December 5, 2010

#5 Men's Hockey Skates Past Vermont, 5-1

DURHAM, N.H. -- Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) recorded a career-high five assists and Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) finished with four points, including his second career hat trick, to propel the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 5-1 Hockey East victory against the University of Vermont at the Whittemore Center.

UNH extended its unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) to improve to 9-2-4 overall and 7-1-2 in Hockey East. UVM, now winless in four games (0-3-1), is 1-7-4, 1-6-3.

Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) tallied a career-high three points with a goal and two assists; the two assists matched his personal best. Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) also had a multiple-point game with two assists and Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) netted UNH's other goal.

New Hampshire starting goalie Matt DiGirolamo (Ambler, Pa.) finished with 24 saves. Tyler Scott (Ridgefield, Conn.) played the final 2:17 of the game to make his collegiate debut; he was not credited with a save. UVM netminder Rob Madore stopped 27 shots, including 14 in the third period.

Following a scoreless first period, the Wildcats netted three goals in the second stanza to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission. UNH capitalized on its first power-play opportunity of the game at 3:14 for a 1-0 lead. Sislo kept the puck in the offensive zone at the left point and slid a pass to Thompson in the near circle. Thompson's centering pass found Kostolansky in the slot and he snapped a wrist shot inside the left post.

Vermont tied the score, 1-1, at 5:52 on a goal by Josh Burrows. Brett Leonard initiated the scoring sequence with a pass from the right corner to the near post, where Tobias Nillson-Roos redirected the puck to the low slot and Burrows backhanded a shot inside the left post.

UNH scored goals 77 seconds apart late in the period to build a two-goal advantage. Thompson put the Wildcats back in front at 17:57 when DeSimone's shot from the right circle ricocheted off Thompson's skate into the net. Sislo was also credited with an assist. Kessel extended the lead to 3-1 at 19:14 when his shot from the right point sailed inside the near post. Kostolansky, with the pass from the left point, and Sislo set up the tally.

The Wildcats capitalized on a major penalty called against the Catamounts to push the lead to 5-1 in the third period. DeSimone carried the puck down the left side and as he approached the back of the net he dropped a pass for Sislo, who swung the puck to the low slot and Thompson snapped a wrister into the net for a power-play goal at 10:34.

Thompson completed his hat trick -- and scored the team's third power-play goal of the game -- less than two minutes later (at 12:18) on a breakaway in which he skated down the slot and lifted a close-range shot into the upper-right corner.

In the scoreless first period, the Catamounts recorded an 8-5 shot advantage. The visitors went on the only power play of the stanza at 8:30 and one minute later they had a dangerous opportunity when Matt White, alone in the low slot, corralled a loose puck and fired a low shot that was stopped by DiGirolamo's leg pads.

With the win, UNH extended its Hockey East league-game home unbeaten streak to 25 games (18-0-7).

UNH's starting lineup recorded all 15 points. Thompson, DeSimone and Sislo combined for 11 points and the starting defensive pair of Kostolansky and Kessel accounted for the team's other four points. Thompson becomes the first UNH player to register a hat trick since Bobby Butler did so on Feb. 12, 2010 against Providence.

New Hampshire concludes the 2010 portion of its schedule Dec. 10 (7:30 pm.) at the University of Maine. The game will be televised by CBS College Sports. The Wildcats' next home game is Jan. 2, 2011 (4 p.m.), vs. St. Lawrence.

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