DURHAM, N.H. - Three second-period goals helped lift the University of Vermont to a 4-3 win over the third-ranked University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team on Saturday night at Whittemore Center. The loss snapped a 12-game unbeaten streak and hands the Wildcats their first Hockey East loss since Dec. 8, 2007. UNH, which garnered the top seed in the upcoming Hockey East tournament, will play eighth-seeded Massachusetts in a best-of-three tournament starting on Friday, March 14 at Whittemore Center.
UNH falls to 23-8-3, 19-5-3 in Hockey East. Vermont improves to 14-13-7, 13-9-5 in the league.
Down 3-2 to open the third, UNH scored the equalizer as Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) scored from the high slot at 1:06 in the period. Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.) had an assist on the goal. Just four minutes later, however, Vermont potted the game winner as Dan Lawson scored an unassisted goal off an unsuccessful clear attempt at 5:07 in the third. The goal was Lawson's second of the night and just the fourth of his career.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, Vermont started its three-goal attack when Victor Stalberg tallied the equalizer at 12:01 in the period with assists from Chris Atkinson and Brayden Irwin. The Catamounts took their first lead of the game at 13:43 when Lawson scored the first of his two goals at 13:43. The goal was aided by Atkinson and Colin Vock. Vermont's third goal came on the power play as Peter Lenes scored at 15:49 with assists from Dean Strong and Vock. UNH cut into the lead when Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) netted a four-on-three goal at 18:51. The extra-skater tally was aided by classmates Craig Switzer (Peachland, B.C.) and Fornataro. UNH got things started at 2:07 in the first when Thomas Fortney (Webster Grove, Mo.) scored his first goal of the year after Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) made a pass from the defensive blue line to Brad Flaishans (Glendale, Az.). Flaishans then made an across the ice pass to Fortney who shot a one timer past Joe Fallon at 2:07.
Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) saw his 11-game unbeaten streak come to an end as he stopped 20 shots including 12 in the first period. Regan moves to 21-6-1. Vermont's Joe Fallon turned away 21 shots including 10 in the final period as he improves to 12-11-5.
Prior to the start of the game, the program honored its six-player senior class in its annual "Senior Night" celebration. Switzer, Flaishans, Fornataro, Radja, Regan and Stuart Fricke (St. Paul, Minn.) were honored for their contributions to the program over the past four years.
The Wildcats and Minutemen will get things started in their best-of-three quarterfinal series on Friday, March 14. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center. The game will be broadcast on the UNH Sports Network, while B2Networks will video streaming games. For links to live audio, live video, live stats and tickets please log onto www.unhwildcats.com.