University of Vermont Catamounts
3 seed vs. Yale, East Regional (Bridgeport, CT)
6:30 EDT, Friday, March 27, ESPNU
Coach: Kevin Sneddon (153-92-49)
Vermont has had a long, long road back to the NCAA tournament after their most recent appearance in 1997. The next two years were already rough ones until the wheels completely came off in 1999-2000. A walk-on goalie went to the administration with concerns about hazing, which continued to happen. After an investigation by the state attorney was sharply critical of the university's handling of the matter, the final 15 games of the season were cancelled. Somehow coach Mike Gilligan kept his job and led the Catamounts to a 14-18-2 record the next year before a disastrous 3-26-2 campaign in 2001-02. Current coach Kevin Sneddon stepped in for 2003-04 and promptly went 9-22-4, but righted the ship the next year and has had a winning record in every season since then.
Far and away, the Cats' scoring leader is junior Viktor Stålberg (of Gothenburg,
Mass., appropriately Sweden). He's their only player even close to 20 goals and the only one to reach 20 assists. On the other side, junior defenseman Patrick Cullity has piled up 88 penalty minutes. Rob Madore is the clear #1 goaltender. His save percentage looks halfway decent, same with the goals against average, but nothing spectacular. Despite being the #7 team in KRACH, Vermont hasn't been dominating their opponents. The Catamounts only win by an average of 0.44 goals a night, which is about the same as Alaska's numbers (granted, Vermont has played the 9th toughest schedule in the nation and Alaska the 26th).
Vermont was in the hunt for a #1 seed for much of the season, but torpedoed those hopes down the stretch. They finished the Hockey East season with a loss to New Hampshire, then followed that up with a sweep at the hands of Mass.-Lowell in the opening round of the Hockey East tournament. So they'll either be "well-rested" or "rusty".
Land Grant. Justin Morrill Hall commemorates one of the most important obscure policiticians in American history. In 1857, he sponsored the Morill Land-Grant Colleges Act. The act was introduced with the purpose "to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life". There are currently 76 land grant institutions, including the University of Vermont (though it was founded in 1791).
P.S.: Here's a photo of Craig at Justin Morrill Hall in 2007, because he's a dweeb.