BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Vermont Catamounts and the Boston University Terriers skated to a 2-2 tie Saturday at Gutterson Fieldhouse, as Vermont freshman defenseman Evan Stoflet scored the game-tying goal on the power play midway through the third period.
That goal helped the Cats salvage one of their first three games of the season, all against nationally-ranked Hockey East powers.
“I don’t think anyone in the locker room is real satisfied with a tie,” said UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We’ve done some great things, but we have a long way to go.”
Vermont jumped out to a 1-0 lead 9:10 into the first period. Sophomore Jeff Corey slid a centering pass from the left wing to Vermont native Brady Leisenring. BU goaltender Sean Fields made a sliding save, and was out of position for the second shot. The speedy Scott Mifsud found the puck and put it into the net for his first goal of the season and 14th of his career.
Less than three minutes later, Boston University (1-0-1) evened the score. Seconds after Mifsud left the penalty box, freshman defenseman Kevin Schaeffer converted from in close. Schaeffer lifted the puck up and over Vermont goaltender Travis Russell’s shoulder for the goal. Dan Spang and Frantisek Skladany recorded assists on the play.
Russell was on his game in the opening period, he made six saves. One of his best was on Kenny Magowan. Off a centering pass, Magowan ripped a shot that Russell barely got enough of with his glove.
Vermont took a 9-7 advantage in shots on goal into intermission.
Each team had opportunities to score in the second period but neither could take advantage. Midway through the period, Russell made a spectacular save on a rebound chance, from the slot, stacking his pads to thwart Skladany. Later in the period on a BU power play, Skladany again took a center pass and fired low to the stick side. Russell made the save.
“He’s been outstanding, three games in a row,” Sneddon said of his goaltender. “I’m afraid to even talk to him. Keep the coaches away from him. He’s doing great, I’m real proud of him.”
On a Vermont power play, Mifsud took a shot that went wide of the cage and caromed off the back boards. Corey, camped on the right side, tried to poke the puck home but Fields got over to make a sprawling save. On the same power play, senior captain Jeff Miles, crept in from the top of the circles and fired a howitzer that clanged off the crossbar.
The second period was filled with penalties, four for Vermont and five charged to BU.
Coming out of the locker room in the third, the Terriers put the pressure on Vermont and the Cats’ sophomore netminder stayed strong, making a handful of saves to keep the contest knotted at 1-1.
BU broke the tie at the 7:00 mark. Eric Thomassian centered the puck from the right side. After a few whacks at the puck from down low, Magowan found the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Then came Stoflet’s first career goal, which he rifled past Fields low to the stick side. Joey Gasparini and Tim Plant had the assists on the goal at 9:53 of the third.
With less than 4:00 remaining, Vermont had a chance with :43 of five-on-three power play, but could not generate a good scoring chance. Late in the game, sophomore assistant captain Jaime Sifers was sprung on a breakaway but to no avail as a late whistle for offsides blew.
BU controlled play in the third period and overtime but the Terriers could not solve Russell, who finished with 27 saves. Fields recorded 20 saves for the Terriers.
BU next travels to Providence to open its Hockey East schedule on Friday night. Vermont is back in action in an exhibition game against St. Francis-Xavier Sunday.