BOSTON — As has happened several times this season, No. 16 Boston University acted as if the game was over when they got up by a few goals.
This time, though, BU got away with it.
After playing solid if unspectacular hockey en route to a 4-2 lead through two periods, the Terriers were outshot, 14-7, in the last period, but held on for a 4-3 win over Vermont.
Filling in for No. 1 goaltender Kieran Millan, who was suspended for tonight’s game due to skipping classes, Grant Rollheiser made 31 saves for his second win of the season for the Terriers, who got a point apiece from nine different players.
Blake Doerring and Kyle Reynolds notched their first collegiate goals for the Catamounts, though Sebastian Stalberg was their top forward, particularly in the third period.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game for a while,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “Once it got to be 4-2, we reverted back to stupid, selfish…. I couldn’t have been more disappointed with the third period. I thought Rollheiser played great.”
Vermont has still just beaten one team this season – No. 1 Minnesota.
“I thought it was a pretty good hockey game,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I’m very proud of our team. Five-on-five, I thought we did a lot of great things tonight. I really couldn’t ask much more of our team from that standpoint, but special teams hurt us.”
At 5:27 of the first period, Vermont got on the scoreboard first. Brett Leonard took a shot from the right point and Rollheiser made the initial save, but didn’t control the rebound. Doerring, who was only in the lineup due to a pregame injury, was on the doorstep and easily tapped it in for his first collegiate goal.
At 9:02, BU tied it up. From behind the UVM net, Sahir Gill backhanded a pass into the slot. It went through traffic, caromed a Catamount defender’s skate, and went onto the stick of Corey Trivino in the slot. The centerman buried it for his seventh goal in nine games this season.
Just 81 seconds later, BU took the lead. On a power play, Matt Nieto forced a turnover from behind the net. The puck bounced to Charlie Coyle in the slot and he knocked it in.
Vermont came out with spring in their step in the second stanza. At 2:38, Reynolds fought off BU defenseman Patrick MacGregor in the slot and backhanded the puck in to tie up the game. It marked yet another player’s first collegiate goal against BU this season, an unbelievably recurring theme.
BU regained the lead just after a power play expired at 6:47. Sean Escobedo took a shot from near the left-wing boards and Wade Megan banged in the rebound at the far post.
On another power play, BU went up 4-2 at 16:34. From the right-wing boards, Nieto passed it to Grant Noonan cruising toward the slot. With Coyle screening Vermont goalie Rob Madore, Noonan’s wrist shot somehow threaded the needle and went into the net untouched.
The third period was mostly uneventful. UVM went on a power play with 3:53 left after BU took a too many men penalty. Vermont called a timeout, leading speculation that they would pull the goalie. Madore stayed and then Vermont scored to make it 4-3 with 3:18 remaining. With the puck sitting in the crease after a shot, Stalberg knocked it over the goal line.
Sneddon finally pulled Madore with 1:42 left.
Stalberg had a great shot with a minute left, but Rollheiser stopped it.
Parker acknowledged that special teams won the game, but he still was riled by that last period.
“We have a mindset that we can do what we want at times, that we can be selfish and stupid,” Parker said. “Vermont should’ve won that game, I thought. They had unbelievable chances in the last few minutes to tie that game.”
Sneddon was furious over a blown icing call that should have given Vermont one more offensive-end draw with 15 seconds left, but he expressed admiration for linesman Bob Bernard for owning the responsibility for missing the call.
BU (5-4-1) will have Millan back in net on Saturday night when the Terriers host New Hampshire. Vermont (1-6-1, 0-5-1) travels across town to play Northeastern.