coaching staff to the seniors to those who fight just to get playing time. Nothing is working well after the victories over North Dakota and Boston College.
Even against BC, UVM was more fortunate than superior. The Eagles had the edge overall in play, though the Catamounts gradually took control and converted its chances.
Certainly head coach Kevin Sneddon has to resolve an ongoing concern: the play of the special teams. The power play has been inconsistent at best over the past couple of years and mostly inefffective this season. The penalty killing, once a hallmark of Catamount teams, has disolved into a rash of blown coverage and costly errors.
At this point, it’s a team-wide malaise and everyone associated with the program faces the challenge of hard-self appraisal and rededication to Catamount hockey. Be a blue-collar team in approach and play with the knowledge the speed and skill is there to make the difference at key points.
Next up is Lowell, the league favorite in the eyes of many observers. The Riverhawks will be fiesty, especially after their tough loss to Boston University. Any UVM performance resembling the Merrimack or Maine games will not only result in defeat but in humiliation before the hometown faithful.