BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont fell hard to the New Hampshire Wildcats 5-2 Sunday night in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Five different Wildcats recorded goals and senior goalie Brian Foster made 28 saves in the decisive win.
“We’re playing as a team right now with a lot of confidence, playing well defensively,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “It’s a tough place to play. Obviously, they’re a good team. They’ve got a lot of skill and a lot of speed. We’re very pleased with the win.”
“I don’t think we made them earn their goals; I mean credit to them I think they played a great game,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “Good teams find a way to finish their opportunities, expose team weaknesses.”
Though the Catamounts took an early 1-0 lead in the game, UNH began to dominate the scoring soon after and never looked back.
Vermont also outshot UNH 30-23 in the game, but the Catamounts were unable to take advantage of the opportunities they had.
Vermont’s first goal came early in the first period at 2:21 when junior Jack Downing scored a power-play goal, shooting the puck to the back corner of the net to beat Foster on the glove side. Assists were credited to junior Justin Milo and senior Colin Vock.
The Wildcats tied things up at 12:51, just after Vermont had gotten back to even strength following a high sticking penalty on senior captain Brian Roloff. Freshman Greg Burke scored with a wrist shot, assisted by senior Bobby Butler and sophomore Mike Borisenok.
UNH added one more goal in the period at 18:44 when sophomore Blake Kessel slid a low wrister past senior goalie Mike Spillane, assisted by junior Paul Thompson and junior Phil DeSimone.
UNH increased their lead to 3-1 early in the second period when junior Greg Manz scored at 6:04, assisted by freshman Dalton Speelman and freshman Austin Block.
Senior Peter LeBlanc continued the scoring for the Wildcats very soon after at 7:32. Sophomore Stevie Moses assisted on the goal, increasing the lead to 4-1.
After LeBlanc’s goal was scored, Spillane was taken out of the game and sophomore goalie Rob Madore took over the net for UVM.
The Catamounts seemed to be getting some momentum back after the goaltender change, cutting the lead in half at 15:25 when Vock scored Vermont’s second power-play goal, assisted by Milo and sophomore Drew MacKenzie.
The momentum proved short-lived, as UNH added their fifth goal and the final goal of the game at 16:19 when sophomore Damon Kipp scored on Madore.
“Any time you score a goal, you’re looking for momentum and when they answered quickly like that, the goal was on the next shift, it’s pretty tough,” Vock said.
A scoreless third period followed Kipp’s goal, securing the 5-2 New Hampshire victory.
Both of Vermont’s goals came on the power play, which has been a struggling point for the team all season.
“Again, we’re stuck in this, can’t put it all together,” Sneddon said. “We don’t get great goaltending, we don’t play great team defense in our zone and yet offensive zone, neutral zone and special teams we’re probably the best we’ve played.
“We’ve failed to put together 60 minutes of complete hockey to date. “It’s been our power play for almost the entire year, our penalty kill. Those two things really took a positive turn for us tonight, but there were other areas that we didn’t put it all together.”