Hockey East notebook: Vermont nets late win over Northeastern

By Samuel Shulman

(Dinur/ Flickr)
(Dinur/ Flickr)

Sophomore center Craig Puffer scored his second goal of the game with just under five minutes to play in regulation to give Vermont a 3-2 win over Northeastern Sunday afternoon.

Huskies sophomore Adam Gaudette scored in the first 45 seconds and it seemed Northeastern (3-2-2, 0-1-0 Hockey East Association) would cruise in this one. The Huskies led 2-1 after the first period, but Vermont (4-1-1, 1-0-0 HEA) erased the deficit with 11 minutes remaining in the second period. The Catamounts completed the comeback with Puffer’s goal in the third.

Both teams had their chances on the power play but it was only Vermont that could capitalize. Puffer scored his first goal on the man-advantage and the team ended up going 1-for 5-overall. Northeastern did not have the same success as they went 0-for-4 on the power play.

Freshman Catamount goaltender Stefanos Lekkas continued his hot start, moving to 3-0-1 on the season. He made 24 saves on 26 shots in this game. Northeastern’s Ryan Ruck was serviceable, giving up the three goals on 29 shots.

Vermont will head to No. 5 UMass Lowell on Friday. Northeastern, which was ranked 16th coming into this game, have a home-and-home series against No. 4  Boston University next weekend.

Grasso shines for UNH

On Saturday night at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center, it was all about freshman Patrick Grasso as the UNH men’s hockey team defeated Merrimack 6-2 in conference play.

After a quick goal from Wildcats right wing Tyler Kelleher, Grasso put on a show. He scored the next four goals in the game and gave UNH (3-3, 2-0 HEA) an insurmountable five-goal lead. Grasso has eight goals in six games.

Merrimack (3-4-1, 0-1-1 HEA) actually outshot the Wildcats 27-22 but the difference came on the power play. The Warriors went 0-for-5 and allowed a shorthanded goal on what was a problematic man-up advantage. UNH, however, punished Merrimack whenever they went to the box. UNH scored on three-of-eight of the advantages, with Grasso scoring all three.

Warriors goaltender Drew Vogler was pulled from the ice after giving up four goals on four shots. Sophomore Craig Pantano played well in replacement, giving up one goal on 12 shots. Wildcats goaltender Danny Tirone continued his solid start to the season making 25 saves on 27 shots.

UNH, will host Sacred Heart next Friday. Merrimack will play Mercyhurst Friday.

Samuel Shulman can be reached at [email protected]