BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont skated to a hard-fought 4-4 tie in a back-and-forth contest with sixth-ranked Boston College on Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The tie, paired with Merrimack's 4-3 overtime win over Massachusetts, guarantees the Catamounts a spot in the 2013 Hockey East Quarterfinals next week.
The Catamounts push their record to 11-16-6 (8-12-6 HEA) and increased their point total to 22, while the Eagles moved into a tie for second place with New Hampshire at 19-10-4 (14-9-3 HEA). UVM had nine different players post at least one point and three players with multi-point efforts on the night.
"There was a lot at stake for sure. BC has their eye on trying to win a regular season title and it's been a fight for our playoff lives for quite a while now," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "I'm proud of our guys for finding a way to get a hard-earned point against an excellent hockey team."
Boston College opened the scoring on the power play less than four minutes into the first period. Patrick Brown wristed a shot on goal from the top of the left circle and Destry Straight poked in the rebound off Brody Hoffman's left pad on the doorstep.
Chris McCarthy answered for Catamounts at 14:06 of the opening frame with his team-high 12th goal of the year. Jake Fallon stopped at the right point and fired a pass across the high slot to McCarthy. The junior wristed a shot through a slight screen into the upper right corner to knot the score.
UVM took its first lead of the night early in the middle period with just four seconds left on its third power play. Robert Polesello fed H.T. Lenz on the right goal line as the captain curled into the right circle. Lenz dragged the puck and whipped a shot inside the left post for a 2-1 Vermont lead.
The Eagles netted the next two tallies to steal the lead right back. Johnny Gaudreau pounced on a rebound in the low slot as his shot found its way through traffic at 8:55 on the power play to tie the game. Two and half minutes later, Steven Whitney deflected Patrick Wey's point shot under Hoffman's pads for a 3-2 advantage.
Vermont had the equalizer less than three minutes later as Connor Brickley poked the puck down the right half wall for Brett Bruneteau. The senior curled below the goal line and centered a pass to a pinching Caylen Walls, who rifled a low shot past Parker Milner at 13:49 of the second.
It stayed 3-3 until the 3:40 mark of the final frame when Polesello pounced on a loose puck to give UVM its second lead of the evening. Michael Paliotta fired a slap shot on Milner from the right point, and Polesello fought hard to drive home the rebound from the top of the crease.
BC capped off the scoring just 1:17 after the go-ahead goal as Quinn Smith picked up a giveaway in the Vermont defensive zone. Smith slid a short pass back to Whitney in the low left circle, and the senior wristed a quick shot into the right corner past Hoffman's glove.
The teams traded chances down the stretch and headed into overtime. Sneddon and BC head coach Jerry York each called timeout with 30 seconds remaining in the extra session, but neither team generated a prime scoring opportunity.
"They're very hungry to come back and play against these guys again tomorrow night," said Sneddon. "They're confident to know everybody in this league is beatable and we didn't play our best tonight, so I think they're excited to come back."
Hoffman finished the night with 31 saves, while Milner stopped 17 at the other end. Vermont held Boston College to just five shots in the final 20 minutes but was out-shot 35-21 on the night. Both squads had six power power chances.
The Catamounts and Eagles wrap up their weekend series and the Hockey East regular season on Saturday (March 9) on "Senior Night" at 7:05 p.m. Alastair Ingram and Joe Gervais will call the action from Gutterson Fieldhouse on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.
NOTES: UVM will be making its seventh Hockey East playoff appearance in its eight years as a member of the league ... The Catamounts will either be the No. 7 or No. 8 seed next week in the quarterfinals ... Vermont is 5-2-3 in its last 10 home games against Boston College, dating back to 2007 ... The Catamounts have out-scored their opponents 18-4 while skating 5-on-5 over the last eight games ... McCarthy has 11 points in his last eight contests ... Walls, Polesello, and Paliotta each recorded multi-point games on Friday.