BURLINGTON, Vt. - No. 8 New Hampshire used three unanswered goals in a 10-minute, 28-second span to skate past Vermont 6-1, in Hockey East action in a game televised on CBS College Sports at Gutterson Fieldhouse Friday night.
"We just didn't have the finishes," said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. "They made us pay for every mistake we made and on the flipside we didn't make them pay for theirs."
The Wildcats second line of Kevin Goumas (1g, 2a), Stevie Moses (1g, 2a) and Mike Borisenok (1g, 1a) combined for eight points, while Phil DeSimone had an even-strength and an empty net goal to lead the UNH attack.
Rob Madore finished the night with 29 saves in net for the Catamounts who fall to 7-17-5 (5-13-4 HEA) with the loss, while Matt DiGirolamo had 21 stops in between the pipes for the Wildcats who improve to 18-7-4 (16-4-2 HEA), securing home-ice advantage for the Hockey East Quarterfinals.
Jack Downing sent the crowd in to a frenzy 33 seconds into the contest when he scored his team leading 12th goal of the season. Downing crossed the blue line on the right side and tossed a low shot on goal that eluded DiGirolamo five-hole to give the Catamounts the early 1-0 lead. Josh Burrows and Drew MacKenzie aided the play.
The Wildcats struck back at 10:37 of the opening period when Mike Sislo found DeSimone camped out in front of the goalmouth unmarked. Sislo, from below the goal line threw a centering feed to his line mate who finished the play. Paul Thompson also assisted on the tying goal.
Moses gave UNH a one-goal lead when he split a pair of Catamount defenders and sent a quick wrist shot low to the left post that beat Madore at 14:13 of the first frame. Goumas and Brett Kostolansky were each credited with an assist.
The Wildcats struck again 1:05 into the second stanza when Mike Borisenok was able to stuff home a loose puck in front of the net that the Catamount defense could not clear. Borisenok won a faceoff in the Vermont zone and UNH had a couple of chances that Madore kept out of the net until the second-line center finally muscled the puck home. Moses and Goumas each recorded assists on the goal.
Goumas added a late wrap-around goal at 12:49 of the final period to squelch any hopes of a late Catamount comeback. Moses and Borisenok added helpers on the play.
With the Catamounts desperate for offense, Madore was pulled from the net on two occasions late in the game as DeSimone and Connor Hardowa each converted empty-netters for the Wildcats.
"I didn't feel like it was really a 6-1 hockey game," said Sneddon. "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 returns to action tomorrow night for the regular season-series finale with No. 8 New Hampshire at Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7:05 p.m. The game will be televised on WCAXtra with Jack Healy and Mike McCune calling the action. WCAXtra is located over-the-air on Digital 3.2, Comcast 168, Burlington Telecom 303, Charter 295 and Time Warner 165
Tomorrow afternoon the men's hockey team will be hosting an alumni game that will begin at 12 p.m. and will be held at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Alumni who are interested in participating or would like more information can contact the Victory Club at (802) 656-0956 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTES: Prior to tonights contest the men's hockey team presented a locker and jersey to Justin Lancour, click here for more information ... Downing is on a four-game goal streak ... MacKenzie is on a personal three-game point streak ... Vermont still trails UMass by one point for the seventh seed in the Hockey East standings as the Minutemen fell to No. 5 Merrimack 4-3 (ot) at the Mullins Center ... During tonight's game alumni, parents, and friends gathered in over 24 cities to help cheer on the Catamounts, click here for more information.