CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) scored a pair of goal to lift the 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s ice hockey team to a 4-2 win and a weekend sweep of Hockey East foe Boston College Saturday night at Conte Forum. UNH improves to 16-9-5, with a 12-7-4 mark in Hockey East. BC is now 13-12-5, 8-10-5 HE. The Wildcats capture the season series by virtue of the weekend sweep and slide into a third-place tie in the Hockey East standings.
van Riemsdyk’s two goals were UNH’s final two goals and proved to be the difference for the Wildcats. His first goal was the lone tally of the second period and made it 3-1. He scored the even-strength goal at 5:22 with assists from Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) and Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.). The Wildcats outshot the Eagles 12-8 in that period, seven of which came during UNH’s four power play opportunities. The final goal came when BC had pulled netminder John Muse in favor of an extra attacker. van Riemsdyk blocked a BC shot and beat another defender to find an empty-net at 19:51 that ensured victory for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats got on the board just 2:27 in as Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.) scored off a steal in front of the net by Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), who was credited with an assist on the even-strength tally. BC tied it at 18:25 of the period as Kyle Kucharski scored with assists from Matt Lombardi and Andrew Orpik. UNH answered with just four seconds remaining in the period as Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) scored on a one-timer from the left slot. Butler received the pass from Dries at the right-side of the blue line and skated in make a cross ice pass to a slashing DeSimone to give the ‘Cats a 2-1 advantage at the break. The Wildcats also held a slim 7-5 shot advantage in the period.
BC cut into the Wildcat lead with a power play goal at 8:03 of the third period as Ben Smith deflected the puck into the net off a Tim Kunes shot. Brock Bradford also had an assist on the goal, which made it 3-2. Overall, the Eagles outshot New Hampshire 17-10 in the period.
Overall, BC held a slim 30-29 shot advantage and was 1-4 on the power play. UNH was 0-5 in its extra-skater opportunities.
Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) stopped 28 shots including 16 in the third period and improves to 15-7-4, while Muse turned away 25 shots and is now 13-12-5 overall.
UNH returns to action next weekend Feb. 27-28 in a home-and-home series with Hockey East foe Merrimack College. The teams will on Friday night at Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass. Game time is 7 p.m. On Saturday night, the teams will play at the Whittemore Center live on NESN. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. for the Wildcats annual “Senior Night”. The games will be broadcast live on the Wildcats Sports Network with live audio, video and stats available online at www.unhwildcats.com.