COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.– A pair of early power-play goals and a pair of late empty-net goals bookend a seven-goal surge as No. 12 and fourth-seeded Notre Dame upset fourth-ranked and top-seeded University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team, 7-3, on Friday night in the first of two regional first-round games of the NCAA West Regional at the Colorado Springs World Arena (CSWA).
UND advances to play the winner of the Michigan State/Colorado College match up (10 p.m. EST) in the regional finals on Saturday night at 10 p.m (EST). The Wildcats, who drop their third-straight first-round game in the NCAA tournament, closed out an impressive 2007-08 campaign 25-10-3. Notre Dame, which captured its first-ever win over UNH, improves to 25-15-4 and advances to the regional final.
Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) scored UNH's first two goals of the game, while his linemate James vanRiemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) matched a career-high with three assists.
The Wildcats got things started just over a minute into the game when Pollastrone scored off a rebound of a vanRiemsdyk shot at 1:04. The Irish responded with a power play goal just over a minute later as Ian Cole scored at 2:23 with assists from Ben Ryan and Mark Van Guilder. Pollastrone netted his second of the period at 5:41. vanRiemsdyk collected the pass from off a faceoff in the offensive zone and passed it back to Brad Flaishans (Glendale, Ariz.), who fired a one timer that deflected to an opportunitistic Pollastrone on the left side of the net. UND once again had an answer scoring the equalizer on the power play. Kyle Lawson scored the game-tyer with assists from Van Guilder and Ryan Thang. The teams went into the break tied at 2-2.
The Irish took their first lead of the game at 2:39 of the second when Christian Hanson scored off a rebound of a Stewart Carlin shot, Brock Sheehan was also credited with an assist on the go-ahead tally. UND extended its lead to 4-2 just as a 5-on-3 UNH opportunity had expired. The unassisted goal was scored by Dan Kissel at 9:52 of the second. The Wildcats cut it to 4-3, scoring on an extra-skater opportunity. Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) scored from the right point with assists from Flaishans and vanRiemsdyk at 13:09. UND held that one-goal advantage heading into the third.
Notre Dame extended its lead back to two goals just 23 seconds into the third when Thang scored an even-strength goal from Van Guilder to make it 5-3. A pair of late empty-net Irish goals by Kevin Deeth at 17:54 and Christian Hanson at 18:07 closed out scoring.
Jordan Pearce stopped 32 shots including 13 and 12, respectively, in the opening two stanzas to improve to 21-14-4. Senior goalie and Hobey Baker finalize closed out his storied career with 27 saves including 15 in the second frame. Regan closed out 2007-08 with a 23-7-1 mark, but will represent UNH at the Frozen Four Skills competition. Regan, who was recently named Hockey East Player of the Year and Walter Brown Award winner, will await word he was named to the Hobey "Hat Trick" narrowing the 10 finalists to three.