Freshman forward Brayden Irwin nets game-winner for Catamounts.
Freshman forward Brayden Irwin scored the game-winning goal for Vermont.
BOSTON - The No. 8 Boston University men's ice hockey team fell to No. 19 Vermont, 3-2, in the Hockey East quarterfinal opener on Thursday evening at Agganis Arena. The third-seeded Terriers got on the board first, but led for only a minute before the sixth-seeded Catamounts took control of the game to earn their first-ever win in the Hockey East playoffs. Sophomore John McCarthy and senior Kenny Roche each scored for the Terriers, who fall to 18-8-9 overall. Vermont improves to 18-14-5 with the victory.
The Catamounts were paced by sophomore Peter Lenes, who tallied a goal and an assist. Fellow sophomore Dean Strong assisted on the visitors' first two goals. Junior Mark Lutz and freshman Brayden Irwin also scored for Vermont.
The game featured two of the top three defensive units in the country, but each team found the back of the net twice before the first period ended. BU got on the board first just 2:19 into the game, but the Catamounts scored on two of their first four shots to take a 2-1 lead at the 9:24 mark.
The Terriers tied up the game on a goal by Roche with 5:28 left in the first, but the visitors scored the game winner just 1:52 into the second and held on the rest of the way.
Senior goaltender John Curry, who allowed just five goals during the Terriers' run to last year's Hockey East title, made 24 saves, while junior Joe Fallon earned the win in goal for the Catamounts, making 20 stops.
McCarthy got the Terriers on the board just 2:19 into the contest when he backhanded a shot past Fallon just outside the crease on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Freshman Eric Gryba assisted on the play.
Just 59 seconds later, Lutz knocked in a shot near the far post after Lenes redirected a centering pass from Strong. The Catamounts took their first lead just over six minutes later when Strong raced to a puck behind the goal before setting up a perfect look from the slot for Lenes.
Roche capped a high-scoring first period when he knocked in a rebound right in front of the crease with assists going to juniors Bryan Ewing and Pete MacArthur.
The Catamounts controlled the run of play in the early stages of the second, putting three shots on goal before notching the game winner just 1:52 into the period. Irwin backhanded a sharp-angled shot from the right side above Curry's glove on an assist from freshman Victor Stalberg.
Curry stopped the final 15 shots he faced, but the Terriers were unable to close the deficit. The best opportunity for an equalizer came with just under seven minutes left in regulation, but Fallon robbed junior Dan McGoff on the doorstep with an impressive glove save.
BU has now dropped three straight games for the first time in over 27 months, as the last such stretch occurred on Nov. 23, 26 and 27, 2004.
The two teams will continue the best-of-three series on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.