BURLINGTON, Vt. — Six New Hampshire skaters recorded multiple-point games as the No. 4 Wildcats dismantled No. 15 Vermont, 7-1, Friday at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Trevor Smith led the UNH attack with two goals and an assist in a four-goal second period, while Brett Hemingway also added a pair in that period.
The Wildcats are now 9-0-0 on the road this season after solving UVM — the best scoring defense in the nation coming into the evening (1.61 goals per game).
UNH (15-3-1, 11-1-1 Hockey East) controlled the game from the start and ran listless Vermont (11-7-1, 6-3-1) out of its own building.
“We played as well as we’ve played,” said UNH coach Dick Umile. “I was really pleased with the overall effort of our team tonight. I thought we handled the puck well, we got a couple of goals early, and I though that was important. We had an exceptional game tonight.”
The Wildcats, it seemed, were able to do anything they wanted with the puck, and as a result, held a 3-1 advantage through the first period.
The fourth line of Peter Leblanc centering Danny Rossman and Shawn Vinz opened the scoring at 5:20. Vinz tapped it in from low on the left. Vinz’s third goal of the year got the Wildcats off and running.
Just over two minutes later, Jerry Pollastrone made it 2-0. Walking out of the left-wing corner, Pollastrone fired a shot that glanced off UVM’s Torrey Mitchell, sneaking past Joe Fallon short side.
UNH stretched its lead to three on a long lead pass through center from Thomas Fortney. Greg Collins caught the feed, beating Fallon high glove-side for a shorthanded marker. Chris Murray also assisted on Collins’ first of the season, which chased the Catamount netminder from the game
Vermont answered on the same power play at 12:01, as Colin Vock converted from the slot for his sixth of the year. It was possibly the only bright spot for the hosts on the evening.
The middle period was more of the same, as the floodgates opened for UNH. The Wildcats, who came into the game averaging 4.28 goals per game, tallied another four in the second.
UNH leading scorer Smith restored his team’s three-goal advantage on the power play at 5:44. Smith beat Vermont freshman goaltender Mike Spillane glove side on a terrific shot for his first of two in the period.
Hemingway made it 6-1 at 8:01 from the right circle for his first of two in the period as well.
Smith got his 13th of the year at 18:30 on the power play, and Hemingway rounded out the scoring in the period and game :51 later for the final margin.
Afterwards, UVM coach Kevin Sneddon didn’t hold back.
“Certainly, you could say we were awful from the net out tonight,” said Sneddon. “You look down our list, we just didn’t have a player that played well. When you’re playing against one of the best teams in the country in your own building, we expect more as a staff. We were really disappointed in our leadership, we were really disappointed in the way we started the game, and certainly the way we finished the game.”
Fallon reentered the game for the third and made six saves for a total of 10 in 30:56 of action. Spillane had 12 stops, while Kevin Regan got the win, combining with Brian Foster for 10 stops.
The UNH power play went 2-for-9 against the nation’s top penalty-kill. Vermont was 1-for-4 with the extra man.
“We were just playing ourselves tonight … and we lost; we lost to two teams tonight. We lost our identity. We’re never going to beat UNH going toe-to-toe with them offensively — we’re not that gifted,” said Sneddon, referring to his team’s defensive style.
“We gave UNH an awful lot tonight, they really stuck it to us. … I don’t know if we had Patrick Roy in net that we could have beat them.”
The same two teams close the season series Saturday at 7 p.m.