DURHAM, N.H. – Sophomore Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) tallied a career-high two goals and added an assist to lift the third-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Friday night’s 3-1 Hockey East victory over the University of Vermont at Whittemore Center.
UNH, which captured its program-best 19th Hockey East victory, improves to 23-7-3, 19-4-3 in the league. Vermont, which captured home ice for the quarterfinals for the first time since joining Hockey East, falls to 13-13-7, 12-9-5 HE. The Wildcats extend their season-best unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-2) and are now unbeaten in their last 16 against league foes.
Butler’s first goal came in the second period when he gained possession of a lose puck after a UVM turnover, and beat a UVM defender and goaltender Joe Fallon at 2:24 for a 1-0 lead.
Butler scored again at the start of the third period when he collected a pass from Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario). Butler took a shot from the mid-right circle after LeBlanc’s pass from behind the net. Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) also was credited with an assist on the play.
The Catamounts cut UNH’s lead in half at 11:26 of the third when Dean Strong scored from the high slot. Assists were from Corey Carlson and Slavomir Tomko. LeBlanc made it 3-1 when he scored off a pass from Butler. He found Butler’s pass in front of Fallon and scored over his right shoulder. Vermont pulled Fallon three times in the final 3:47 in attempts for a comeback but were unable to convert. The Catamounts had their best scoring opportunity of the night off of a Dean Strong shot in the first, but goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) came up big with a glove save.
Regan, who owns an 11-game unbeaten streak and has not lost in his last 15 against Hockey East foes, ended the night with 19 saves. He improves to 21-5-1. Fallon is now 11-11-5 overall.
New Hampshire and Vermont conclude the two-game set on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. on “Senior Night.” NHPTV will broadcast the game as well as the “Senior Night” ceremony. UNHSN will broadcast the game on Yahoo internet radio only. Fans looking to listen to the game should do so through www.unhwildcats.com.