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Cats continue comeback trend

November 17, 2009

The UVM men’s hockey team reiterated one of its biggest strengths in recent seasons when it rebounded to beat Boston College on Sunday. Under coach Kevin Sneddon, the Catamounts have shown a remarkable — and consistent — ability to rebound immediately from poor performances.

Want statistical proof? Over the last three seasons, Vermont has lost the first game of a weekend series 12 times. On 10 of those weekends, the Catamounts rebounded to win the second game.

And even some of  Vermont’s most humbling losses in recent memory have been answered:

  • In November of the 2007, Boston University routed Vermont 9-1 at Gutterson Fieldhouse in a Friday night game. The next night, the Cats came back from a 3-1 deficit to score a 5-4 victory.
  • Early last season, BU skated away from the Gut with a 7-2 victory in a Saturday night game. The next afternoon, the Cats traveled to Hanover, N.H., and topped Dartmouth 3-2 on Justin Milo’s goal in overtime (and, a couple of weeks later, they swept a pair of 4-3 at BU).
  • And this weekend, UVM scored Sunday’s 3-2 victory came the afternoon after BC ran off six unanswered goals in a 7-1 blowout. It was an espeically big win for the Catamounts considering they had been 0-3 on the road in Hockey East play.

That said, the one time Vermont has failed to bounce back from a weekend-opening loss the last two seasons couldn’t have been more poorly timed. It was during last season’s Hockey East quarterfinals, when UMass-Lowell swept the Cats 4-3 in overtime and 4-2, denying UVM a trip to the Boston Garden.

*****

Audio from Sneddon’s press conference after Sunday’s bounce-back win at  BC

Cadets, Panthers contrast on gridiron

October 30, 2009

Could two college football teams have much more different offense approaches than the two from Northern Vermont? With virtually every game they have played this fall, the contrasts between Middlebury and Norwich have stood out

The two teams are putting up similar scoring numbers, Middlebury averaging 29 points per game and Norwich, 25.4. But that’s where the similarities end.

After eight games, Norwich (5-3) and its cadre of runners (six have at least 200 rushing yards) have put up nearly 85 percent of their 343 yards per game of the ground. The Cadets average nearly 52 runs per game, and in their five Eastern Collegiate Football Conference games, they have passed the ball more than eight times only once.

Meanwhile, behind the record-setting arm of Donald McKillop, Middlebury (2-3) is producing 82 percent of its yardage through the air — to the tune of 373 passing yards per game. The Panthers throw the ball 54 times per game.

Perhaps the best way to summarize the difference? In seven appearances, Norwich starting quarterback Kris Sabourin is 24-for-81 passing for 275 yards; McKillop completed 47 of 74 passes for 438 yards — in Middlebury’s 20-10 loss to Amherst alone.

One thing the teams have in common is a tough game coming up Saturday. Norwich plays host to second-place SUNY-Maritime in a game that will likely decide the ECFC regular-season championship and Middlebury welcomes NESCAC leader Trinity (5-0), the team ranked No. 1 in New England.



Replay immediately put to work

October 19, 2009

Hockey East fans will have another new feature before long. Since the end of last season, the ten Hockey East athletic directors voted to install video replay equipment at all ten arenas. Some are up and running and the rest will be before the end of October. Each rink will be equipped with overhead cameras above the goals and a center ice camera to give officials multiple angles on all goals. Only the referee can initiate a replay and he will be governed by NCAA rules as to what he can review. A monitor at ice level will allow him to see the different camera angles as well as the time on the clock. There are also audio capabilities to assist in those situations where hearing a whistle could affect the outcome of a play. This should be a great tool for all officials in their quest to “get it right.”

That’s one of the things Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna had to say in his commissioner’s note last week in last week’s league update (see the full release), and the new replay equipment was certainly was put to work in Vermont’s 4-1 win over Boston College at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Sunday.

First, Colin Vock’s goal that gave Vermont a 2-1 lead was confirmed by an officials’ review.

Then, just seconds later, the referees tried to review a BC shot that officials on the ice ruled went through the side of the net and into the goal. The replay equipment didn’t work on that one, leaving the officials’ initial decision to stand, but the overhead camera did provide an excellent view of the play. It can be seen about a minute into the ESPN.com game highlights HERE.

UVM men’s hockey picked to finish tied for fourth

September 30, 2009

The University of Vermont men’s hockey team can expect a fight for home ice in the Hockey East playoffs if the league coaches’ preseason predictions are correct.

Hockey East released its league preseason poll Wednesday afternoon and the Catamounts were ranked in a tie for fourth. UVM and New Hampshire each received 59 points, just two more than sixth-place Northeastern.

The top four teams play at home in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East tournament.

Defending NCAA and Hockey East champion Boston University was made the league favorite, receiving six first-place votes and 84 points in the poll. Second-choice Massachusetts Lowell (79 points) and No. 3 Boston College (76) split the other four first-place votes.

Massachusetts (47 points), Maine (32), Providence (24) and Merrimack (23) were picked to follow Northeastern in the 10-team league.