One of the benefits of playing games on consecutive nights against the same opponent is if you lose the first one, you have another shot right away.
On Saturday at Agganis Arena, No. 17 Vermont rebounded from a Friday night defeat to batter Boston University, 6-2, and split the season series.
The Catamounts (13-9-3, 5-7-0 Hockey East) won the majority of the battles along the boards, outraced the Terriers to pucks throughout the contest, and added a physical element that the home team couldn’t counter.
“I was very pleased with our team’s effort tonight,’’ said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “I think the difference tonight was we sprinted to spots, we used our speed, and we played physical in every facet of the game. It was a great win for us. [BU coach David Quinn’s] team is working as hard as it possibly can and tonight we probably wore them down a little bit.’’
UVM grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period, was ahead, 3-1, after two, and never let up.
“[A strong start] was huge,’’ said Sneddon. “We kind of sensed [Friday] late, we brought a lot of intensity in the third period and we kind of sensed they were getting tired. That is to be expected.
“Quinny wasn’t able to roll four lines or all six defensemen, so I think with a short turnaround, we felt getting off to a good start and pressuring them right away was important and I think it showed a little bit.’’
Freshman left wing Brendan Bradley kicked off the Catamounts’ offense at 3:18 of the first period. He skated left to right behind the BU net and then into the bottom of the right circle, where he roofed a shot over sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire (26 saves).
Senior center Chris McCarthy made it 2-0 at 17:04 when he snapped a shot from the left circle past Maguire stick side.
Sophomore right wing Danny O’Regan cut BU’s deficit in half at 9:03 of the second on a spectacular second-chance move. He skated the puck into the right circle and tried to make a pass across the slot but a diving defenseman took away that option. As O’Regan grew close to running out of real estate, he did a spin-o-rama and backhanded a shot past freshman netminder Mike Santaguida (16 saves).
But the Catamounts restored the two-goal lead at 15:38 when McCarthy potted his second of the night. He took a long lead pass from junior center Jake Fallon and broke in alone on Maguire, beating him for a shorthanded tally.
At 2:21 of the third, Vermont made it a 4-1 game on freshman right wing Brady Shaw’s third goal of the season. The Catamounts won a battle along the right-wing boards and Shaw grabbed the puck, skated to the top of the crease, and tucked a shot past Maguire.
BU (8-14-2, 3-8-1) got one back at 8:58 when freshman right wing Kevin Duane cashed in on a backhanded wraparound at the right post.
Senior left wing H.T. Lenz added Vermont’s fifth goal at 13:39. Junior right wing Colin Markison made it 6-2 at 16:14, at which time Quinn lifted Maguire in favor of senior Anthony Moccia, who saw his first career action and earned an enthusiastic ovation from the 4,948 in attendance when he skated on to the ice, and another when he made his lone save.
Because of their lack of depth, the Terriers looked gassed, particularly in the third.
“I thought Vermont really set the pace early and we weren’t able to match it,’’ said Quinn. “I thought our power play [0 for 6] really hurt us. Not only did we not score, we didn’t really control the play much.
“We play our best players so many minutes on Friday night, there might be a correlation to what’s happening on Saturday night. Our depth isn’t one of our strengths right now. That’s the situation we’re in and we have to find a way to play a little more simplistic on a Saturday night.’’