DURHAM, N.H. - Senior Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) and junior Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) each tallied two goals, and sophomore Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) recorded a career-high three points to lead the sixth-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s ice hockey team to a 5-3 win over fourth-ranked Colorado College Friday night in the Wildcats’ home opener at the Whittemore Center.
The come-from-behind win in front of a sellout crowd of 6,501 improves the Wildcats’ record to 2-0-0, including 1-0-0 in Hockey East, while the Tigers’ record stands at 2-1-0 overall, and 2-0-0 in conference.
With 2:31 remaining in the third period and the score tied at three, Pollastrone threw the puck toward the net as he was knocked off balance in front of the goal. The puck looked to go just inside the left post, but ricocheted back out on to the ice. After further review by the referee, the goal stood and the Wildcats had a 4-3 advantage. Sophomore Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) and Butler were credited with assists on the play.
The second line had struck nearly eight minutes earlier when Pollastrone, whose pair of goals matched a career high, scored his first goal of the game, off assists from Butler and LeBlanc, to gain the equalizer for the Wildcats.
UNH, which outshot CC 37-24, trailed 2-0 when Butler got the ‘Cats on the board at 9:48 in the opening period, taking a pass in the right circle from senior defenseman Brad Flashains (Glendale, Ariz.), and depositing it just inside the left post. Senior Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) also received an assist on the play.
The three points were the most Butler had ever scored in one game, beating his previous record of two that he accomplished Nov. 10, 2006 versus Boston University. The Tigers regained their two-goal advantage when they beat Wildcat goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) for the third time in first frame with 4:50 remaining.
Fornataro pulled the ‘Cats to within one just 15 seconds into the second period when he took a touch pass from freshman James vanRiemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) and buried the puck over the left shoulder of Tiger goalie Drew O’Connell. Flashains started the sequence when he scooped up the puck off a CC turnover and moved it ahead to vanRiemsdyk.
Fornataro added an empty netter with 10 seconds remaining to seal the win for New Hampshire.
Regan made 21 saves for the Wildcats, including 13 in the second period, while O’Connell stopped 32 shots for the Tigers.
The Wildcats and Tigers return to the ice Saturday, Oct. 27 for the final game of the two-game set. The puck drops at the Whittemore Center at 7 p.m.