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Vermont Storms Back, Forces Deciding Third Game in Hockey East Quarterfinals

Vermont scored four unanswered goals in the second and third periods en route to a 4-2 victory on Saturday night at Conte Forum in Game 2 of the Hockey East Quarterfinals.

Matt Dewkett

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Boston College head coach Jerry York was right.

Vermont didn't back down, so it's looking like déjà vu all over again through Boston College's first two Hockey East Tournament games again this season.

The Catamounts scored four unanswered goals in the second and third periods en route to a 4-2 victory on Saturday night at Conte Forum, bouncing back to force a deciding third game with the Eagles for a second consecutive season.

"I'm really, really proud of our team," said UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon, whose team had suspended forward Brady Shaw out of the lineup, as well as three players with a stomach bug. "We really needed to let our character just ooze out, and I thought that's exactly what we did."

BC scored twice in the game's first 7:05 before Catamount rookie Packy Munson stood on his head, stopping all 25 shots he faced over the final two periods in the first playoff start of his young career.

It was exactly what York expected, as he suggested in the press conference following Friday's 3-0 win. The sentiments remained the same after the Eagles were handed a defeat for just the sixth time this season.

"Not many teams give up when you have a good start," York said. "They keep on battling, and Vermont did it to us both nights."

The Eagles drew first blood just 3:49 into the game as junior Austin Cangelosi got the ultimate tip on a puck that remained loose in front of Munson for several seconds. Freshman Miles Wood got the primary assist, picking the puck out of the net-mouth scramble before Cangelosi scored his 18th goal of the season.

Alex Tuch doubled the BC lead at the 7:05 mark, picking up a rebound from defenseman Michael Kim's initial shot. Tuch collected the puck in the slot and rifled home his third goal in three games and the 13th of his second collegiate campaign.

From there, the Catamounts were opportunistic. UVM only managed ten shots in each of the last two periods, but made them count in clinching its 15th win of the season.

Freshman Brian Bowen got the visitors on the board at the 2:50 mark of the second period, redirecting defenseman Rob Hamilton's long shot that was destined to land wide of the net.

The Littleton, Mass., native got last touch on the puck for his fourth goal this season, eluding BC junior Thatcher Demko ― who made 11 of his 27 saves in the first period ― from just outside the crease.

South Boston's Liam Coughlin tied the game 10:20 into the middle frame. Hamilton came out of a battle along the boards with the puck and fed Coughlin in the slot for a rocket of a shot that turned into his third goal of the season.

"I think we just worked harder," said Coughlin, who scored a goal and also finished the game with two assists. "We were on the puck a lot. We faced a lot of adversity as Coach said with guys being sick and hurt. Our team knew we had to work hard and I think we showed that."

The third marked the only period in which UVM held the shots on goal advantage, but only by a 10-9 margin.

Junior Brendan Bradley tallied the winner at 11:20, catching up to a puck that fellow winger Mario Puskarich picked up and sent back into the Cats' offensive zone. The puck trickled off Bradley and through Demko for his his tenth marker of the season.

The Catamounts held tough as BC pulled Demko in favor of an extra skater for just over a minute, but sophomore Rob Darrar iced the game with an empty net goal with just 0.4 seconds to play.

Down 2-0, it was looking like BC would advance to TD Garden and the Hockey East semifinals for the 22nd time via a sweep.

"The chips were down. The game didn't start as well as we wanted it to, much like last night," Sneddon said. "But we battled back, just kept coming. We're feeling fortunate we're moving on to play a third game against a great team."

But when he needed to be, Munson delivered and allowed the Catamounts to see another game once again.

The rookie from Hugo, Minn., totaled a career-high 43 saves in the contest, including 18 in the first period.

"I thought he played outstanding for us," Sneddon said of Munson. "It's his first playoff game and he gets absolutely lambasted with 45 shots. Down 2-0 again, he's got to be perfect the rest of the way just to give us a chance (and he was)."

As for the déjà vu scenario? Sneddon is certainly hoping for it.

"I certainly would like (déjà vu)," Sneddon said in comparing Sunday's winner-take-all contest to last year's. "(The game) wasn't as shocking to us as it was last night. We're playing an unbelievable team, so we're just trying to work as hard as we possibly can, leave it all out there, and hopefully that's good enough."