By: Dan Shulman
Prior to the 2014-15 season, Liam Coughlin, a native of South Boston, returned to junior hockey after his endeavors to play at Boston University were dashed. His dream of playing at the collegiate level would have to wait another year.
Luckily, Coughlin wouldn’t have to search too far for a new home, as he signed to play at the University of Vermont for 2015-16.
After going through his first 12 games in the NCAA without finding the back of the net, Coughlin took the ice on Friday night in his hometown against Boston University.
After a snazzy between-the-legs pass to set up the Catamounts game-winning goal, it looked as if scoring his first collegiate goal would have to wait another night.
But in the dying seconds, it happened.
“Four seconds left…Puskarich…Coughlin, and Coughlin puts it in the empty net.”
These words, uttered by BU play-by-play announcer Bernie Corbett, described the moment which Coughlin had been waiting for his entire life.
“I hadn’t scored all year,” said Coughlin. “To have [my first goal] here in Boston, with my family here, was a dream come true. It was empty net but I’ll take it. To get my first goal was a great experience and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”
Liam Coughlin is no stranger to playing on the big stage in Boston. A former member of the storied Catholic Memorial high school hockey team, the South Boston native attributes much of his success in junior and college hockey to his days at CM.
“[Catholic Memorial] Coach Hanson got me ready for juniors and I stood out in juniors,” said Coughlin. “That helped me get ready for college and right now it’s working out. I’m having a lot of fun and this is my favorite thing to do right now.”
Vermont Head Coach Kevin Sneddon was happy to see Coughlin finally get his first goal.
“He’s had a ton of scoring chances that just haven’t gone in for him,” said Sneddon. “I’m hoping that play is at least the monkey off the back for him.
“He made a great play to set up the winning goal. I think aside from the offense, he played very well on both sides of the puck, and he keeps getting better and better every game for us.”
With the Vermont freshman finally adding a collegiate goal to his impressive repertoire, Coughlin, denizen on the Catamounts’ top forward line, looks to translate this momentous weekend into career success.
“I just have to keep working and hopefully it keeps going well,” said Coughlin. “I’m playing with two great players in Brendan Bradley and Mario Puskarich, and there helping me out. It’s just unbelievable.”