BOSTON -- The Vermont Catamounts entered this weekend's Hockey East series at Matthews Arena with a one-point cushion on the final playoff spot in the league standings, but found themselves in much better condition following Saturday night's game with Northeastern as they earned a 2-1 win over the Huskies to jump seven points ahead of the bottom spot with three weekends to play.
"I thought both teams just gave it their all all weekend," UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said in the post-game press conference. "It was a playoff-like series. I know it is tough for Northeastern to be on the other end but their team battled...We were just fortunate [to] find a way."
With the win, the Catamounts finish the season with a 5-1 record against Maine and Northeastern, which currently sit in the aforementioned bottom positions of the conference. Their overall record now stands at 10-14-4 as they border rival New Hampshire for two next weekend in Burlington.
UVM senior Chris McCarthy found the back of the net with his second goal of the night at 8:24 as he found time and space through the wing, before unleashing a wrist shot inside the dot that found its way under the five-hole of NU netminder Bryan Mountain.
In the waning minute, senior Brett Bruneteau found the empty net, corralling a loose puck that was shot wide from the offensive zone and winning a one-on-one battle for his fifth goal of the season.
Despite two victories on the weekend, tonight's came with a cost as sophomore Kyle Reynolds and freshman Robert Polesello exited the game early with injuries that are considered "day-to-day" in the preliminary stages.
NU has fallen to 8-16-3 on the season with the lost weekend and sits three points behind Maine in tenth place in the league, thanks to a 4-13-3 record in those games.
"When I look at this league, I do not see teams being one through ten," Sneddon said. "I know that is a coaching cliche, but I watched Northeastern in the Beanpot and was impressed as heck. After playing them this weekend, if that is the last-place team in our league, we have a pretty darn good league. You see it every night with teams beating each other."
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.