No one denies the University of Vermont men’s hockey team has an acute shortage of power on the power play.
The Catamounts are only 5 for 52: 9.6 percent.
Until recently, Vermont’s ineptitude on the power play was particularly disastrous since the UVM penalty kill was nearly as unsuccessful. That’s a loss-inducing combination.
The PK has improved — 10-for-10 over the past two games, both wins — but UVM’s special teams net is still a minus-10.
That’s been a problem in recent years, despite the Catamounts’ overall success.
In their Frozen Four season a year ago, the Cats had a decent power play percentage at 17.4, though it was very erratic. They still wound up minus-8 (power play goals scored plus short-handed goals scored minus power play goals and short-handed goals allowed) and they were a minus-9 when they reached the Hockey East championship game the year before that.
In 2006-07, UVM was a plus 13, due primarily to a great penalty kill and a decent power play (17.1) and in their first HEA season, they were a plus 19 with a 20.1 percent power play.
Of this year’s power play, head coach Kevin Sneddon said, “The puck’s been moved around pretty well over the last several games; we’ve created chances on almost all our power plays; it just hasn’t gone in.
“The frustration we have is just those times when guys watch one of their teammates have two guys all over them and we’re hoping the puck gets to us instead of battling for it, or outnumbering, or worrying about the structure (before) we get that possession.”
Sneddon has said he wants his special teams to work at a combined percentage of 110: add power play success plus penalty kill success. Thus, if the power play scores at 20 percent, penalty kill must be at least at 80 percent. If the power play’s at 15 percent; PK must be at 85. The higher the combined percentage, the better.
Here, for Sneddon’s seven years at the Catamount helm, are the power play, penalty kill and combined percentages plus special teams net goals:
2009-10: .096, .776, .872, minus 10
2008-9: .174, . 811, .985, minus 8
2007-08: .129, .862, .991, minus 9
2006-07: .171, .888, 1.059, plus 13
2005-06: .201, .864, 1.065, plus 19
2004-05: .180, .869, 1.049, plus 12
2003-04: .189, .849, .939, minus 11
Total: .173, .839, 1.012, plus 6