Vermont's Run Ends One Win Short
by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
BOSTON Vermont's magical second-half run ended one win short of a Hockey East title and NCAA appearance. But it was still one heckuva run.
After a slump in the first half, the Cats were in danger of not making the Hockey East tournament. However, a nice roll in the second half for Kevin Sneddon's troops led to their first appearance to the TD Banknorth Garden.
"I am just so proud of our team, not just not only for the way they competed this weekend, but just for the entire season," Sneddon said. "This program is heading in a great direction."
After creating a buzz in the first period, the Cats could not get much on offense against Boston College, stymied by a team that always saves its best for this time of a year, and a hot freshman goaltender in John Muse.
"The first 10 to 15 minutes was the best offense I have seen from the team all year," Sneddon said. "We had some opportunities, but we needed to capitalize.
"If one or two of those pucks go in it's a different feel."
Said Vermont senior Mark Lutz, "We knew that they were a great team, and very experienced. Tonight was just one more step. We just approached it that way, tried to keep it simple and see what we could put up."
When the score hit 1-0 in the first, Vermont seemed to have the edge in the period even though the score didn't indicate it. However, that was the beginning of the end for the Cats.
"It definitely put us down a little bit," Lutz said. "We had chances to get some sparks there and really get going, but we weren't able to convert."
Though the 4-0 score might have the team on the down side, in terms of making the NCAA tournament, the team is heading in the right direction. The penalty kill played well tonight and helped keep Vermont in the game.
Most of the team is made up of freshmen and sophomores. Only five players will be graduating (Joe Fallon, Jeff Hill, Mark Lutz, Slavomir Tomko and Reese Wisnowski).
"There was so much excitement not only for our school, but for the state of Vermont," Sneddon said. "We have the majority coming back. I am proud of the team and it was an enjoyable coaching experience. I am looking forward to next year."
This is the third year that Vermont has been in Hockey East. The Cats were bounced out the first two years in the quarterfinals. To get this far in just the third year was pretty rewarding,
"Each season is a journey," Sneddon mentioned about his tenure at Vermont. "Our first two years started off pretty well and it sort of faded in the end.
"The way we had the journey this year was just so enjoyable. It was so rewarding as a coach. I never had this much fun in coaching as for the people we have in the locker room. It's a journey I certainly won't forget as quickly if ever."