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Vermont snaps four-game winless skid, downs BU in weekend opener

Vermont snapped a four-game winless streak with its first win since Nov. 13, a 4-2 decision at Boston University's Agganis Arena on Friday night.

Matt Dewkett

BOSTON -- When a team is in a slump, all it takes is one game to break out.

Friday night may have been that game for the University of Vermont.

The Catamounts scored a pair of goals each in the first and third periods en route to a 4-2 win on Friday night at Boston University, snapping a four-game winless streak.

The win was UVM's first since Nov. 13 against Connecticut, and increased its record to 4-9-2 on the season and 3-4-2 in Hockey East play.

"I'm really proud of our team," UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said. "We've obviously been through some tough weekends as of late, bounces not going our way, and a lot of tests really of our team. I think our message as coaches has been, 'Just stick together and good things will happen.'

"I think our guys played extremely well tonight," Sneddon said. "I thought we were really aggressive at times, and I thought we won a lot of loose puck battles - a lot of things that have been absent from our game."

BU, which is now 7-5-3 on the season and 3-3-2 in conference, had lost just once in its nine previous contests and not since Oct. 30 in a league game.

As happy as Sneddon was with his team's performance, BU head coach David Quinn was disappointed.

"Just really disappointed with our performance tonight," Quinn said. "Complete lack of emotion and commitment to physical play. You've got no chance when you don't play with passion and emotion and enthusiasm. For some reason, we didn't have any of that tonight. The better team won."

Quinn liked the Terriers' start, which ended with the game's first goal at 11:19. Junior Tommy Kelley wound up for a slap shot at the center point that found its way through traffic.

The Natick, Mass., native and St. Sebastian's School product was BU's ninth straight different goal scorer as he took a low-high pass from defenseman Brandon Fortunato. Kelley was held without a point while appearing in just four games a year ago and had not scored a goal since Dec. 6, 2013 at Merrimack.

"It's always nice to see a guy get his first goal of the season, first goal in a while," Quinn said. "I was happy for him."

Vermont scored a pair of goals unanswered before the conclusion of the opening frame and carried a lead into the first intermission for just the third time this season.

Anthony Petruzzelli knotted the score at 13:58 as he took a low shot from the right circle that BU senior goaltender Sean Maguire could not see through traffic.

After Petruzzelli scored his fourth goal of his sophomore season, Jarrid Privitera lifted the Catamounts to their first lead of the game at the 15:24 mark. Privitera capitalized on a bad turnover by BU's Doyle Somerby in the offensive zone and turned around for a breakaway through the circles.

BU held an 11-8 shots on goal advantage in a scoreless second period and was able to jump back into a tie at the 7:12 mark of the third.

Matt Lane scored the fifth goal of his senior season, taking freshman Jordan Greenway's feed before spinning for a shot on net through traffic from the high slot.

The Terriers were unable to solve UVM junior Mike Santaguida again from there and fell behind rather quickly with Brendan Bradley finding the back of the net for the second time this season at 10:55.

"It can look like a busy game and it can look like a difficult game, but it really isn't," Quinn said. "When you skate, play through people and pass pucks to the people who are open, this game becomes easy. We did none of that tonight."

South Boston, Mass., native freshman Liam Coughlin made a beautiful pass between his legs at the side of Maguire's net, feeding the junior center Bradley for the go-ahead and eventual winning goal.

"I don't know if he has eyes in the back of his head or just sensed his presence," Sneddon said of Coughlin, an Edmonton Oilers draftee and former star at nearby Catholic Memorial.

Ironically, Bradley's only other goal this season came in UVM's only win of November.

Coughlin increased the Catamount lead to two goals with the first of his collegiate career as time expired. He received a set-up from the team's junior leading scorer Mario Puskarich and slid the puck ahead and into an open net.

"I thought that was Cough's best game," Sneddon said. "I'm glad he got his first goal right at the buzzer there. The monkey has been on his back, so hopefully that's been a good start for him. ... He didn't play like a freshman."

The Terriers have trailed entering the third period in seven of their last nine games, but they have lost just twice in that stretch.

An 0-for-4 showing on the power play doomed BU on this night, as did allowing a tying goal on a man disadvantage against a unit that had scored just four times on power plays this season and Sneddon called plain "terrible."

"We give up the goal and we weren't mentally tough enough to kind of pull it together," Quinn said. "You could feel the emotion on the bench just deflate us. You can't get deflated that easily. That's just ridiculous. We never recovered."