UVM hockey coach Kevin Sneddon evaluates his team’s performance in any game by a standard other than the final score.
He has a list of 10 categories on which he and his staff grade the game. According to Sneddon, if UVM wins seven or more of the 10 areas, the Catamounts usually win. If they grade out higher in five or six areas, it’s likely the final score was a tie. Winning fewer than five almost certainly means defeat.
In the Catamounts’ last outing, 3-0 victory over St. Lawrence, UVM scored a perfect 10, according to Sneddon.
“It’s the first time in two years that we won every category and I thought Joe’s team played great,” said Sneddon this week, referring to SLU coach Joe Marsh.
“The categories that we try to win, a 3-0 game is kind of the ideal game for us,” he said, adding, “It still can work at 3-1 and still be a perfect game.”
According to Sneddon, his belief in the grading system is confirmed by the results over his tenure at Vermont. “It always works,” he said.
Okay, not quite always, as he acknowledged: Twice in the last two years, UVM’s performance level didn’t reflect the final score. Once, Vermont won four or fewer categories and came out on top — “Maybe we got great goaltending,” said Sneddon — and once the Catamounts played extremely well and lost.
Still, he said, “It’s something we really believe in.
“It’s happened where we’ve won four categories and won (the game) and we haven’t been hollering and hooting about our performance,” he said. “We’ve won seven categories and lost and your team feels like crap and your team played great.”
UVM has earned a couple of nines this year and “a bunch of nines last year,” according to Sneddon, but the SLU game was the Catamounts’ first 10 in awhile.
So what are the 10 categories? Sneddon won’t divulge the entire list, but he said, “It’s pretty basic categories.”
That doesn’t include turnovers, but it does include power play, penalty kill, blocking shots and, well, you can guess the rest.