It was a classic bend-but-donâ€™t-break victory for the Vermont Catamounts.
Despite being outshot 41-24, UVM withstood the razzle-dazzle offense of Boston University and emerged with a gritty 4-3 win in front of 5,187 at Agganis Arena, breaking the Terriersâ€™ 11-game winning streak at home.
Freshman goaltender Rob Madore led the way with 38 saves, including an amazing glove save to rob Jason Lawrence in the second period. Peter Lenes added a goal and two assists for the No. 15 Catamounts (6-3-2, 3-3-1 Hockey East), while Colin Wilson and Colby Cohen each notched two assists for the No. 2 Terriers (7-3-0, 6-3-0).
â€œIt was a game of momentum swings,â€ Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. â€œWe felt we were sitting pretty good [at 3-2], but they had a response. I was just really pleased with our guys and the way they responded after BU got the five-on-three goal.
â€œI think Rob Madore was obviously sensational. BU threw everything at him. The goals that were scored were second, third, maybe fourth opportunities.â€
With the exception of the spunky fourth line of Luke Popko, Zach Cohen, and Joe Pereira, Terrier coach Jack Parker was unhappy by his teamâ€™s performance.
â€œI thought that was a disguised effort on our part,â€ Parker said. â€œThey let us make some pretty plays and then they win the game. We had a lot of dipsy-doodle plays and looked like we were going to break it open any minute but didnâ€™t and gave them opportunities. As the game progressed, it looked like we were in a hurry instead of being poised.
â€œI donâ€™t mind losing a game when my team plays real hard, when my team plays real smart. That was not the case tonight.â€
The first few minutes were uneventful, but BU dominated much of the first period starting at the six-minute mark. Chris Higgins had a wraparound bid followed by a Colin Wilson rebound chance, and then Wilson had a second opportunity from close quarters.
At 9:05, Colby Cohen set up Zach Cohen (no relation) for a great bid in the crease, then Zach Cohen and Wilson whacked at a rebound to no avail less than a minute later. At 12:05, David Warsofsky set up Zach Cohen yet again, crashing the net. Vermont had just one great chance at 14:00, when Corey Carlson was set up nicely but shot wide.
Fittingly, Zach Cohen figured in the first goal, as he was an obvious standout in the first period. Pereira passed to him on a two-on-one, and Cohen shot. Madore made the save, but Popko knocked in the rebound at 16:28.
The second period started ominously for BU when Eric Gryba completely fanned on the puck near his own net, setting up a great chance for Justin Milo at the two-minute mark. Freshman goalie Grant Rollheiser stopped that one but gave up the first goal at 2:31 off of a two-on-one rush. Wahsontiio Stacey raced out of his zone, passed to Lenes on the right wing, and then crashed the net for the tip-in.
At 8:50, Madore made the save of the night. With the goaltender down and seemingly out, Jason Lawrence fired a backhander that looked to be a sure goal. Madore reached up and pulled it in for the last-ditch save. As so often happens, his teammates capitalized just over a minute later. Sophomore Chris Atkinson was left alone in the left-wing faceoff circle for a long look. Rollheiser got a piece of the shot with his left arm, but the puck deflected up high in the air before coming down behind him and bouncing into the net to make it 2-1 Vermont.
â€œIn the second period, we gained confidence by just making simple playsâ€¦ and we got better defensively as the game went on,â€ Sneddon said.
The Terriers got the equalizer at 16:04 on a power play. Colby Cohen took a shot from the left wing faceoff circle, and Higgins took two whacks at the rebound before getting it past Madore.
The third period was a topsy-turvy affair. Higgins and Matt Gilroy teamed up for what easily could have been a shorthanded goal at 4:30, only to have UVM take the lead on the same man advantage. Lenes got the puck at the right point and stickhandled over to the left-wing faceoff circle before firing a wrister into the net.
â€œI donâ€™t want to take away from the rest of the team because I thought we did some really good things offensively,â€ Sneddon said. â€œOur power play was very effective. Peter Lenes did a great job up top getting shots through.â€
BU tied it up on a five-on-three at 11:11. Colby Cohen took a shot from the left point that Higgins redirected in high on the glove side. Less than three minutes later, though, Vermont got the game-winning goal on another power play. A BU defender lost his stick, and the Catamounts showed great poise by possessing the puck for a solid minute before seizing an opportunity. This time Brayden Irwin redirected a Lenes shot from the point to make it 4-3.
BU pulled the goalie and came close to tying it when Higgins had a couple swats at the puck in a wild scramble in the crease with less than a minute left, but that was all she wrote.
â€œThere was no determination to play defense,â€ Parker said. â€œWe gave up more [odd-man rushes] than in every other game combined and that was because we werenâ€™t there. And they were.â€
Speaking of the flashy play of his first three lines, Parker said, â€œTheyâ€™re playing to look good instead of playing to win.â€
â€œBUâ€™s the best team weâ€™ve played so far,â€ Sneddon said. â€œFor us to win in their building after they won 11 in a row here is a big win for us.â€
The two teams square off again on Saturday night at Agganis.