Whenever two Hockey East teams get together, the ensuing game is sure to be thrilling, physical, and excellently played. When those teams are highly ranked in the country, the action gets even better. On Friday night, the 5th ranked Boston University Terriers traveled to Burlington, Vermont, to play the 12th ranked Catamounts at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Both teams looked to extend successful in-conference runs. BU had a victory and a tie last weekend against Providence College while Vermont was riding a six game point streak, including a dominant victory over #3 Quinnipiac at the Friendship Four event in Belfast. The game was tense, physical, and a marvelous example of Hockey East play.
BU opened the scoring on a Bobo Carpenter power play goal in the first four minutes of the game. BU came into the game 1-24 on the power play in conference and would finish the night 2-4 on the man advantage.
Unfortunately, BU did not keep their offensive momentum going later into the period. Vermont got on the board with an even strength goal by Anthony Petruzzelli, then took a 2-1 lead at intermission Matt O’Donnell’s first collegiate goal. He buried a power play goal inside the last minute of the 1st period. BU got another early power play goal in the 2nd period, this one off the stick of freshman Patrick Harper. That was the end of the scoring for the period, but it was not the end of the physical play.
With the score tied, and already three penalties recorded, two more players spent time in the penalty box in the second. Tensions hit a peak in the third period and exploded spectacularly. Jake Massie and Jordan Greenway went hard into the endboards early in the third and were called for hitting after the whistle. They served their time, returned to the ice, and saw things get more brutal. Ross Carlton hit Brandon Hickey near the BU bench a few minutes after the previous penalties expired. The Terriers hit back, and the game stopped to sort out the physical altercations. Ultimately, five penalties, including two five minute majors, were issued.
BU had a power play after the scrum, but they failed to capitalize on it. BU got no shots out of the power play, and took only five shots in the entire third period. Vermont, on the other hand, took eight shots in the period, and took a lead over the Terriers on Tom Forgione’s goal with 13 minutes left to play. Vermont controlled possession of the puck much of the rest of the game, only allowing three Terrier shots in the last ten minutes of the game. BU pulled Jake Oettinger out of their net with two minutes left for one last ditch effort to tie the game at three. Instead, the man who started the massive scrum at the start of the period, Ross Colton, finished the period with an empty net goal. Vermont closed out the 4-2 victory and ran their unbeaten streak to seven consecutive games. BU lost their first game in Burlington since 2010.
After the game, Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon praised his team’s ability to bounce back from deficits and grind out games. He also said that there was plenty to work on.
“We know that BU has some of the most talented players in college hockey, and if you give them too many chances they will make you pay,” Sneddon said. “We’ve gotta prepare for tomorrow’s game starting now.”
The teams will play their second and final regular season game tomorrow at 7:05 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.