Thursday, March 25, 2010

West #4: Vermont

University of Vermont Catamounts

4 seed vs. Wisconsin, West Regional (Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN)
At-large bid from Hockey East
Record: 17-14-7
Coach: Kevin Sneddon

The Vermont Catamounts don't appear in the top 10 of any major statistical category as a team: Not defense, offense, power play, or penalty kill. Their RPI is the lowest of the 4 teams tied at 11th in the Pairwise. In conference, they only went 9-11-7 to finish 8th in Hockey East (to be fair, only 3 points separated them from 3rd). They don't have a goaltender in the top 28. They don't a skater in the top 50. But they do have wins over Denver, Boston College, Yale, Minnesota-Duluth, and their victory over New Hampshire in the Hockey East first round lifted them into the tournament, so they clearly aren't a team to be taken lightly. Yale and Air Force can answer for that from last season, when the Catamounts clawed their way into the Frozen Four before falling to eventual champion Boston University, 4-5.

Senior Rob Madore is the top netminder for the Catamounts. His .908 SV% is only down .004 from his junior season, but his GAA is up a whole .3 to 2.65, indicative of the 117 extra shots he's seen this year. On offense, Vermont is paced by senior forward Brayden Irwin (15-19--34), the team leader in the big 3 categories, plus power play goals (7) and penalty minutes (66). Fellow senior Colin Vock (11-17--28) is the only other Cat with double digit goals. Senior defenseman Patrick Cullity is by far the +/- leader (+19). Junior forward Justin Milo (9-12--21) is the only player over 1 ppg, but he was dismissed from the team in February for unspecified reasons.

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