DURHAM, N.H. — New Hampshire senior Andrew Leach scored the game-winning goal at 1:36 of the third period as the 15th-ranked Wildcats defeated fourth-ranked Vermont 2-1 in front of a crowd of 6,163 at the Whittemore Center. It was the fourth time in five defeats this season the Catamounts have lost by the score of 2-1. Vermont falls to 13-5-1 overall and 5-4-1 in Hockey East while UNH improves to 10-7-3 (8-3-2, Hockey East).
“We gave up two 2-on-1′s which we typically don’t do,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “Against an opportunistic team that is very good at finishing those opportunities, we certainly paid dearly for those mistakes tonight.”
“We had some moments where we created some offense off the cycle in their zone but for the most part we really didn’t generate much tonight. It’s a product of us not playing well and them playing very well.”
The Wildcats took a 1-0 at 11:02 of the first period when sophomore Matt Fornataro notched his fourth goal of the season beating Vermont goalie Joe Fallon (Bemidji, Minn.) glove side on a 2-on-1. Fallon got a piece of the shot but wasn’t able to hang on as the puck went in the net ending his scoreless streak at 135 minutes and 25 seconds after posting back-to-back shutouts last weekend. The stretch was 29 seconds shy of his career best scoreless streak established last February.
Vermont tied the game at one just over a minute into the second period on a power-play goal by Torrey Mitchell. The sophomore took the face-off in the right circle and then gained control of the puck in the near corner. Making a great individual move Mitchell skated inside the slot and fired a wrist shot top shelf past UNH sophomore goalie Kevin Regan to tie the game. It was his eighth goal of the season, tying him for the team lead. Mitchell also has a team-high 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists) this season.
At 1:36 of the final period, New Hampshire took the lead for good when Leach tallied his second goal of the year on a 2-on-1 to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
With 55 seconds remaining the Catamounts pulled Fallon from net and had a late flurry of shots but were unable to tie the game.
For just the second time this season the Catamounts were out shot 29-28 and Regan made 27 saves for the Wildcats. Fallon countered with 27 stops, the first time he has had more than 25 saves in a game this season. It marked the 14th time in his career he has had more than 25 stops in a game.
The Catamounts finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play while the Wildcats were 0-for-1.
Vermont takes on New Hampshire again on Saturday at 7:00pm at the Whittemore Center.