Posts Tagged ‘Brett Leonard’

Play your role and you play the game

November 29, 2009

In an effort to get the University of Vermont hockey team back on track this week, coach Kevin Sneddon drove home his points with hard practices and lineup adjustments.

One game-time change featured the insertion of young defensemen Anders Franzon and Lance Herrington in place of two veterans.

Another included shuffling of lines, a situation exacerbated by the last minute unavailability of Wahs Stacey (day-to-day; non-specific injury).

The other move was a direct attempt to improve UVM’s woeful penalty killing, where the Catamounts’ 75.4 percent kill rate ties them for 51st out of 58 teams nationally.

Into the lineup went Brett Leonard, Jay Anctil and Jonathan Higgins, true role players.

“We wanted to get some of our veterans in the lineup from a penalty kill standpoint. We wanted to get Brett Leonard, Jay Anctil and Jon Higgins, guys who have worked the kill in practice a lot, sometimes on the mock penalty kill, and done a nice job,” Sneddon said Sunday.

“We just felt we needed those guys that we feel could get the job done. That was first and foremost on our minds: get some guys in that could kill penalties for us.

“We’re tired of seeing a 70 percent kill. We’ve got to be betgter than that. That really sparked the decision within the lineup,” said Sneddon, who said other line combinations were instituted because “we felt we needed to spread our talent around a litte bit, combine it with some grit. For the most part, it worked out pretty well.”

As for the penalty kill move, the Catamounts were 4-for-4, holding Northeastern scoreless man-up, a key factor in UVM’s 3-2 win.

The lesson: Know your role, play your role, and you get to play the game.





Leonard contributes to UVM’s tie and other notes

November 6, 2009

It was only a 3-3 tie with UMass-Lowell, but after recent games, the level of play exhibited by the University of Vermont men’s hockey team was a victory for resilience.

┬áThat’s all in the game story, but there were other notes worth mentioning:

*** Junior forward Brett Leonard of South Burlington played in seven games as a freshman. His most notable contribution as a sophomore last year was switching from forward to defense when injuries left UVM with too few defensemen for practice. His selflessness was greatly appreciated. He never played in a game.

Friday night, though, Leonard was in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 15, 2007, a matter of 70 games. He made an impression that’s sure to earn him more game-time consideration.

“Brett Leonard and that line — we’re looking for a fourth line that can give us a spark — they may have been one of the best lines lines on the ice tonight,” said UVM coach Kevin Sneddon of Leonard, Chris McCarthy and David Pacan.

“Those guys might not be in here doing interviews tonight but they might have been our most consistent line from start to finish. It was the spark we needed.”

*** “Well, I’m sure the Catamounts and their fans are happy to have (Justin) Milo back. That was a big goal he scored. He looked really good out there,” said UML coach Blaise MacDonald.

After missing the first five games, Milo returned from a foot injury to set up one goal and score the tying goal. He barely missed a game-winning goal during a late power play.

“It felt great. I was pretty nervous before the game coming off a little injury and not practicing a lot,” said Milo, who missed much of preseason because he was helping the Staten Island Yankees win the NY-Penn League championship. “As soon as I got out there, I was excited, the fans were great as always and it just felt good to be part of the team again.”

*** Rob Madore played well with two of the goals deflecting off teammates’ sticks. He’ll rest Sunday with senior Mike Spillane going against Providence. Spillane lost the starting job to Madore last year, came back in great shape and was scheduled to start against Maine but pulled himself out of the lineup with illness, an act Sneddon has praised as maturity and concern for the team.