BURLINGTON, Vt. — In its seventh game against Boston College goaltender Cory Schneider, Vermont finally solved the Eagles’ netminder, who in his three seasons at The Heights had given the Catamounts fits.
Coming into the game, Schneider was 6-0 against Vermont, with a 0.81 goals-against average and .980 save percentage with three shutouts.
UVM scored three times on the first-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks including two Corey Carlson power-play goals to upset No. 7 BC, 3-2 Friday at a raucous Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The 14th-ranked Catamounts claim to their first win over BC since November, 1994 nearly eluded them, but for a controversial call disallowing a goal that would have knotted the game at three, late in the third period.
Instead, Vermont came out on top in one of the most entertaining games of the year.
UVM coach Kevin Sneddon was pleased for his team after its recent struggles with the Eagles.
“For our guys to have come so close so often and for them to gut out a one-goal game against these guys, I think is something that the team should feel really proud of themselves tonight. There’s obviously a lot of media questions about ‘Hey can you beat these guys?’ A lot of distractions. I thought they remained focused, believing in themselves, and had confidence going into the game. It certainly showed out there.”
The game couldn’t have started much better for BC. It took the Eagles just 63 seconds to get on the board. Mike Brennan fed Brock Bradford with a long lead pass that caught the defense napping. Bradford’s wrist shot beat Joe Fallon to the glove side for his seventh of the season.
Vermont then took two penalties, virtually back-to-back, but escaped unscathed. Boasting the nation’s leading penalty kill, UVM bore down, killing both disadvantages well.
After a BC parade to the sin bin nearing the end of the period left the Catamounts with 1:35 of a 5-on-3, Carlson evened the score at one. Just as yet another call was being made on BC, Carlson took passes from Ryan Gunderson and Mark Lutz and buried the puck behind Schneider. The goal came with just 56 seconds left in the period.
BC started the second period still on the penalty kill and continued taking what amounted to costly calls. The Eagles were extremely undisciplined taking six penalties in the period, matching their first period total.
“I thought we competed really well,” said BC coach Jerry York. “I was telling my squad [that] we made good plays and did everything that I’d ask of them, except we never really controlled our emotions. Whether it was a misconduct penalty or maybe an after the whistle penalty we weren’t able to have the composure.”
After BC successfully neutralized the first Vermont man-up opportunity of the period, Brennan was slapped with a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind at 12:57. Vermont took the lead on the ensuing advantage.
Peter Lenes made an incredible turnaround pass to Carlson who ripped one past Schneider, stick side, for the 2-1 lead at 8:45. Lutz got the second assist on Carlson’s seventh goal of the season.
“[Carlson's power-play] unit moved the puck exceptionally well, working their high/low options,” said Sneddon. “It’s hard to score goals on Boston College. They do a great job on the kill and certainly have one of the best goaltenders in the country. The thing I was most pleased with, even with the [power-play] unit that didn’t score, we had a lot
of scoring opportunities.”
“I don’t know what the final stats were,” he continued, “but I know, at one point, we had 17 shots on the power play. Last weekend we went through a full game, where we had three shots on goal on the power play.”
Vermont opened a two-goal bulge at 17:53. With the teams skating 4-on-4, Brayden Irwin won the face-off to Lutz who found Torrey Mitchell. Mitchell unleashed a bomb from above the left circle labeled for the left corner that blew Schneider’s water bottle off the top of the net.
“I think he’s really finding a way to become a leader,” Sneddon said of Mitchell. “He’s understanding, now, that it’s the small play that can really lift the team. It may not be a goal, it may not be a beautiful setup play, it may be just a battle won. He did so many of those things tonight really proud of the way he’s emerging right now.”
Skating 4-on-3 to open the third period, Brian Boyle redirected a shot with his skate in the net to pull the Eagles back within a goal at 1:51.
BC controlled the rest of the period, holding a 14-4 advantage in shots on goal. Fallon made a bevy of saves to help his team keep the lead.
With 4:04 to play, Pat Gannon took a shot from the left circle that Fallon got some of with his glove. The rebound popped into the air. Matt Lombardi, hacking down on the puck, tipped it behind Fallon.
Referee Scott Hansen, involved in his second controversy in as many games (Hansen drew the ire of Maine coach Tim Whitehead following the Black Bears’ loss to BU Saturday), ruled that the puck was propelled into the cage by a high stick.
York said he had filed a protest with the league in regard to how the call was decided. Hansen solicited the help of the goal judge in making the call. The call, said York, was not his to make.
“He just explained the rule a high stick [the puck] bounced off their player and went in,” said Sneddon of Hansen’s explanation.
York pulled Schneider in the final minute, but to no avail.
Fallon and Schneider made 25 saves apiece.
In all, the teams combined for 24 penalties for 67 minutes. UVM went 2-for-8 on the power play, while BC was 1-for-7.
UVM (13-8-2, 8-4-2 Hockey East) and BC (12-7-1, 9-5-1) play again Saturday.