NO. 13 MEN'S HOCKEY DOWNS INTRA-STATE FOE NO. 18 DARTMOUTH, 6-4
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) was one of six Wildcats with at least two points, as he tallied a goal and an assist to propel the 13th-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s ice hockey team to a 6-4 victory against 18th-ranked Dartmouth College in the Battle for the RiverStone Cup VIII at the Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday night. Pollastrone garnered most valuable player honors in the contest between the only two NH Division I hockey programs.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 11-6-4 on the season, as they extend their unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1). In addition to their unbeaten streak, the Wildcats also improve to 6-2-1 all-time in the Riverstone Series. As for Dartmouth, it falls to 10-6-0 on the season.
Holding on to a slim 5-4 lead for much of the third period, the Wildcats sealed the victory with a late goal as Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) took a pass from Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.) at the right circle and took it across the middle and fired it from the left circle burying the puck into the far side of the net at 15:58. Steve Moses (Leominster, Mass.) was also credited with an assist on the tally. DeSimone (1-1-2) and Moses (0-2-2) each had multi-point efforts.
The Big Green poised a threat late into the second period and early into the third as they scored two unanswered goals, the first just moments after a flurry of scoring from New Hampshire with a goal of their own as Adam Estoclet shot the puck off a deflected shot from Evan Stephens at the right wing on the power play at 18:50, putting the score at 5-3 at the end of two periods.
Dartmouth would continue its offensive strike early in the third period as it struck first and open the period as Jones slipped the puck in a small window between Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) and the post from Adam Estoclet at 11:57, cutting UNH’s score down to one goal.
The Wildcats built a 3-1 lead into the first intermission and struck first when Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) scored at 4:50. Greg Collins (Fairport, N.Y.) intercepted a Dartmouth clearing attempt in the slot and moved the puck to the right circle, where LeBlanc’s shot beat O’Neill and sailed inside the far post.
Foster preserved that one-goal lead in the sixth minute when he denied Kyle Reeds twice from the slot, then the UNH goalie turned aside Joe Gaudet at the left post on a Big Green shorthanded rush at 12:30.
One minute later at the other end of the ice, Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) fired a shot from the right circle off the near post. With UNH’s power play winding down, Matt Reber slipped between a pair of Wildcat skaters to win a race to the loose puck, skated down the slot and lifted a close-range shot under the crossbar to even the score, 1-1, at 13:55.
The ‘Cats responded with a goal less than two minutes later and struck again with 1:47 remaining in the stanza to build a two-goal advantage. New Hampshire regained the lead, 2-1, at 15:39 when Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) wristed a shot from the left circle into the upper-left corner. Collins was credited with his second assist of the night on the play.
Butler’s goal not only gave the Wildcats an early lead but it is also fourth goal in as many games as he is now riding an eight-game point streak (5-7-11) as he finished the night with two points on an goal and an assist.
Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) initiated the scoring sequence on UNH’s third goal with a pass from the high slot that was redirected on goal by Butler at the right post. O’Neill turned aside that shot, but Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) scored off the rebound to give New Hampshire a 3-1 lead at 18:13. With the assist, Kapstad now has a nine-game point-scoring streak (1-10-11).
The Big Green drew first blood in the second stanza as Andrew Owsiak tracked down the loose puck at center ice and pushed it ahead to Doug Jones who redirected the puck into the net at 1:12 into the period, slipping past Foster putting the score at 3-2.
UNH would counter later in the period, as Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.) would give the Wildcats a two-goal advantage as he punched in the Wildcat’s fourth goal of the game off the rebound at 14:40. The Wildcats wouldn’t wait long to strike again as Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) and Pollastrone set up Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) at the left circle, as he fired the puck past O’Neill at 16:43, giving UNH their largest lead of the night.
Foster turned away 20 shots including 10 in the first period and improves to 10-4-3, while Jody O'Neill stopped 31 shots and is now 10-6-0.
New Hampshire plays a home-and-home series against Boston University next weekend. The Wildcats are on the road Jan. 23 (7:30 p.m.) and play host to the Terriers at the Whittemore Center on Jan. 24 (7 p.m.). Both games will be broadcasted live on NESN.