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College Hockey:
Wildcats Shut Out Merrimack 5-0

— Second-ranked New Hampshire remained undefeated during the month of November after shutting out Merrimack 5-0 on Tuesday night at the Whittemore center.

Junior goaltender Kevin Regan earned his fourth career shutout, while Craig Switzer and Thomas Fortney each collected two assists on the night.

The scoring didn’t start until the 16:07 mark of the first period after Trevor Smith fed Jerry Pollastrone an across the crease pass and Pollastrone was able to sneak it past freshmen goaltender Andrew Braithwaite.

The ‘Cats were able to collect two quick goals in the second period, with one coming from the power play. Pollastrone and Merrimack’s Chris Kane were in box after receiving a two minute penalty for hitting after the whistle. Defensemen Brock Wilson was then called for a contact to the head roughing penalty at the 8:54 mark to give UNH a man advantage.

They were able to take advantage of the call when defensemen Craig Switzer and Brad Flaishans set up Brett Hemingway to score his fourth goal of the season. Just 14 seconds later, Wildcat Captain Josh Ciocco would net his third goal of the season to make it a 3-0 lead for UNH. Switzer would earn his second assist of the night, and Thomas Fortney his first on the goal by Ciocco.

At the end of the second period, the shot margin was 22 for UNH, 18 for Merrimack. The Warriors still had a chance for a comeback. The ‘Cats were just too much for the Warriors in the third period as they would go onto to score two shorthanded goals in the period.

UNH’s Ciocco received two minutes in the box after an interference call at 9:15 of the third. Fortney would pass the puck to freshmen Bobby Butler who would then beat Braithwaite to put the Wildcats on top 4-0.

Again in the third, the Warriors were put on the power play when Switzer was put in the box for a tripping call. Sophomore Joe Charlebois passed the puck to Shawn Vinz who would then top of the scoring for UNH after he beat Braithwaite to earn his second goal of the season.

“I thought we played pretty well for 35 out of the first 40 minutes. Made some freshman mistakes; you’re playing the number-two team in the country. A team that is as good offensively as UNH, you make mistakes like that and it ends up in the back of the net,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy.

UNH head coach Dick Umile said his team had to work for the win. “The beginning of the game they (Merrimack) made it tough. “They played a very trapping forecheck in the offensive zone and the center zone to make it difficult and the guys I thought they handled that well. And as the game went on, scoring a couple goals helps loosen that up and we played a good solid sixty minutes.

“Mark does a good job with his team. Obviously, there well coached and they make it tough you have to earn everything you get.”

Braithwaite would end the night with 37 saves, and Regan had 26. Merrimack fell to 1-10-1 for the season and 1-6-1 in league play. UNH extended their unbeaten streak to nine games improving their record to 10-2-1 on the season, and an 8-1-1 record in Hockey East. UNH hosts Vermont for a Sunday afternoon game, while Merrimack will face Northeastern Friday night.

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