CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The Vermont men's hockey team scored three power play goals, all in the second period, as they defeated #18 Boston College 3-2 Saturday night in Hockey East action from Kelley Rink. Graduate goaltender Oskar Autio made 26 saves for the Catamounts Saturday earning his first win for Vermont. With the win Vermont improved to 8-13-3 this season, with their five-point weekend at BC they are now one point shy of an eighth-place tie with UMass and Maine.
"This was a considerable accomplishment this weekend for the team," Head Coach Todd Woodcroft said. "We took some big steps and got way closer to our playoff hockey goals. Tonight, all 21 players contributed. Every one. Oskar Autio who has deserved a win in multiple games was Gibraltar for us tonight. Will Zapernick seemed to bully the puck every shift he had, he looked like an NHL player with many NHL scouts and GM's in the building. Our PP scored three times and our PK was good. This was a weekend we will remember for a long time, but tomorrow it is back to work but maybe with a smile."
HOW IT HAPPENED
- For the second straight contest the Eagles opened the scoring with an early power play tally. 1:25 into the first Boston College's Nikita Nesterenko rifled a wrist shot to the top corner for his fifth goal of the season. Cam Burke and Eamon Powell were credited with assists on the play.
- Vermont equalized with their own man advantage 56 seconds into the second period after BC's Lukas Gustafsson received a penalty for hitting after the whistle at the conclusion of the first. Eric Gotz fed a cross-ice pass to Andrei Buyalsky and he one-timed a shot past BC's Mitch Benson for his third goal of the season. Will Zapernick was credited with the secondary assist on the play.
- At the 6:50 mark of the second period Boston College's Colby Ambrosio reestablished the Eagles one-goal edge. Nesterenko fed a pass to Ambrosio that split the UVM defense and Ambrosio skated in alone on Autio. Ambrosio used a backhand to forehand move before slipping his eighth goal of the season home.
- Less than three minutes later Zapernick tied things up again with another power play tally. From just outside the crease Isak Walther passed into the slot to Joel Määttä, Määttä one-touched the puck further back to Zapernick at the top of the circle. Zapernick gathered the puck and snapped a shot over Benson's shoulder and just under the crossbar for his fourth goal of the season.
- Zapernick scored the game-winner from the opposite circle on the power play with 5:56 left in the middle frame. This time Buyalsky passed out to Gotz at the point and he setup Zapernick for a one-timer from the top of the circle. Through traffic Benson never saw the puck and it found the back of the net.
- The Eagles received two contact to the head five minute misconducts in the third period which helped Vermont prevent a BC comeback effort. In the final frame Autio made seven saves to seal UVM's first Hockey East road win of the campaign.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- This was the Catamounts best two-game regular season weekend in program history at Boston College. It was the just the second time UVM has been undefeated at BC in a two-game set, in 2017 UVM left Kelley Rink with two ties.
- In its last 12 games Vermont's power play has scored 12 times. Over that stretch UVM is 12-for-51, good for 23.5%.
- Vermont is undefeated this season when scoring two or more power play goals.
- Tonight, was the second time in the Coach Woodcroft era UVM scored three power play goals in a game. The first time, October 29, 2021 in a 5-4 overtime win over Boston College.
- This evening was Will Zapernick's fourth career multi-point game. UVM is undefeated in those contests. Tonight was his first two-goal game.
- With tonight's 3-2 decision, Community Bank N.A. will donate $225 to Special Olympics Vermont. Community Bank, N.A. donates $75 per goal to Special Olympics Vermont for every goal the men's and women's team scores this season.
- With tonight's win, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate $100 to King Street Youth Center, as part of the Cats Win, Community Wins initiative. Since the campaigns inauguration in 2017, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group has donated over $80,000 to local non-profits.
The Catamounts return home next weekend to host #11 Merrimack in a two-game Hockey East series. Friday, January 27 will be Dr. Power game night and the teams will faceoff at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday it is the annual Green Out the Gut presented by Casella Waste Management. Again, puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Like all Hockey East contests the matchups with the Warriors will air on ESPN+. Both games will also be available on a pay-per-view basis internationally at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/hockeyeast. Subscriptions to the service are available for $9.99 USD per month or $4.99 USD for individual games.