November 14, 2009

MEN’S HOCKEY DEFEATS NO. 10 MASSACHUSETTS, 4-2

AMHERST, Mass. – Senior Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) scored a pair of goals, while Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) added a goal and an assist to lift the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Saturday night’s 4-2 win over No. 10 Massachusetts in Hockey East action at Mullins Center.

UNH, which captures its first road win of the season, improves to 3-6-2, 3-2-1 in Hockey East play. UMass is now 7-2-0, 4-2-0 HE.

In addition to Butler and LeBlanc, Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) handed out a pair of assists, while Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) stopped 33 shots en route to the win including 18 in the middle frame.

In an even-played first period, UNH’s Butler struck first breaking the scoreless deadlock at 16:29 of the first period. Butler, who is first in Hockey East with nine goals, received a nifty between the legs pass from Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) in front of the UMass net and slid the puck past Paul Dainton for a 1-0 advantage. The Wildcats held a slim 8-7 shot advantage in the period.

The Minutemen tied it at 4:37 of the second as Will Ortiz scored on a delayed-penalty extra-skater opportunity. Justin Braun was credited with an assist on the equalizer. New Hampshire responded just under a minute later as LeBlanc scored on a shifty forehand to backhand move that allow him to beat Dainton glove-side and made it 2-1 at 5:21 of the second. Kessel, who kept the puck in the offensive zone, was credited with the assist. The Wildcats extended its lead to 3-1 as Butler scored his second of the night at 13:47 of second. Mike Beck (Long Beach, Calif.) collected a cross-ice pass from Kessel and fired it on net, the long rebound bounced to a crashing Butler for the eventual game-winning tally. UMass cut it to 3-2 with a 4-on-4 goal at 18:25 of the second as Martin Nolet scored with assists from James Marcou and Michael Lecomte. The Minutemen outshot the Wildcats 20-4 in the middle frame.

The Wildcats extended the lead to 4-2 as Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) scored at 11:59 of the third. LeBlanc collected a pass for Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) in the neutral zone and carried it into the offensive end along the left side and made a cross ice pass to Sislo, who slipped it between Dainton’s pad and the right post.

Foster improves to 3-6-2 overall, while UMass’ Dainton stopped 14 shots and falls to 6-2.

Both teams were officially 0-1 on the power play.

UNH returns to action when it begins a home-and-home series with Boston University. The teams will play Friday, Nov. 20 (7 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center and square off on Saturday, Nov. 21 (7 p.m.) at Agganis Arena. Saturday’s game at BU will air live on NESN.

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