DURHAM, N.H. – James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) and Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) netted second-period goals 39-second apart to propel the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Saturday night’s 5-1 non-conference victory against 14th-ranked University of Wisconsin at the Whittemore Center.
UNH won its eighth consecutive season opener and is now unbeaten in 12 straight season openers (11-0-1). Wisconsin is 0-2-0 on the year.
Following a scoreless first period, the Wildcats, who captured their third-straight over the Badgers, scored three consecutive goals to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission. UW struck first at 3:43 to take a 1-0 lead. Sean Dolan initiated the sequence with a crossing pass from the right circle to Ryan McDonagh, who quickly moved the puck across to an unmarked John Mitchell at the right post for the goal.
UNH, on its sixth power play of the night, pulled even at 6:29 when the initial shot by Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) from the left point sailed wide of the near post and caromed off the boards behind the net to the right post, where van Riemsdyk scored into the open net. Blake Kessel (Verona, Wisc.), with the pass from the right point to Kapstad, was also credited with an assist.
Thompson scored 39 seconds later on a shot from the left doorstep to give the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage. Steve Moses (Leominster, Mass.), with the pass from behind the net, and Alan Thompson (Gilford, N.H.), set up the tally.
Wisconsin called time out at that point and went on its sixth power play 19 seconds later. The Badgers’ most dangerous chance came at 8:20, when Blake Geoffrion was denied in the low slot by UNH goalie Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.).
Sislo scored at 18:55 to extend the lead to 3-1. UW goalie Scott Gudmandson skated into the right corner and his clear attempt was intercepted by Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) at the right half-boards. He then took aim and fired a shot into the open net.
UNH opened strong in the third period, and Greg Collins (Fairpoint, N.Y.) scored on a shot from the right circle into the upper-right corner of the net at 1:47. Dries, with a pass from the top of the right circle, set up that strike as well as the one by Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) at 17:37. LeBlanc also scored on a shot from the right circle into the upper-right corner.
Foster finished with 30 saves, including 14 in the second period. Gudmandson made 16 of his 28 saves in the opening stanza.
In the first period, UNH recorded a 16-8 shot advantage with half of those shots coming on five power-play opportunities. UW tallied two shots on three power-play chances.
The Wildcats generated three dangerous scoring opportunities in that scoreless opening frame. In the third minute, Kessel skated down the slot unmarked but was turned aside by Gudmandson. Midway through the stanza, Sislo chipped the puck along the right boards and maneuvered around the defense, charged in from the right circle and fired a shot on net. In the 14th minute, Collins carried in on the left side in a 2-on-1 rush and was denied by Gudmandson.
The teams were whistled for a total of 31 minor penalties with UNH called for 16. The Wildcats were 1 of 11 on the power play while UW was 0-for-10.
New Hampshire returns to action for two home games next weekend. The Wildcats play host to Rensselaer on Oct. 17 (7 p.m.) and to Boston University on Oct. 19 (5 p.m.). The game vs. BU will be televised live on ESPNU.