Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
DURHAM, N.H. – Pete Massar and Mario Puskarich netted second period goals less than three minutes apart, and Mike Santaguida stopped 28 shots as 19th-ranked Vermont held off New Hampshire for a 2-1 Hockey East victory on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center.
The Catamounts swept the weekend series from the 20th-ranked Wildcats for the fourth win in their last five contests. Vermont moves to 15-9-3 and evens its Hockey East record at 7-7-0 HEA, while the Wildcats fall to 16-15-1 (8-8-0 HEA).
“Tonight was a much tougher game. UNH played extremely well,” said head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We had to be on our toes the whole game. They are an excellent team and it certainly made us better having to defend them and we got better as time went on.”
“Tonight was much tighter and we were well aware of how displeased they were with Friday’s game,” Sneddon said. “We talked all day about how we had to match their intensity and we did a good job.”
Santaguida made a pair of key glove saves in the first period to keep the game scoreless. The rookie robbed Dalton Speelman early in the contest from the low slot, then snagged a wrist shot away from Matt Willows on the power play. UVM held a 12-8 shot advantage heading into the first intermission as both teams went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Vermont took the lead less than four minutes into the second period as Jonathan Turk worked the puck to the right point for Yvan Pattyn. The sophomore fired a shot on target that Massar deflected through the pads of Casey DeSmith for his fifth goal of the season. Pattyn collected his second assist of the weekend on the play.
A few minutes later, the Catamounts doubled the lead as their top line continued to click. Chris McCarthy fed a pass to the right faceoff circle for Brendan Bradley, and the freshman quickly found Puskarich wide open with a backhand pass in the left slot. Puskarich delayed before lifting a wrist shot over DeSmith for his 13th tally of the year to lead all Hockey East freshmen. UVM’s top line finished the weekend with four goals and seven assists.
DeSmith registered two key saves to keep the Wildcats in the game before UNH went on its fourth power play of the contest. Kevin Goumas set up Nick Sorkin between the circles, and his shot changed direction into the lower left corner of the goal at 11:40 to put New Hampshire on the board.
UVM killed off a UNH power play to begin the third period and retained the lead into the closing minutes. The Wildcats called their timeout with 1:39 remaining for an extra skater, and Dan Correale had a clean look from the slot but missed the net to the left.
Santaguida stood tall down the stretch and the Catamounts blocked several shots in front of the rookie to seal the victory. Santaguida ran his personal winning streak to four games and collected the 10th win of his freshman campaign.
Vermont held a 30-29 shot advantage, including a 25-15 edge in the first two periods. The Catamounts haven’t been out-shot in a game since Dec. 28, a span of 11 consecutive contests.
UVM returns to Gutterson Fieldhouse next weekend for the first time since Jan. 4 to host No. 2 Boston College on Friday (Feb. 14) and Saturday (Feb. 15) at 7:05 p.m. Live high definition video is available for free via CatamounTV.com.
On Friday, the Catamounts will wear special edition pink jerseys as part of Hockey East Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer. Friday is The Bagel Place Night at Gutterson, while Saturday is City Sports Night. The UVM Student Government Association will also host a giveaway for all students on Saturday.