NO. 10 MEN'S HOCKEY BLANKS MAINE FOR 2-0 WIN
– Kevin Regan
) tallied 33 saves to record his seventh career shutout to lift the 10th
of New Hampshire
men’s hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 2-0 Hockey East victory against the University
at the Whittemore Center
UNH, which scored an empty-net goal by Peter LeBlanc
(Hamilton, Ontario) with 13 seconds remaining in regulation, improved to 9-4-1 overall and 5-4-1 in Hockey East while Maine, which recorded a 33-31 shot advantage in the game, slipped to 5-7-2, 3-5-2.
Regan recorded double digits in saves in all three periods (12-10-11) and held the Black Bears scoreless on six power-play opportunities. Maine goaltender Ben Bishop made 16 of his 29 saves in the second stanza.
Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) gave UNH a 1-0 lead with his third goal of the season at 6:22 of the first period. Thomas Fortney (Webster Grove, Mo.) gathered a loose puck just outside the offensive zone and executed a pass to Butler in the high slot. Butler skated unmarked down the slot and wristed a shot between Bishop’s leg pads for the tally.
Maine nearly scored on a shorthanded rush when Billy Ryan’s shot from the slot trickled behind Regan but was cleared away from the goal line by Brad Flashains (Glendale, Ariz.).
The Black Bears generated another rush at 11:30 in which Glenn Belmore’s shot from the left circle was stopped by Regan and Tanner House’s close-range bid off the rebound was smothered by Regan.
UNH was awarded a penalty shot at 11:37 when Butler was hooked down by a Maine defender on a breakaway. Butler then charged down the slot and fired a low shot wide left of the cage.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Rob Bellamy of Maine fired a shot from the right circle that was stopped by Regan’s right leg pad. Belmore, off-balance in the slot, slipped a shot off that rebound wide left of the cage.
UNH went on its second power play of the game at 5:07 and was effective at cycling the puck, but the visitors yielded just one shot on goal in the two-minute span. The ‘Cats continued to carry play, however, and peppered Bishop with dangerous shots by Butler, Fornataro (twice) and Fortney within a minute.
Late in the stanza, UNH generated a flurry in which Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.), who was trailing on the rush into the zone, fired a shot wide of the cage and then Flashains had his shot blocked by the defense. Bishop then made a sprawling save against Greg Collins (Fairport, N.Y.) from close range.
Maine, outshot 16-10 in the second period, closed the frame with a flurry of shots, of which the most dangerous chance was Bellamy’s wrister from the right circle that was stopped by Regan’s right leg pad.
About six minutes into the third period, Bishop kept the visitors within one goal when he denied Fortney’s bid at the left post.
The Black Bears went on their sixth – and last – power play of the night at 13:38, and in the latter half of that extra-skater advantage they created a flurry in which Regan turned aside shots by Wes Clark, House, Andrew Sweetland and Ryan.
Maine pulled Bishop in favor of an extra skater with 1:02 to play. The Black Bears could not sustain pressure and Regan stopped the only shot he faced before LeBlanc’s shot from the right dashers at mid-ice caromed off the right post into the net.
New Hampshire resumes play Dec. 28 for a two-game series at the University of North Dakota. The Wildcats’ next home game is Jan. 6 (2 p.m.) vs. St. Lawrence University.