DURHAM, N.H. – Jay Anctil scored at 15:52 of overtime to lift the 19th-ranked University of Vermont men’s ice hockey team to a 1-0 victory against 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire in Sunday night’s decisive Game 3 of the Hockey East quarterfinals at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, the top-seeded team of the 26th Hockey East Championship, is now 17-13-7 overall and awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, March 21 (11:30 a.m.) on ESPN2 for the announcement of the tournament field. UVM, which lost 7-4 in Game 1 of the quarterfinals but rallied to win the last two games by a score of 1-0, is also 17-13-7 overall and advances to play second-seeded Boston College in a March 19 semifinal.
UNH goaltender Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) finished with a career-high 50 saves, including nine in the extra session. He stopped 11 shots in the first period, followed by 14 and 16 in the subsequent periods of regulation.
UVM goalie Rob Madore, who made 17 saves Saturday to backbone the first shutout of the Wildcats this season, was credited with 34 saves in the series finale and that included 12 in OT.
Following 60 minutes of scoreless regulation, the game went into sudden-victory overtime to determine the advancing team.
In the opening minute, UNH’s Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) stole the puck in the left corner, circled behind the net and from the right post snapped a pass to Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.), who was charging from the right point. Kessel’s shot from the faceoff dot was gloved by Madore.
One minute later, UVM’s Colin Vock gained possession in the right circle and skated unimpeded towards the near post and continued to the low slot, where Foster blocked his shot high over the net.
The Wildcats quickly countered and a shot from the left point by Matt Campanale (Chester Springs, Pa.) was redirected in front by Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario). LeBlanc corralled the rebound with his back to the net and flipped a backhander that Madore, who was sprawled on the ice, stopped with his outstretched left arm.
In the fifth minute, DeSimone feathered a pass from the left point to the low slot. Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) settled the puck, turned and lifted a shot wide left of the cage.
Then at 8:30 of the extra frame, Madore stopped DeSimone’s one-timer from the slot. Seconds later, he also denied Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) on a shot from the left circle and Butler off the rebound.
With 5:30 remaining in the extra session, UVM’s Josh Burrows led a rush down the right wing. He hesitated at the faceoff dot and cut inside the Wildcat defenseman to the slot, where he fired a low shot that was blocked by Foster.
Anctil then ended the game at 15:52. From behind its net, UNH attempted to clear the puck high off the boards. The puck caromed off at the half-wall, however, and Anctil corralled the puck at the left faceoff dot. He continued towards the slot and lifted a shot inside the right post.
Vermont recorded an 11-8 shot advantage in the scoreless first period, but a number of UNH’s shots were dangerous scoring chances. With seven minutes remaining in the opening frame, LeBlanc led a 2-on-1 rush down the left wing. He saucered a pass across the slot that Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) corralled in the right circle, but by the time he settled the puck Madore had slid across the crease to deny the shot at the right doorstep.
The Wildcats had two scoring opportunities with just over two minutes to play in the first. DeSimone gained possession at center ice and weaved past two defensemen as he advanced down the slot, but his shot from the top of the crease was turned aside by Madore. Moments later, a Catamount turnover in its defensive zone left the puck for Butler at the left faceoff dot. He charged the net and wristed a shot that Madore blocked away with his glove.
One of Vermont’s best first-period opportunities came two minutes into the game, when Patrick Cullity blocked a shot at the right point to create a shorthanded opportunity. He skated alone the left dashers and, as he was being pestered by a UNH defenseman, shoveled a shot wide of the left post.
UVM generated a 14-5 edge in shots during a scoreless second period. In the opening seconds, Brian Roloff fired a one-timer from the slot turned aside by Foster. In the second minute, UNH’s Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) blasted a shot from the right point that caromed off the near post. The Catamounts quickly countered and Chris McCarthy circled from behind the net to the left side and was denied by Foster at the top of the crease. The visitors continued to pressure and Dan Lawson’s bid from the slot was knocked down by Foster, then a Wildcat cleared the puck out of the crease.
In the third minute, Colin Vock’s pass from the right point was redirected on goal by Jay Anctil, who was cutting down the slot.
Midway through the second stanza, Thompson led a UNH rush down the right wing and his shot from the faceoff circle was stopped by Madore. Minutes later, Foster once again denied a one-timer from the slot, this time off the stick of Kyle Medvec.
The visiting ‘Cats recorded a 16-9 shot advantage in the third period for a 41-22 edge through regulation. In the opening minutes of the final frame, Josh Burrows led a 2-on-1 UVM rush down the left wing and snapped a shot from the left faceoff dot that Foster saved.
In the fourth minute on a UNH rush, Sislo maneuvered from the right circle to the low slot, where Madore made a stick save that sent the puck over the net.
Burrows headmanned a 3-on-2 rush at 8:30 in which his off-speed shot from the top of the right circle was blocked down and covered up by Foster. Midway through the third period with the Catamounts on the power play, Cullity fired a shot from the left point that Burrows, who was positioned in front of the net, redirected into Foster.
One minute later – immediately after the visitor’s power play expired –Kessel led a 3-on-2 Wildcat rush down the right wing, and off his centering pass DeSimone one-timed a hard shot stopped by Madore’s left leg pad.
The Wildcats then generated a number of dangerous scoring off faceoff wins. LeBlanc won a faceoff to Madore’s left back to Sislo, whose low, hard shot was enveloped by Madore. LeBlanc won the ensuing faceoff forward, and a chance by Greg Burke (Lee, N.H.) in the low slot was also stopped by the UVM goalie. DeSimone won the next draw in the left circle back to Mike Beck (Long Beach, Calif.), who swung a pass across to Hardowa and his slapshot from the right point was turned aside by Madore. Desimone followed with another faceoff win, and this Madore denied Butler’s bid from the slot. UNH continued its offensive frenzy and Thompson snapped a wrister from the slot wide right of the cage.
With five minutes remaining in regulation, UVM’s Jonathan Higgins gained possession alone in the right circle, settled the puck and fired a wrister into Foster’s glove. Then with one minute on the clock, UVM’s McCarthy redirected a shot just wide of the left post, although Foster was in position to guide the puck wide. The Catamounts generated a flurry 30 seconds later in which Vock’s initial shot from the slot was stopped by Foster, who then stacked the leg pads to deny Drew MacKenzie off the rebound at the right doorstep and Sebastian Stalberg’s follow-up shot from the left side.