BURLINGTON, Vt. – Brian Roloff registered a hat trick to lift No. 7 Vermont to a 6-4 win over the ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s ice hockey team Friday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The teams will play the regular-season finale Saturday night at 7 p.m.
UNH, which saw its five-game winning streak snapped, drops to 18-10-5, 14-8-4 Hockey East. The Catamounts are now 20-8-5, 15-7-4 HE.
Vermont jumped out to an early lead just 90 seconds in with a four-on-four tally. The goal was scored by Brian Roloff with assists from Viktor Stalberg and Drew Mackenzie. The Wildcats answered, however, just over a minute later as Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, B.C.) registered his first collegiate goal, point with an even-strength goal at 2:34 to knot it at 1-1. Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) gave the puck to Kipp at the right point, Kipp carried the puck in front and depositing it past UVM netminder Rob Madore. Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) also had an assist on the goal. UVM would once again take a one goal lead as Roloff scored his second of the period on the rebound of a flurry of Vermont shots. UNH netminder Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) stopped a pair of UVM shots before Roloff was able to knock home the go-ahead. Justin Milo and Patrick Cullity had assists on the goal at 13:45. The Catamounts extended their lead to 3-1 on a power play goal at 16:32 as Dan Lawson scored on a one-timer from the right point. The goal was assisted by Kyle Medvec and Peter Lenes. Vermont held a 15-10 shot advantage in a back-and-forth first period.
While the first 13 minutes of the second were scoreless, each team scored twice in the remaining seven minutes to make it 5-3 at the end of two. The Wildcats cut it to 3-2 on a goal from James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.). van Riemsdyk tapped a one-timer past Madore on the centering pass from Pollastrone. Sislo was also credited with on the goal at 13:07 of the second period. Vermont regained its two-goal advantage at 15:10 of the second as Brayden Irwin scored with an assist from Colin Vock. UNH made it 4-3 on a goal by Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.). Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) assisted on the goal at 17:17. However, UVM closed out the period with a four-on-four goal by Roloff, his third of the game, it was assisted by Kevan Miller. Both team had 12 shots and were 0-3 on the power play during the second period.
Stalberg added a shorthanded goal at 10:26 of the third period, taking advantage of a Wildcat turnover in the defensive end. The goal made it 6-3. UNH would cut into the UVM lead, but it would prove to be too little, too late. Kessel scored just as a Wildcat power play expired at 11:56 to make it 6-4. The goal was assisted by Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) and Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario).
In net, Foster stopped 29 shots including 12 in the first period and falls to 17-8-4, Madore turned away 28 shots and improves to 13-6-4.
Vermont held a slim 35-32 advantage in shots thanks in part to a 15-10 advantage in the first period.
UNH and Vermont complete the two-game series on Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The game will be the final regular-season game for both teams, although each will return to action on its home ice in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East Tournament (March 13-15). Saturday night's game can be heard on the Wildcats Sports Network with live audio, live video and live stats available at www.unhwildcats.com.