BURLINGTON, VT — Despite surging out to take the lead just seconds into the game, Vermont couldn’t hold on against New Hampshire as the Wildcats trampled the Catamounts 6-1 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
New Hampshire rebounded fiercely after dropping the first back-to-back losses of their season at Merrimack Feb. 11 and 12.
Senior Phil DeSimone scored twice for New Hampshire along with junior Stevie Moses, junior Mike Borisenok, freshman Kevin Goumas, and sophomore Connor Hardowa.
Senior assistant captain Jack Downing netted the only goal for Vermont.
“I didn’t feel like it was really a 6-1 hockey game. There’s times when a 6-1 game feels terrible, this one’s a tough loss but again a lot of positives to focus in on I think our guys will be real hungry for tomorrow night,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said.
Downing scored the first goal of the game at 33 seconds of the opening frame, sending a low shot into the net.
“It bounced on the short side, through him I believe, so it was not a good start … I think the team stayed with it and didn’t panic … the worst thing you want to do is come into Gutterson and have them score that quick and have the place start erupting which it did … I thought we got stronger as the game went on,” New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile said.
Soon after Downing’s goal, Goumas took control of the puck in the defensive zone and handed it off to Moses in the offensive end. Moses spun around and tried to get a shot in but he was unsuccessful.
The Wildcats did succeed at tying the game at one at 10:37. Senior Mike Sislo fed the puck to a waiting DeSimone who knocked the puck in.
New Hampshire added to their total at 14:13, when Moses scored with a low wrist shot.
The Wildcats continued to distance themselves from the Catamounts early in the second period when Borisenok scored at 1:05. Borisenok won a faceoff in the offensive zone and after a few other shots were saved, he knocked in a loose puck, bringing the score to 3-1.
Vermont freshman Arthur Griem was sent to the penalty box for a hooking penalty at 1:13 of the second. While Griem was off the ice, Downing took a shot from the right circle. The puck went high over the goal though and a short-handed goal was not to be for the Catamounts.
Vermont later had a brief 5-on-3 power-play opportunity when New Hampshire junior Damon Kipp was whistled for a tripping penalty at 9:37 and senior Paul Thompson joined Kipp in the box for roughing at 11:18.
During the power play, Vermont sophomore Sebastian Stalberg took a shot from the right circle but hit the chest of junior goalie Matt Di Girolamo instead of the back of the net.
When 5-on-3 became 5-on-4, Vermont had a few more shots on Di Girolamo but none of them broke through.
As the period was winding down, Vermont freshman Anthony DeCenzo sent a hard one-timer from the right circle, as he tried to spark some momentum back into the game for the Catamounts. Di Girolamo reached out to get his glove around the puck though and the Wildcats took their 3-1 lead into the third period.
Goumas wrapped the puck around the net and found an open space to slide it into at 12:49 of the third period, giving New Hampshire a 4-1 lead.
Vermont took a timeout with under three minutes left to play in the game. Following the timeout, junior goalie Rob Madore was pulled from the net, but adding an extra attacker to the ice didn’t stop DeSimone from knocking in an empty-net goal at 17:59.
This looked to be the final blow to the Catamounts but Hardowa managed to score another empty-netter at 19:26. This sealed the 6-1 victory for the Wildcats.