No. 12 men’s hockey take back-to-back losses against Vermont


Sarah Olender

Biagio Lerario, who scored one of the Husky goals of the weekend, prepares to take a face-off against UMass Lowell earlier this season,

Leah Cussen, news staff

No. 12 men’s hockey was swept by Vermont Friday and Saturday, with final scores of 4-2 and 3-1 respectively. The sweep by Vermont knocked the Huskies down to eighth place in Hockey East standings, leaving them perilously hanging on to a playoff spot. The series gave Vermont their first two Hockey East wins this season.

After fifth-year senior goaltender Craig Pantano allowed four goals within the first 26 minutes of play and was ultimately taken out during the Feb. 21 game against BC, he faced a lot of pressure to play at the top of his game. However, pressure was the last thing he needed, as he ended the two nights with save percentages of .88 and .89, compared to UVM senior goaltender Stefanos Lekkas’ .94 and .96.

Lekkas, who is ranked seventh in total saves in NCAA history with 3,869 saves, was named HEA Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Huskies. His stellar efforts in net kept the Huskies from ever holding a lead, limiting the Huskies to just 58 seconds in the black.

Friday, 4-2

A 1:46 goal by UVM (5-22-6, 2-17-4 HEA) junior forward Alex Esposito offered a snapshot of the following two hours of hockey the two teams would play against one another.

Throughout the first period, NU (17-12-3, 10-11-1 HEA) lacked sharp transitions, rendering them unable to even out the score.

Moving into the second period, a quick Husky goal by senior forward Biagio Lerario, with assists by freshman forwards Matt Demelis and Aidan McDonough, evened the score at one. But just over two minutes later, Esposito’s quick action following a faceoff allowed UVM to gain back their one goal lead.

Another two minutes later, at 5:31, UVM senior forward Derek Lodermeier capitalized on an open net, giving UVM their third goal of the night.

Catamount defense proved as capable as their offense, as they easily kept NU offense away from their zone. At 16:30, UVM junior forward Ace Cowans scored, giving the Catamounts a 4-1 lead over the Huskies.

Tensions were high between the two teams. As the second period was coming to a close, a scrum at the net after a UVM shot sat on the goal line led to two UVM penalties and one NU penalty.

At 1:22 in the third period, Demelis scored another Husky goal, with assists by McDonough and sophomore defenseman Jordan Harris. However, they couldn’t get the puck past Lekkas again, allowing Vermont to secure the win.

Saturday, 3-1

This Huskies returned Saturday night looking for revenge. Both teams stepped up their defense while Lekkas and Pantano commanded their nets, leading to the first period ending scoreless.

At 1:38 into the second period, senior forward Matt Filipe managed to get the puck past Lekkas, with assists by freshman forward Riley Hughes and junior forward Zach Solow to give the Huskies a one goal lead. Filipe’s goal gave the Huskies their only lead of the two-game set, one that would last just seconds.

However, the Catamounts were determined to secure their second Hockey East win for the season. Less than a minute later, UVM junior forward Bryce Misley knocked the puck behind Pantano and tied the game at one.

Misley dominated the second period for the Catamounts, coming back to the Husky net at 14:54 with another goal for Vermont.

Heading into the third period with only a one point deficit, the Huskies certainly had a chance to win so long as their play was sharp and controlled. The Catamounts, however, got the best of them. A 12:31 goal by Lodermeier secured a 3-1 win for Vermont.

The tensions of the previous game continued throughout this one as well. Just as the game was coming to a close, Solow was given a 10 minute misconduct penalty, to be served by sophomore defenseman Alex Mella.

As the Huskies recover from their consecutive losses, they prepare to take on BU in a home-and-home series March 6 and 7, with puck drop at 7 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. In their last two Hockey East games before the playoffs, NU will have to put everything they have on the ice.

If the Huskies drop both games to BU and UNH manages to steal a point against BC, it will be the last series the Huskies play this year.