Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup
Fieldhouse • Burlington, Vt.
St. Cloud State vs. Union, 4 p.m.
Rensselaer at Vermont, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 30
Consolation Game, 4 p.m.
Championship Game, 7 p.m.
Vermont left the ECAC Hockey League,
but didn't forget how to shut down a pair of former
league rivals. The Catamounts blanked Dartmouth 1-0
in the semifinals, and scored a 3-0 win over Clarkson
in the championship game. Joe Fallon made 37 saves
over two games in earning both shutouts.
Clarkson defeated Bemidji State in a
shootout in the other semifinal, after the game ended
in a 3-3 tie, but the Beavers came back to beat Dartmouth
4-3 in overtime in the consolation game.
Vermont has an unimpressive 6-12-2
mark all-time in the 10 holiday tournaments it has
hosted, but is 3-0-1 in the Catamount Cup since Kevin
Sneddon became head coach.
St. Cloud State boasts the third-longest
unbeaten streak in college hockey at 8-0-3 over its
last 11 games. Freshman Andreas Nodl leads the team
in scoring with 23 points and fellow rookie Ryan Lasch
is tied for second on the team with 19 points.
Also keep an eye on how Union's players
respond to a new face behind the bench. Rick Bennett
will serve as head coach while Nate Leaman is away
at the World Junior Championships as assistant coach
for the United States.
Junior goalie Joe Fallon will look to
repeat his double-shutout performance from last year
for the Catamounts, when he earned tournament MVP
RPI broke a seven-game winless streak
with a 2-1 win over UMass Lowell in the Engineers'
last outing, and will look to build some momentum
this weekend. Senior defenseman Jake Luthi has 15
assists and 17 points on the year.
HOW WE SEE IT
Expect the two ranked teams to make
it through the semifinal round, as St. Cloud State
should take advantage of the familiar larger ice surface
and make things difficult for the Dutchmen in the
opener. Vermont's recent run of success in its own
tournament should continue in the other semifinal,
albeit in a much closer game against RPI.
Those results would set up a consolation
game between ECACHL travel partners, who would meet
for a second time this season, with a home-and-home
series on tap in two weeks. We'll take the Dutchmen
in that one, on the basis of a recent goal-scoring
spree (11 goals in their last two games).
In the championship, let's go with St.
Cloud State in a 2-1 contest highlighted by excellent
goaltending from Bobby Goepfert and Vermont's Fallon.
— Joe Gladziszewski