View From The Other Side: Vermont

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Minnesota is 4-0-0 on the season, but its opponent this week has not even played a game. The Vermont Catamounts open their 2011-12 season against the Gophers at Mariucci Arena on Friday. Vermont is the only team from Hockey East that the Gophers have never played. Since there is no prior history between the schools and Vermont has not played a game this year, we went to their athletic department to find out a little bit more about the Catamounts. To learn more about Vermont hockey, visit here.

GopherSports: Most Gopher fans probably know very little about the Catamounts, as the teams have never played and Vermont has not played a game this year. Tell us a little about this year's Vermont team.
Vermont Athletics: Vermont returns four of its top five scorers for the 2011-12 campaign, including its top two scorers from last year in juniors Sebastian Stalberg and Chris McCarthy. Stalberg paced the Catamounts with nine goals and 19 assists for a team-high 28 points, while McCarthy played in all 36 games and ranked second on the team in scoring with 20 points. On the blueline, senior Drew MacKenzie and sophomore Nick Bruneteau represent two of the most dangerous offensive defensemen in Hockey East. Both ranked top-15 in scoring among league defensemen last year, and Bruneteau finished the year with the fourth-most points of any rookie defenseman in the conference. Between the pipes, starting goaltender Rob Madore returns for his senior season after posting a 2.98 goals against average and a .907 save percentage last year. Madore was named the team's MVP and earned the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week award on two occasions.

GS: Who is one player that Gopher fans should pay attention to this weekend?
VA: Connor Brickley is the second highest NHL draft pick in program history, selected 50th overall in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Florida Panthers. The only other UVM player to be taken higher was U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer John LeClair '91, who was selected 33rd overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1987. The sophomore forward's speed, aggressiveness, and physical play make him noticeable on every shift. The Everett, Mass. native posted four goals and nine assists last year in his freshman campaign.   

GS: Fill in the blank for us. Vermont will win if....
VA: The Catamounts can produce well in special teams, which is always important in early season match-ups, and if UVM is able to get senior goaltender Rob Madore off to a positive start. Madore led Vermont to the Frozen Four as a freshman in 2009, posting 15 wins and a 2.35 goals against average in his rookie season.

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