Saturday night, Boston College Hockey blew a 2-0 lead to the Vermont Catamounts, ultimately losing 4-2 in a game that was arguably one of their least impressive efforts of the season. It forced a decisive Game 3 to determine who would be the fourth team in the Hockey East semifinals next weekend at the TD
Sunday, BC once again struggled handling the Vermont Catamounts and were once again largely outworked for the vast majority of the game. But fortunately, the college hockey gods smiled upon the Eagles as two timely goals -- one in regulation to tie, and one in overtime -- earned Boston College a 4-3 win and a trip down the green line to the TD Garden for Hockey East championship weekend.
Boston College Goal #1: 4:02 of the 1st period
Zach Sanford (Adam Gilmour, Alex Tuch)
BC 1, UVM 0
Boston College didn't come out with nearly as impressive a start as they did on Saturday, but BC did get on the board first.
This was a beauty and gave you the feeling like BC might actually have an easy go of it. Teddy Doherty, back on defense at the start of the game, chases down a loose puck and sends a wild 360-spin-o-rama pass into the slot where Sanford is waiting.
Somehow the puck winds up on Sanford's backhand, and he puts a beautiful finish on it to put BC in front.
Vermont Goal #1: 8:51 of the 1st period
Craig Puffer (Rob Hamilton, Brady Shaw)
BC 1, UVM 1
The good feels lasted even shorter than they did on Saturday. Instead of having a 2 goal lead to play with, BC gives up the equalizer just a couple minutes later.
This play should be harmless. Vermont's Rob Hamilton doesn't even look like he's aiming this puck on net, but Chris Calnan's stick redirects it softly in the direction of Demko.
It's really just bad luck. Craig Puffer is on the puck's route to the net, and he puts a stick on the puck as it goes by, redirecting it a second time and threading the needle through Demko into the net to tie the game.
The first period was a pretty good litmus test for the rest of the game. Not only could BC not put Vermont away; for the most part, they couldn't even outplay them.
Boston College Goal #2: 1:56 of the 2nd period
Colin White (JD Dudek, Steve Santini)
BC 2, UVM 1
To the second period we went. Finally, BC managed to get something going through Vermont's trap on this play. JD Dudek has Colin White streaking in on a 2-on-2 and miraculously feeds a pass through both Vermont defenders over to White.
White is just behind his man, and the UVM defender has a pretty funny reaction to it all. Seeing the pass on its way over to White, he opts to just turn around and crunch White in the back with a cross check, sending White crashing into the boards... but not before White manages to backhand the one timer past Packy Munson.
JD Dudek sure earned his way onto that line with Colin White. This isn't the last we would see of him.
Vermont Goal #2: 16:28 of the 2nd period
Conor O'Neil (Craig Puffer, Brady Shaw)
BC 2, UVM 2
But the frustrations continue. As they did for a lot of the game, the Eagles were chasing Vermont and letting the game get away from them.
How do you even describe this sequence? It's just BC chasing. Vermont has the puck and throws it toward Demko. Then Vermont gets to the puck first, and BC is chasing. Vermont throws it on net again and BC is still chasing. Finally the third shot goes in and BC is chasing themselves back to the bench for a line change.
That might have been the worst sequence of the game for BC and it gave everybody pretty bad vibes going into the third period.
Vermont Goal #3: 4:37 of the 3rd period
Conor O'Neil (Brady Shaw, Yvan Pattyn)
UVM 3, BC 2
If this article sounds depressing, that's because the whole game was pretty depressing. For some reason known only to the BC and Vermont hockey players, the Eagles were just getting constantly outworked for huge stretches of the game.
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, after the poor ending to Saturday's game continued through almost the entire game on Sunday, it started to feel like the beginning of the end of the 2015-2016 hockey season.
This time it was a BC turnover that led to Vermont's first goal of the nice. The BC skater behind the net nonchalantly tossed the puck up the boards in a halfhearted attempt to start a breakout or clear the zone, which did neither and put the puck on the stick of a green jersey.
The green jersey send the puck into traffic toward Demko, and after the puck bounced around briefly, O'Neil scored on a rebound to give BC fans quite the sense of deja vu.
3-2 lead for Vermont in the third period, just like Saturday, but this time with its tournament life on the line. But hockey's a funny game.
Boston College Goal #3: 10:30 of the 3rd period
JD Dudek (Casey Fitzgerald, Ryan Fitzgerald)
BC 3, UVM 3
This goal was completely and utterly against the run of play.
Twitter was abuzz with freakouts about how much the Eagles were getting outworked, and suddenly Dudek and the Fitzgerald Brothers put together a goal out of nowhere.
Watch Ryan Fitzgerald on this whole play, set up at the bottom of the faceoff circle with the puck. He waits an eternity on this play while traffic sets up in front of Munson. Vermont's Rob Hamilton falls down trying to keep Fitzgerald The Elder from having an open lane to the net and goes conservative once he sees Fitzgerald holding rather than firing.
While all this is happening, Casey Fitzgerald sets up shop at the blue line, and big brother finds him with a pass well-placed for a one timer into all the traffic. JD Dudek finds an exceptionally good time to get a deflection for his first goal, and incredibly, BC has new life.
To overtime we would go. Vermont nearly scored the winning goal a few minutes in, but the puck crept along the goal line and a brief review confirmed that the puck never fully crossed the line. Vermont controlled play in overtime, but once again, BC just found a way.
Boston College Goal #4 (GWG): 9:47 of Overtime
Ryan Fitzgerald (Adam Gilmour, Casey Fitzgerald)
BC 4, UVM 3 (OT) -- FINAL
Finally, Vermont left someone unaccounted for.
Adam Gilmour comes in along the boards and is kept out of harm's way, but Ryan Fitzgerald curling in along the blue line is uncovered for the most part by the Catamounts. Gilmour finds him right at the top of the slot -- one of the few times BC even managed to get the puck there on their own stick in the whole game -- and Fitzgerald fired away for the game winner.
Hockey's a funny game, isn't it?
BC took Game 3 and the series, advancing to the TD Garden for the first time in three years for the Hockey East semifinals. The Eagles will face Northeastern at 8pm on Friday, with the winner playing for some hardware Saturday evening. Both games will be on NESN in New England, with NBC Sports broadcasting the game nationally.
Time for BC to add another trophy to the pile.