Vermont Ready To Challenge DU This Weekend

(above) Vermont's goaltender Rob Madore will play both games this weekend

From: Burlington Free Press
by Ted Ryan

A year ago, a season-opening split at Denver University helped the University of Vermont men’s hockey team squeeze into the NCAA Division I hockey tournament several months later.

At the time, the Catamounts had no idea how important the 6-4 second-game victory would be. It was one of six wins in seven nonleague games for UVM and that out-of-conference success offset just enough of a mediocre Hockey East campaign to let Vermont to secure its second consecutive NCAA berth.

The Catamounts don’t plan to cut it quite as closely this year. Still, a strong start against one of the nation’s premier programs at Gutterson Fieldhouse tonight and Saturday would boost UVM’s confidence before embarking on its Hockey East schedule.

“Much like some of the teams in our league, Denver is a ‘have’ team,” said UVM coach Kevin Sneddon this week. “Tradition, a beautiful building, a great school, a great coach, so when they lose players, they’re replacing them with the top-caliber players in the country.

“They’ll be as skilled and as fast as any team we’ll play this year.”

Denver finished last year at 27-10-4, losing to RIT in the NCAAs. The Pioneers lost six players to graduation and another three left school early for the professional ranks. Among those departures are four of the top five scorers, leaving DU to replenish its front ranks with talented but inexperienced freshmen.

“They’ll have four or five freshmen up front. Similar to us, they have experience on the back end and some youth up front,” said Sneddon.

Three of Denver’s eight freshmen are NHL draft selections.

Denver is also young in goal with sophomore Adam Murray and freshman Sam Brittain starting the Pioneers’ two exhibition games. Denver defeated the USA under-18 team 8-1 and lost 5-2 to the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

The Catamounts planned to spend the week working on puck movement and possession after the 3-2 exhibition loss to New Brunswick.

“I thought we panicked with the puck,” said Sneddon. “We got to the red line and then dumped it in. As a collective five-man unit, we need to work on coming up the ice, supporting the play, announcing some sort of offensive threat, and if that doesn’t work, then you place the puck into a corner and get into your forecheck. We would just take it to the (center) red line, dump it in and forecheck.”

Two factors that figured into the situation were the presence of five freshman forwards and the need for several veteran forwards to play out of position due to one-game suspensions for Sebastian Stalberg and Chris McCarthy as well as an injury to Tobias Nilsson-Roos.

“We had no experience up the middle,” pointed out Sneddon. “Going into the game, we said this isn’t our lineup. We told them to be physical, work their tails off and have fun and I thought we did that.”

Stalberg and McCarthy have been reinstated and Nilsson-Roos has been cleared to practice and play. All three are expected to be in the lineup tonight.

The Catamounts also planned to stress special teams play. “We’re looking for huge improvement there,” said Sneddon “Special teams are huge early on.”


Anonymous said...


dggoddard said...


Thanks for the heads up. :-)