By Pat O’Rourke
BU News Service
Youth and immaturity. It’s been the theme Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn has gone back to time and again in the first half of the 2015-16 season when talking about his team’s performance.
Those two themes were back on Friday night at Agganis Arena, when a struggling University of Vermont team skated away with a 4-2 win to open a two-game weekend set between the two teams to wrap up the Terriers first-half slate on Commonwealth Avenue.
“We’re an immature team,” said Quinn. “Not only are we young, we’re immature. I’ve said that a few times this year. That could be the case [for Friday’s performance], but hopefully they’re quick learners and they learn their lesson in a hurry.”
The Terriers and Catamounts entered Friday night as two teams trending in completely different directions. BU (7-5-3) came in 5-1-2 in its previous eight games while Vermont (4-9-2) was 1-5-1 over its last seven.
And things looked that way in the game’s opening minutes. The Terriers carried the play for much of the first ten minutes, landing eight of the game’s first 11 shots on net. BU opened the scoring at 8:41 when Tommy Kelley scored his first goal of the season on a pass from Brandon Fortunato.
The junior, playing in his third game of the season after getting in just four last season, scored his first goal since Dec. 6, 2013.
“Always nice to see a guy get his first goal of the season,” said Quinn. “First one in a while. I was happy for him.”
Things turned quickly from there. A pair of penalties within a span of two minutes called against Chase Phelps (hooking) and Brandon Hickey (elbowing) gave the Catamounts the momentum they needed. They took advantage at 13:58 with a power play goal by Anthony Pertuzzelli.
Vermont took the lead 1:26 after the first goal, when Jarrid Privitera scored his sixth goal of the season on a pass from Kevin Irwin to put the Cats ahead, 2-1.
“I thought we were really aggressive at times,” said Vermont Head Coach Kevin Sneddon. “Thought we won a lot of loose-puck battles, things that we’ve been harping on that was absent from our game.”
The Terriers outshot Vermont in the second period by an 11-8 margin but had nothing to show for it. BU was unable to get enough pressure to create opportunities. There was too much lethargy on the power play, as the Terriers were shutout on their four man-advantages in the middle period, with an aggregate six shots from the power plays.
BU tied the game at two at 7:12 of the third period when Matt Lane scored his fifth goal of the season. Freshmen Ryan Cloonan and Jordan Greenway won the battle on the back wall before Greenway made the pass out to Lane in the slot, who put the puck past Mike Santaguida (28 saves).
Vermont regained the lead 3:43 later, when Liam Coughlin found Brendan Bradley on the doorstep to give the Cats a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“You’ve got no chance when you don’t play with passion and emotion, and enthusiasm,” said Quinn. “And for some reason we didn’t have any of that tonight.”
The Terriers pulled Sean Maguire (26 saves) with 2:39 left in the game for the extra-attacker, but couldn’t muster up any offense. BU managed landed just one shot, a Greenway bid, over that span.
Coughlin scored the empty-net goal with one second remaining in the game to give the Cats the 4-2 lead.
“The better team won,” said Quinn. “They skated faster, hit harder, and [played] smarter. That’s all it comes down to.”
It was only Vermont’s third win in its last 14 tries against BU (3-10-1). The Catamounts haven’t won back-to-back games against the Terriers since winning sweeping a weekend series in Burlington, Vt., on Feb. 26 and 28, 2010.