“Things are always better late than never” will be the lesson taken away by the Cats from this weekends series versus No. 9 Boston College.
The Catamounts have played three games against their conference rivals and defending National Champion Eagles this season, and while they have only led for seven minutes — the last seven minutes of Saturday’s game — they found a way to split the series.
Earlier this season UVM dropped a 3-2 decision in Boston in which the Cats never led and Friday night saw UVM have to overcome three one-goal deficits — including a goal with one second remaining on the clock by Brian Roloff — en route to a 3-3 tie.
After fighting back two previous times, the Cats found themselves down one goal with just four seconds remaining in the game.
Following a stoppage in play, UVM had a two-man advantage with their goalie on the bench and BC center Brian Gibbons in the penalty box and a faceoff in the left circle.
“Four seconds left, everyone was kind of scrambling a little bit heading into that draw,” Roloff said. “We just kind of threw everybody in front of the net.
“The plan was to draw it back to Petey [Lenes], which [Dean Strong] did. He was supposed to shoot it, but I just kind of dropped off to the side thinking that they see Petey up top there, they’re going to run out and try to block his shot, so he must have saw the same thing and slid it over to me.
“I caught the pass, figuring the goalie would try to slide across, so I just tried to throw it to the far post and luckily enough it just slid in,” Roloff said.
The goal was reviewed but eventually upheld with one second remaining on the clock. The teams went on to play a scoreless overtime period.
This was not the first goal off a faceoff in the game for the Cats. Earlier in the third, in an eerily similar play Strong won a faceoff in the left circle back to Lenes who fired a wrist shot past BC goalie, John Muse.
On Saturday night the No. 10 Cats could not parlay the momentum from previous game as they fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but found a way to fight back and snatch a late victory.
“I think we kinda thought that we were going to jump all over them again because we had momentum coming in from last night,” senior Corey Carlson said. “We kinda thought they were going to sit back, but they came out and they were flying. We played a really bad first period.”
After a stern talking to by Sneddon between periods, UVM came out, controlled the play and scored four unanswered goals in the final 40 minutes including a Carlson goal with 7:02 remaining in the third to give UVM their first lead against the Eagles this season.
The comeback would not have been possible if it was not for freshman goaltender Rob Madore who made 14 saves — some of them spectacular — in the first period, the same number of saves he made in three periods on Friday night.
“Rob [Madore] allowed us, single handedly, to get back into this hockey game,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “That game could have been 5-0 after the first period. Rob deserves a lot of credit for us being able to come back.
“I was impressed. To go against one of the best teams in the country and not play your best and find a way to win shows me we have a very solid team,” he said.
On top of Carlson’s tally, UVM got goals from Lenes, now has nine on the season, Jack Downing and Viktor Stalberg, who scored on Friday night as well and now leads the team with 10 goals.
After this weekend, the Cats have a record of 12-4-3 and 6-3-2 in Hockey East where they are currently in third place. Vermont travels to Boston to face conference leaders, No. 4 Northeastern, in a two game series this weekend.
Originally published in the Vermont Cynic.