Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Rookie Packy Munson‘s career-high 43 save performance allowed Brendan Bradley‘s third period rebound to hold up as the game-winner against top seed Boston College as Vermont forced a Game 3 in Hockey East Quarterfinal for the second straight year with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory at Conte Forum.
Freshman Liam Coughlin posted a goal and two assists for the Catamounts (15-21-3), while Brian Bowen and Rob Hamilton each registered multi-point games. The line of Coughlin, Bowen, and Rob Darrar combined for six points and a plus-8 rating. Munson picked up his ninth win of the season with his first collegiate 40-save game.
“Here’s a young man in his first playoff experience going against an excellent team,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “After they go up 2-0, he’s got to be perfect for us to come back and he was. After we made it 2-1, they could have made it 3-1 or 4-1 but he kept them at two.”
Austin Cangelosi opened the scoring for third-ranked Boston College (25-6-5) near the four-minute mark of the first period during the Eagles’ first power play. Munson tried to freeze a loose puck near the far post, but Cangelosi muscled the puck under the rookie’s pads for a 1-0 lead. The goal was reviewed on video but Cangelosi’s 18th of the year was confirmed.
Alex Tuch doubled the BC lead even strength at 7:05 of the first, firing a wrister into the roof of the net from the top of the left wing circle after a blocked shot.
Dan Senkbeil had the best Catamount chance of the first, tipping a puck to himself through to slot before Thatcher Demko (27 saves) turned aside his wrist shot. Vermont had two unsuccessful power play opportunities in the first, but killed off a late BC power play to end the first down 2-0. Munson turned aside 18 shots in the frame to keep his team within striking distance.
UVM stormed back to tie the game in the second period and posted eight of the first 12 shots on goal. At the 2:50 mark, Bowen deflected a right point wrister from Hamilton low blocker side on Demko to cut the lead in half. Coughlin collected the second assist on Bowen’s second playoff goal in the last three games.
Coughlin equalized for the Catamounts just past the midway point of the game as his linemates kept the play alive along the right wing half boards. The South Boston native carried the puck between the circles before ripping a shot into the top corner to knot the score at two. Hamilton had the lone assist on the play as both players posted their second points.
Bradley’s game-winner came at 11:20 of the third period as Mario Puskarich floated a shot on Demko from the left circle. The rebound bounced up in the air at the top of the crease, and Bradley banged it past the junior netminder blocker side to give Vermont its first lead of the series.
The Catamounts kept the Eagles in check into the closing minutes and Boston College pulled Demko for an extra skater with just over 60 seconds to play. Coughlin raced onto a loose puck in the left corner during the closing seconds and centered to Darrar for an empty-netter to seal the victory.
“Talk about being proud and showing character with our backs to the wall,” said Sneddon. “We’re down 2-0 on the road against the No. 3 team in the country. The guys certainly showed great character. As the game went on, we played really smart hockey and Packy didn’t have to work quite so hard.”
The teams return to Conte Forum on Sunday afternoon (March 13) for a decisive Game 3 at 4 p.m. All the action will be streamed live on a pay-per-view basis at HockeyEastOnline.TV, and radio coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on WVMT 620-AM, SportsJuice.com, and the TuneIn app with Alastair Ingram and Andy Merritt on the call.