DURHAM, N.H. – Craig Switzer (Peachland, British Columbia) and Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) both recorded a goal and an assist to lead the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Friday night’s 4-2 Hockey East victory against Boston University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH improved to 14-7-1 overall and remained atop the league standings by moving to 10-4-1 in Hockey East. BU is now 7-12-4, 6-7-3. In this series, the home team had not won (0-6-3) since the Wildcats were 4-3 victors Nov. 5, 2004. That game was played at Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester, N.H.), however, to date UNH’s most recent win vs. the Terriers at the Whittemore Center at Jan. 25, 2003 (3-0 score); both teams went 0-4-2 on home ice (excluding the Verizon matchup) since then.
UNH goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) recorded 28 saves, including 14 in the scoreless first period, to become the Wildcats’ leader in career victories with 59. BU counterpart Brett Bennett stopped 26 shots.
With UNH leading 2-1 entering the third period, the Terriers pulled even at 10:13 when Bryan Ewing’s shot from the left circle was sailing wide of the far post until it caromed off Pete MacArthur into the net. Wilson was credited with his second assist of the night on the play.
Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) put the ‘Cats back in front, 3-2, with a strong individual effort. He gathered the loose puck in the neutral zone and charged through the left circle – evading defenders along the way – before firing a close-range shot into the net. Kapstad extends his goal-scoring streak to three games.
UNH was whistled for its fifth penalty of the game at 14:01 and the Terriers called time out to set up their power play. The Wildcats’ penalty kill did not allow a shot, however, to preserve the one-goal advantage. BU went on another power play at 16:25, but once again were stymied and did not fire a shot on Regan.
Bennett was pulled in favor of an extra skater in the closing minutes and BU’s pressure resulted in a shot by MacArthur that Regan stopped. Fornataro was in position to turn and fire the puck the length of the ice into the open net with 43 seconds remaining to secure the victory.
UNH scored two goals in the opening seven minutes of the second stanza to build a 2-0 lead. Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) struck at 2:12 when he was positioned near the left post and swept a loose puck in the crease into the open net. Switzer, with the pass down low from the right point, and Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) were credited with assists.
Switzer netted a power-play goal at 6:22 to give the ‘Cats a 2-0 advantage as his shot from the slot bounced between Bennett’s leg pads. Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.), with a centering pass from behind the net, and Fornataro set up the tally.
BU climeded within 2-1 with a Bryan Ewing power-play goal at 15:27. Colin Wilson initiated the sequence with a pass out of the right corner to Kevin Shattenkirk at the right point and Ewing redirected Shattenkirk’s blast into the goal.
In the opening stanza, each team generated its most dangerous scoring chances while on the power play. At 11:15, the Wildcats’ Thomas Fortney (Webster Grove, Mo.) was unmarked and quickly wristed a shot from point-blank range in the right circle above the crossbar. BU went on the power play at 15:29 and just over one minute later, Regan shadowed Chris Higgins across the crease and denied his bid at the right post. The Terriers gained a 5-x3 advantage at 16:56 for 33 seconds and Regan twice denied Wilson at the right post to keep the game scoreless.
New Hampshire and Boston University conclude the home-and-home series Jan. 26 at Agganis Arena. The game will be broadcast live on NESN. The Wildcats’ next home game is Feb. 16 (7 p.m.) vs. Providence College.