BURLINGTON — A game that began in a remarkably similar way to Friday night’s contest had a very different ending, as Vermont defeated Boston College, 5-3. in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse and captured its first win of the season.
The previous night’s game had ended in a 3-2 Boston College victory.
Victory in this game would not come easily for Vermont though, as the Catamounts had to withstand a late comeback attempt from the Eagles, who almost overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third period.
“Tip of the hat obviously to BC, you know they’re down and out at 4-1 and they made it a great run at the end there; I think we got a little bit tight and tense and worried — great weekend of hockey,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said.
“The win was great but the process got us there,” Sneddon added.
“Our team really battled back well; I like that fire and competitiveness in us, we’re down 4-1, visiting team,” Boston College coach Jerry York said.
Sophomores Chris McCarthy, Sebastian Stalberg, and Tobias Nilsson-Roos scored for Vermont, along with freshmen H.T. Lenz and Connor Brickley. Junior Jimmy Hayes scored twice for the Eagles and junior Cam Atkinson also scored.
Just like the previous night’s game, the Catamounts jumped out to an early first-period lead on a McCarthy goal. McCarthy scored the game’s first goal at 1:27,picking up a pass from Nilsson-Roos and knocking a snap shot into the net from the slot.
The similarities from Friday continued soon after, as the Eagles rebounded quickly to tie the game. Atkinson scored at 5:09, taking advantage of a Vermont tripping penalty that had been called on senior assistant captain Kyle Medvec. Atkinson took control of a rebound and sent a wrist shot past junior goaltender Rob Madore.
While Vermont senior Wahsontiio Stacey and Boston College sophomore Phillip Samuelsson were serving simultaneous penalties, Vermont freshman Nick Bruneteau passed the puck off to sophomore Stalberg. Stalberg proceeded to send a wrist shot past sophomore goalie Parker Milner at 15:32. This carried the Catamounts into the second period with a 2-1 lead over the Eagles.
Vermont junior Drew MacKenzie tried to increase his team’s lead in the second period when he sent a hard shot toward Milner from the right circle. The shot missed the net though, and no further damage was done by the Catamounts in the period. The Eagles were not able to score in the period either, leaving the score at 2-1.
The Eagles outshot the Catamounts 14-6 in the second period after being outshot by Vermont 13-9 in the first.
Boston College sophomore Pat Mullane took control of the puck in the offensive zone early in the third period. He got the puck close to the Vermont crease, but couldn’t put the puck past Madore.
Instead, the Catamounts widened the gap just seconds later at 2:28. Brickley passed the puck to Lenz, who sent a wrist shot past Milner for his first career goal.
Vermont put even more distance between itself and BC at 8:44 when Brickley scored a goal of his own, tipping in a shot from senior Dan Lawson near the crease.
The Eagles were not finished scoring though, and it was here that they would begin their fight to close the gap and squeeze out a come-from-behind victory.
Hayes scored the first of his two goals at 12:49, sliding the puck past Madore from the right of the net. This cut the deficit to two goals.
Hayes struck again at 16:10 after Madore made the initial save on a shot taken by sophomore Chris Kreider. Hayes knocked in the rebound, putting the Eagles one goal away from tying the game.
The Catamounts took a timeout to re-collect for the final few minutes of the game. Boston College took a timeout of its own with one minute remaining and pulled Milner from the net soon after.
“I think the timeout was just huge to try to calm our guys down and understand there was nothing we could do about the two goals that just went in,” Sneddon said.
Pulling Milner left the door open for Nilsson-Roos, who scored an empty-netter at 19:26, giving Vermont the last word and cementing the victory. Nilsson-Roos sent a wrist shot across the ice all the way from the Vermont defensive zone.