CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — When watching Friday evening’s contest between Vermont and No. 3 Boston College, it was almost unavoidable to have the weirdest sense of déjà vú.
The Eagles took the lead relatively early in the game, continuing to press up until around the four-minute mark of the second period where UVM goalie Mike Santaguida was chased. From that point, the Boston College offense was stifled by replacement Packy Munson. Yet despite a strong UVM offensive effort for the duration, BC pulled away with the Game 1 victory.
All of this bore a striking resemblance to the first game of the 2015 Hockey East quarterfinal series between the two teams.
While the score lines of game one both years were a little bit different, with the 2015 game finishing 4-2 and Friday evening’s game finishing 3-0 on Thatcher Demko’s 36 saves, but the resemblance between the two games is uncanny.
“We understand last year we had a similar situation,” BC coach Jerry York said. “Vermont is not going to roll over and let us just go to the Garden by winning tomorrow night — we have to earn that.”
The Eagles got on the board early in the game, just 4:14 into the first period. Off a faceoff, Adam Gilmour got a feed from Austin Cangelosi. Gilmour stepped up in the faceoff circle and rifled a shot past Santaguida for the game’s first goal.
The second goal, scored just five and a half minutes after the Gilmour goal, also came off the stick of Cangelosi. On a chaotic play around the net, Cangelosi caught Santaguida out of position. Cangelosi wrapped around the net and put the puck in the net, giving the Eagles the 2-0 lead into the intermission.
In the second period, Ryan Fitzgerald took a shot on Santaguida that went off his right arm. The puck, while moving at a significantly slower pace, trickled into the net to give the Eagles their third goal of the game. At that point, the writing was on the wall for Santaguida, who was pulled for Munson.
Munson held the Eagles scoreless for the rest of the game, earning himself more playing time in the immediate future. Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon announced following the game that Munson would get the start in Game 2 over Santaguida.
“Packy has been great, and I feel bad for Michael,” Sneddon said. “Michael had a great weekend last weekend, he’s been through a lot, certainly with being out for 12 weeks, just being able to come back, winning a playoff series last weekend was pretty special for him. He’s had trouble in [Conte Forum]. He was pulled in the regular season, pulled in the playoffs, and he was pulled tonight. Sometimes for whatever reason it’s a mental block more than anything. Packy came in tonight and did his job, he’s been a great goaltender for us as well, so we’re fortunate we have two guys we feel confident in. We’ll go with Packy tomorrow, and see what happens.”
This marks the second year in a row where Santaguida has been benched going into the second game, last year getting benched in favor of Brody Hoffman.
“[Santaguida and Munson] are both good goaltenders,” York said. “One’s younger, a freshman, who’s had a good year when Santaguida went down with an injury. Santaguida’s a good goaltender. He went down and beat Connecticut. We expect good goaltending from either one.”
In the game, three players went down with injuries. For BC, Colin White was checked into the boards behind Santaguida in the first period. White skated off the ice due to the injury, but he played his next shift. York said he had no concerns for the freshman’s health.
As for Vermont, both Alexx Privitera and Kevin Irwin left the game with injuries sustained on collisions with BC players. Sneddon said Privaterra would be evaluated, but noted that Irwin “[wasn’t] doing so well.”