BURLINGTON, Vt. - Junior forward Brittany Zuback scored with 2:48 left in the third overtime to give Vermont a 3-2 win over Maine in the Hockey East Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Gutterson Fieldhouse in the longest Hockey East women's game ever. With the win the Catamounts advance to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time in program history.
The Catamounts opened the scoring 3:52 into the opening frame. In the neutral zone Casey Leveillee won a puck battle and tipped the puck up to Victoria Andreakos. Andreakos skated in and fired a hard low wrist that was kicked out by Maine goaltender Meghann Treacy. Andreakos followed her own shot and backhanded it home for her fourth goal of the season against the Black Bears.
Vermont extended its lead to two goals at the 6:37 mark of the opening frame. Andreakos centered a pass from behind the net to Rachael Ade who one-timed a shot right on net. Again Treacy made the initial save but Ade got her own rebound and fired it in for her first career goal.
During the second period the Catamounts had to kill off 1:08 of a Maine two-player advantage. Vermont goaltender Roxanne Douville made four saves during the Black Bears power play to preserve the Catamounts two-goal advantage headed to the third period.
Vermont held its lead with a solid effort early in the third period holding the Black Bears without a shot for the first 8:39. Maine finally broke through with 9:04 left in regulation. Emilie Brigham corralled a loose puck in the slot and beat Douville with a quick wrist shot through traffic to make it a one-goal game.
The Black Bears kept the pressure on and equalized with 3:16 left in regulation. Brittney Huneke fired a wrist shot from the point that Hailey Browne deflected in the slot past Douville for her third goal of the season.
Neither team could score the game-winner in the final 3:16 and this game headed to overtime. The Black Bears maintained their momentum from the comeback in the first overtime period. Maine outshot Vermont 11-5 in the extra frame including two chances on a power play but they could not solve Douville.
The second overtime swung the other way with the Catamounts holding the advantage in possession and chances. Vermont outshot Maine 15-7 in the second additional period but they came closest to scoring on a chance that wasn't a shot. Klara Myren redirected a Kellie Dineen shot in the slot that rang off the post and back out. The teams headed to a third overtime with the goalies having made a combined 38 saves in the first two overtime sessions.
During the third overtime this game surpassed Vermont's 2001 ECAC Division III quarterfinal against Colgate, which lasted 106:22, as the longest Vermont hockey game ever, men's or women's.
Zuback ended the marathon quarterfinal at the 117:12 mark. Amanda Pelkey took a stretch-pass from Ashley Salerno and cut down the Maine wing heading towards the front of the net on her backhand. A Maine defender cut her off but she centered the puck forward to Zuback who roofed the game-winner in front of Treacy and two Maine defenders.
Zuback ended the sixth longest Division I women's game of all-time and the longest in Hockey East history as Vermont picked up the program's first-ever playoff win.
"Incredibly gritty effort, a lot of heart, we ran into a bad stretch obviously in the third period to give up the lead and it took us the first overtime to get our bearings again," said head coach Jim Plumer. "We played ferocious defense, we were not going to let them have a clean shot in front of our net in overtime. Rox was great when she needed to be and we seemed to gain momentum as we went along. Immense credit to Maine what those coaches have done with that program in the last year is incredible."
The Catamounts will face the sixth-ranked Boston College Eagles in the Hockey East Semifinals Saturday afternoon (1:30 p.m.) at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center in Hyannis, Mass.
NOTES: Coach Plumer won the 2007 NESCAC title with Amherst at Middlebury in a triple overtime game ... The Catamounts have won seven straight Hockey East games, the best streak in program history ... Roxanne Douville's 50 saves are third most by a goaltender in a single-game in Hockey East tournament history