DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's hockey team scored three times in the third period en route to a 5-2 victory over previously unbeaten University of Denver Sunday night in the finale of the Dodge Dealers of New England Conference Challenge at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats, who beat Ohio State 3-1 yesterday, clinched the tournament title with a 2-0 record and improved to 7-2-2 overall on the season. Denver drops to 9-1-0 after splitting two games on the weekend. The Pioneers beat Vermont yesterday, 4-1.
With UNH ahead 2-1 after two, the offenses took over in the third period, recording four goals overall and three in a span of 47 seconds. UNH's Darren Haydar (Milton, Ontario) began the flurry when he notched his seventh of the year at 5:59 off assists from Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) and Mick Mounsey (Concord, N.H.). Denver answered at 6:20 on Lukas Dora's tally, but the 'Cats regained their two-goal advantage at 6:46 when Ed Caron shook off a Pioneer defender and beat Berkhoel for his first career goal. Colin Hemingway (Surrey, British Columbia) added an empty-net goal at 18:07 to close out the scoring.
Down 1-0 after the first, Denver tied the score in the second period when David Neale collected Jeff Drummond's rebound and shoveled in a backhander past UNH netminder Matt Carney (Bridgewater, Mass.). James Armstrong also assisted on Neale's third of the season at 7:02. The Wildcats retook the lead, 2-1 on freshman defenseman Tyson Teplitsky's (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) first career goal at 15:09. Teplitsky, positioned at the point, took Nathan Martz's (Chilliwack, British Columbia) feed and fired a wrister past a screened Berkhoel. Junior winger Jim Abbott (Mars, Pa.) also had a helper on the play.
UNH controlled play in the first period, outshooting the Pioneers, 13-3. The only goal of the stanza came at 12:05 on Josh Prudden's (Andover, Mass.) fifth of the year. Sophomore winger Tyler Scott (Rockville, Md.) broke over the blue line before dropping the puck back to Prudden. The junior's shot beat Berkhoel to the far post to give the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage. The 'Cats nearly made it a two-goal advantage just over a minute later when Lanny Gare (Vernon, British Columbia) was stopped in close by a Berkhoel glove save. The Pioneers' netminder was tested again shortly after that when Nathan Martz (Chilliwack, British Columbia) fed a wide-open Abbott who was positioned all alone in front of Berkhoel. Abbott's shot, however, was high and wide to the left.
Carney finished with 17 saves for UNH while Berkhoel stopped 30 shots for Denver. The Wildcats outshot the Pioneers, 35-19 on the night.
The game marked the finale of the Dodge Dealers of New England Conference Challenge. Ohio State edged Vermont, 3-2 eariler in the day to earn a weekend split. The Catamounts finished the two-day tournament 0-2.
Note: Haydar finished with two goals and one assist on the weekend and was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Haydar and Teplitsky were named to the All-Tournament Team along with Denver forward Greg Barber and defenseman James Armstrong. Rounding out the squad were Ohio State forward R.J. Umberger and goalkeeper Mike Betz .