BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Vermont Catamounts erased two Boston College two-goal leads, scoring two in the third period en route to a 3-3 tie in the Hockey East opener for both teams at Gutterson Fieldhouse Sunday.
The fourth-ranked Eagles led 2-0 late in the second and 3-1 with 17:31 left in the third, but junior Peter Lenes sparked a rally and sophomore Jay Anctil tied the game late in the period, giving UVM a well-earned league point.
Im so pleased on several different fronts, said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon, I mean, obviously, the resiliency of our team to be down two goals twice, weve seen our team get down in the past. I liked our attitude on the bench. I liked the fact that we were positive and believed that we could come back against a tremendous team and then to go out there and do it.
I thought we were night-and-day from last weekend against Miami [losing twice], Sneddon said. Every time something happened bad tonight, we responded very well.
Lenes (one goal, one assist) and Dean Strong (one goal, one assist) had multiple-point games for the Cats, while Brian Gibbons (one goal, one assist), Ben Smith (one goal, one assist) and Joe Whitney (two assists) did the same for the Eagles.
Just over nine minutes into his first collegiate game, UVM top-line right wing Wahsontiio Stacey hit a BC skater from behind into the left-wing corner boards, setting up a five-minute power play for the Eagles.
The BC power play peppered the Vermont end, but the Cats penalty kill, ranked in the top-five nationally for most of last season, along with senior goaltender Joe Fallon, stopped all six shots.
We had some good chances, we were unable to put one up on the board, there, said BC head coach Jerry York. I wouldve liked to get one earlier like that.
That really sparked us, said Sneddon of the penalty kill. Coming in, I think, their power play was clicking around 22, 23 percent and for us to weather that storm in our own building, really gave us confidence.
BC junior Nathan Gerbe nearly beat Fallon (30 saves) from the left circle with four minutes left in the period hitting the post, one of two posts the Eagles rang in the opening frame.
Sophomore Ben Smiths goal to open the scoring came at 15:47 of the second from the top of the slot. Freshman Whitney found Smith with a pass from the left wing for the 1-0 lead.
Less than three minutes later, while on a power play, Gibbons converted a backdoor feed from Kyle Kucharski at 18:09.
Skating 6-on-5 as a delayed penalty was called, Strong spun in the left circle, beating BC goaltender John Muse (22 saves) short side. Medvec and Lenes assisted the goal.
I think, really, the momentum builder was Deans goal, said Lenes. We were down 2-0, and going into the third was huge for us. So, that helped lift us.
That goal sent the message across the way that hey, were not going to just pack up our tent because were down two goals.
Anthony Aiello opened the Eagles lead back up two at 3-1, 2:29 into the third. Smith put a shot on Fallon from the right circle, which the goaltender stopped with his pad but left a big rebound for Aiello low in the slot.
Vermont answered, making it 3-2 just 1:22 later. Strong made a hard indirect pass off the left-wing boards to Lenes who leaned into a shot from above the circle and beat Muse high to the glove side at 3:51.
[Lenes goal] got them back in it for sure, said York. It was a poor line change by us that created a chance for them and the kid shot a rocket past Johnny, there.
The Cats comeback was complete at 13:11 when Anctil threw the puck in front from behind the goal line. It glanced off BC defenseman Nick Petreckis skate and through the legs of Muse.
Reese [Wisnowski] won the draw and I just tried to get the puck to the net, got a lucky bounce, said Anctil of his second collegiate goal.
Last year, I dont think we [came back from two down] once, or since Ive been here, Lenes, a junior, said. Its been once we get down, we kind of bury ourselves.
In overtime, both teams had good chances to win it, with Boston College center Benn Ferriero hitting the post from inside the left circle, and Vermont center Strong ripping one from the right circle that Muse stopped.
BC outshot UVM, 33-25, and was 1-for-2 on the power play. Vermont was held scoreless in three opportunities with the man advantage.
We always like to win games, but we did take some pretty positive stuff out of this particular game, York said.
Boston College (1-1-2, 0-0-1 Hockey East) plays a home-and-home with Merrimack next weekend starting Friday at Conte Forum, while Vermont (0-2-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) hosts old ECAC rival Dartmouth for another Sunday afternoon game at 4 p.m.