BURLINGTON, Vt. - With 1:20 left in regulation and Rob Madore pulled for an extra skater, H.T. Lenz hopped onto the ice and scored his second goal of the game to help Vermont earn a 4-4 tie with rival New Hampshire on Saturday night in Hockey East action. UVM (1-5-1, 0-4-1 HEA) snapped the four-game winning streak of UNH (4-4-2, 3-3-1 HEA) and picked up its first point in league play.
"It was a relatively easy decision for me to put H.T. on the ice, I thought he was one of the best players on the ice tonight for what he provided in terms of energy and leadership," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "Tonight I think we saw H.T. emerge as a great leader with Brett Leonard and it was a very easy decision to look for number 11 on the bench and tell him to get down to the gate. The puck ended up coming right to him and he had the hot stick tonight obviously."
New Hampshire opened the scoring on the first shift of the night just 38 seconds into the first period. John Henrion found linemate Grayson Downing in the slot with a centering feed from behind the net, and the freshman fired a wrist shot through Madore's five hole to make it 1-0 Wildcats. Greg Burke picked up the second assist on the play.
The Catamounts responded on a five-minute major power play later in the frame at 15:12 after Kevin Goumas was ejected for contact to the head on Leonard. Tobias Nilsson-Roos centered a pass to Matt White in the low slot, and the sophomore connected on a backhand through the five hole of Matt Di Girolamo to tie the game at one. Mike Montagna tallied his first career point with the second assist.
Four minutes later, Vermont took its first lead of the night thanks to some impressive hand-eye coordination from Drew MacKenzie. Anders Franzon's shot from the left point was tipped to the right post, and the puck popped up off MacKenzie's skate. The defenseman whacked it out of mid air and into the open net to put UVM up 2-1. Kyle Mountain was credited with the second assist for his first career point.
Early in the second period, Brett Bruneteau was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind, but it was the Catamounts who took advantage. Nick Luukko skated down the left wing boards and into the UNH zone before dropping off a pass to Anthony DeCenzo. The sophomore laid it back to Lenz, who curled into the slot and ripped a wrist shot off the right post for a shorthanded tally to make it 3-1. Luukko became the third UVM player of the night to post his first career point with a helper.
The Wildcats remained on the power play though, and they answered to cut the lead in half roughly two minutes later. Trevor van Riemsdyk threw a lot shot on goal from the top of the left faceoff circle and it was tipped past Madore by Dalton Speelman. UNH tied the game at three at 13:07 of the middle frame as captain Damon Kipp fluttered a backhand over Madore's left shoulder at even strength.
UNH scored its third straight goal to reclaim the lead eight and a half minutes into the third period as MacKenzie had his pocket picked in the Vermont zone by Stevie Moses. The senior assistant captain skated in alone on Madore from the slot and slid a low shot through his five hole to give the Wildcats a 4-3 advantage.
With an identical scoreline and less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the Catamounts pulled Madore and sent Lenz onto the ice for the extra skater. Almost immediately after hopping over the boards, Lenz took a feed from Sebastian Stalberg and sent a shot through a screen from the right point. The puck bounced past Di Girolamo and knotted the game up at four with only 80 seconds left.
"We talked a lot in the locker room tonight about being more resilient and changing our identity and it was tough to see that fourth one go in but we rolled the next 15 minutes and we knew that we could get it," said Lenz. "That was huge for our confidence, we know tying isn't good enough and we need to start winning but we felt like this was a huge learning opportunity tonight and a big step for us."
UVM was outshot 6-2 in overtime but Madore made several key saves as the Catamounts earned the tie. Madore finished the night with a season-high 36 saves, while Di Girolamo stopped 25 shots at the other end. Vermont took just four penalties all night and only one resulted in a UNH power play. The Cats finished 1-6 with the man advantage and added their first shorthanded goal of the season.
Vermont returns to action next weekend as it travels to Boston for a pair of games against No. 16 Boston University on Friday (Nov. 18) at 7 p.m. and Northeastern on Saturday (Nov. 19) at 8 p.m. The Friday game against BU will be televised on NESN, and both games can be heard live on WVMT 620-AM and on the Internet at SportsJuice.com with pre-game coverage beginning 30 minutes before faceoff.
NOTES: Check back to UVMathletics.com for CatamounTV highlights and post-game reaction from head coach Kevin Sneddon and H.T. Lenz ... Saturday marked the first multi-goal game of Lenz's career ... Freshmen Mike Montagna, Kyle Mountain, and Nick Luukko all picked up their first career points with assists ... The last four games between UVM and UNH have been decided by a total of three goals ... Saturday marked the 98th all-time meeting between the two schools ... New Hampshire is Vermont's longest standing rival in men's hockey as the series dates back to 1963.