Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins Three For Three Under Cassidy; UVM Win Streak Hits Fifteen

Feb 13, 2017

The UVM mens' basketball team got win number fifteen in a row yesterday afternoon, but had to hold off a frantic rally from UMBC to earn it.

Maryland-Baltimore County trailed by 18 points with less than seven minutes left to play but the Retrievers must have picked up the scent of complacency on the Catamounts, and ramped up the pressure, closing the gap to just three points in the waning seconds, and UMBC's K.J. Maura launched a three that was on target and was only kept from tying the game when it front rimmed out, giving UVM a 77-74 hold on for life victory.

Still, a win is a win, and the Cats now own the nation's second longest current winning streak at 15 games, they're perfect against America East opponents still, and own a 23-5 overall record. Dre Wills recorded a double double of 22 points, matching a career high, while pulling down 13 rebounds. Part of the reason for UMBC's comeback was poor free throw shooting by the Catamounts, at just 66%, although the team was a hot 50% shooting from the floor.  

The UMBC women did complete a comeback against the women of UVM, overcoming a 13-point deficit to win 64-52. Taylor McCarley led the Retrievers with a double-double of 14 points and 12 assists, while Kristina White had 12 points and seven boards for UVM.

Tough loss for the UVM womens' hockey team, who fell 8-1 to Boston College yesterday.
The Middlebury women skated past Colby 8-1, with Maddie Winslow scoring a hat trick to lead the Panthers. The win moves seventh ranked Middlebury into a first place tie in the NESCAC standings with Hamilton.

Over the weekend, the University of Vermont ski team erased a 40-point deficit at the Dartmouth Carnival to garner its first win of the season. The Catamounts finished with 900 points to overtake host Big Green's 864. Middlebury took third place with 675 points. Vermont got podium finishes from Paula Moltzan on day two. She finished first in women’s slalom, and William St. Germain took first in men’s slalom.

The Castleton University men's Nordic ski team finished in fourth place in the team standings at the conclusion of the ECSC Mansfield Divisional Championships yesterday at Prospect Mountain.

To the pros, and if the Boston Bruins were hoping for an immediate post-coach-firing bump since they let Claude Julien go, they've got it. Make it three wins in a row now under interim coach Bruce Cassidy after the B's not only beat their ancient rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, but shut them out last night 4-0 in Beantown.

Cassidy has said he wants to see the Bruins defense get more involved in the offense, and over the past two games, the Bruins have gotten big goals from blue liners Kevan Miller, Colin Miller, and last night Adam McQuaid and Zdeno Chara. McQuaid has never been mistaken for a goal-scorer, but looked like one last night when he took a gorgeous cross-ice feed from rookie winger Peter Cehlarik, who had two assists on the night for his first two NHL points. McQuaid one-timed the pass by Carey Price for the first goal of the game, sneaking in off the point to get behind the Montreal D.  It's the kind of back door play Zdeno Chara made a living off of a few years back when the Bruins were on their way to the 2011 Stanley Cup, and Chara did turn back the clock last night, scoring a short handed goal on a really nifty move you don't expect from such a big man, skating into the middle of the Montreal zone while faking out Alexander Radulov and then snapping a high wrister over Price to make the lead 2-0. David Krejci added a power play goal and Frank Vatrano finished off the scoring while Tuukka Rask earned his sixth shut-out of the season, making 25 saves, and it was career goose egg number 36 for the Finnish native, moving him past Frank Brimsek for second in shut outs on the Bruins all time list. It was also Tuukka's first regular season win against Montreal on home ice, ever, which is kind of remarkable. Rask had taken an 0-9-3 record at TD Garden against the Habs into last night's game before posting the no-no.

This is all great news for the Bruins, but the question of course, is whether they can sustain the winning. Three wins in three games under the new interim coach is welcomed and encouraging but it's a small sample size, and whatever momentum the Bruins have built will have to be put on hold now as the team enters a bye week, something new the NHL is trying this season, and that is wildly unpopular with just about everyone who actually skates on the ice and yells from behind the bench. The Bruins don't play again until Sunday when they open a four game west coast road trip against the Sharks in San Jose. During that time the Bruins will have to scoreboard watch and hope the teams close to them in the standings, from Toronto to Ottawa to Philadelphia, don't use those games in hand to blow by them on the points ladder.

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