From the halfway point of Saturday night’s game between the Vermont Catamounts and the No. 3 Boston College Eagles, two words were on the mind of the Conte faithful, those in the press box, and those watching the game around the country: déjà vu.
For the second year in a row, after starting a backup goaltender following a frustrating loss in the first game of the series, Vermont took the second game of the series, 4-2, forcing a decisive third game Sunday afternoon.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “Obviously we went into the game pretty depleted. [Liam Coughlin] had an unbelievable game. I talked to [the team] about, prior to the game, that it was going to be about character tonight. Our backs against the wall, we really needed our character just to ooze out, and I thought that was exactly what we did.”
Unlike the 2015 iteration of the series, the Eagles took the lead early in the second game Saturday night. The first goal came on a chaotic play. On a net-mouth scramble, Packy Munson ended up on the ground and out of position to stop Austin Cangelosi from poking the puck through the chaos and into the net. While the play was reviewed, the goal ultimately stood.
The next BC goal was more straightforward. After Michael Kim took an initial shot, Munson made the save, but let up a rebound. Alex Tuch came in the slot and rifled a puck past Munson, giving the Eagles the 2-0 lead going into intermission.
The, game, however, was far from over.
“Not many teams give up when you have a good start,” BC coach Jerry York said. “They keep on battling. Vermont did it to us both nights.”
Vermont began the battle back into the game early in the second. Just 2:50 into the second period, Rob Hamilton took a shot on Thatcher Demko. Brian Bowen, screening Demko, redirected the puck past the junior goaltender, putting the Catamounts on the board.
The completion of the battle back into the game came around the halfway mark. From around the same area that Tuch scored the second goal of the game for the Eagles, Liam Coughlin sniped a shot past Demko, tying the game at two.
The third period completed the déjà vu experience. On a chaotic play in front of Demko, a puck went off Brendan Bradley’s shin pad and past Demko. The goal was reviewed for a possible kicking motion, but ultimately the call was upheld.
Vermont added one more empty-net goal with 0.4 seconds left, but the writing was on the wall long before that. The series, much like last year’s, was going three games.
“I certainly would like [déjà vu],” Sneddon said. “Again, we talked about coming down here and it’s two different teams. We’re a completely different team, they’re certainly a different team, I think we gained some confidence tonight, last night at times we were shocked by their speed and skill and it took us a while to get into the game, where tonight I thought despite going down 2-0 I thought we adjusted to it. It wasn’t as shocking to us as it was last night. We’re playing an unbelievable team. We’re just trying to work as hard as we possibly can, leave it all out there and hopefully that’s good enough.”