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Terriers storm back to force series split against Vermont

Matt Lane recorded three points for the Terriers, who claimed their first lead of the night with 2:24 left in regulation en route to a 5-3 victory over the Catamounts.

Matt Dewkett

BOSTON — The Boston University Terriers were stuck in a familiar rut Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

For the sixth time this season, BU found itself on the wrong side of a 2-0 score — as costly turnovers gifted the visiting Vermont Catamounts with a pair of tallies in the first period.

Rather than fumble through a slew of in-game adjustments in pursuit of a spark, the Terriers instead stuck with a much more muted response.

"Nothing," said senior Matt Lane. "Mentally, we just stayed on it. …  We didn’t change a thing."

As they have done throughout the 2015-16 season, the Terriers clawed their way out of an early hole, scoring three times in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory over the Catamounts.

After forcing a 2-2 deadlock just 32 seconds into the second period, the Terriers (8-5-3, 4-3-2 Hockey East) once again managed to erase a Catamount lead with less than four minutes left in regulation, with Lane’s rocket from the left circle tying the tilt at three goals apiece.

Just over a minute later, sophomore Brandon Hickey give BU its first lead of the night, lighting the lamp with 2:24 left on the clock to complete the comeback bid.

"Nice bounce-back win for our guys," said BU head coach David Quinn. "I liked our game from start to finish for the most part. Obviously, there were some lulls where Vermont had their way. ... At the end of the day, we preserved and we rebounded from a dismal effort last night."

BU’s skaters pestered Vermont’s net minders all night — peppering Mike Santaguida and Pat Feeley with a combined 51 shots on the night.

Lane led the way for the Terriers with his first three-point game at BU, recording his 50th collegiate point in the process. Seniors Ahti Oksanen and Danny O’Regan also found the back of the net for BU, while goalie Connor LaCouvee stopped 24 shots in the victory.

While the Terriers consistently managed to pressure the Catamounts (4-10-2, 3-5-2 Hockey East) in their own zone, UVM established a two-goal cushion for itself just over 10 minutes into the contest, with freshman Conor O’Neil and junior Brendan Bradley each capitalizing on a myriad of defensive slipups.

"We have an incredible tendency to just give up incredibly eye-opening goals," Quinn said. "If we’re going anywhere, we need to take that out of our game. It’s just amazing, some of the goals that we’ve given up."

BU’s flurry of shots finally started to find their mark later in the first, as Oksanen cleaned up a rebound near the right post for his team-leading eighth goal of the year at 14:08.

O’Regan netted the equalizer in the first minute of the middle stanza, but Vermont once again went ahead at 10:45 in the third — with sophomore Anthony Petruzzelli profiting from a sloppy D-to-D pass in front of the Terrier cage.

Undeterred, BU continued to mount chance after chance against Santaguida, culminating in Lane’s clutch strike at 16:31.

Momentum continued to swing on the side of the Terriers following Lane’s goal, as Santaguida was forced to exit the game due to a lower-body injury, while a five-minute major and game misconduct against Vermont junior Brady Shaw handed BU an extended look on the power play to close out the third.

Just 14 seconds into the man advantage, Hickey put the Terriers up for good, beating Feeley with a quick wrister from the right circle to make it a 4-3 game. Sophomore Brandon Fortunato capped the scoring on the night with a last-second shot into an empty Vermont net.

With only three starters failing to register a shot in the win, Quinn could have pointed to a number of players as key catalysts in BU’s come-from-behind victory, but he saved most of his praise for his core of senior forwards.

"I thought Ahti had a great night," Quinn said. "Ahti and Lane played really well. … Our seniors stepped up.

"It’s a great sign moving forward when you see the seniors take control of the situation and I got to give them a lot of credit. They steered the ship right."