Saturday, February 08, 2014

#19 Vermont Sweeps #20 UNH

Matt Willows' Multiple Bids
Stymied by UVM's Santaguida

On paper, the Twin State rivals entered the weekend series at the Whittemore Center evenly matched. Vermont was ranked 19th in the country and UNH was 20th. New Hampshire was 2 games over .500 in Hockey East and UVM was 2 games under .500. Vermont held the edge in overall records.

The Wildcats were drubbed on Friday night as the Catamounts dominated all facets of the game in their 5-2 victory. Tonight, UNH was more competitive but could not solve freshman goalie Mike Santaguida who stopped 28 out of 29 shots on goal. Santaguida is ranked 5th among Hockey East goalies in both save percentage (.926) and goals against average (2.02).

1st Period

10:14 - Casey DeSmith Stops Point-Blank Shot - UNH 0, Vermont 0
~ After giving up the 5th goal midway through the third period on Friday night, junior goalie Casey DeSmith was replaced by senior Jeff Wyer. DeSmith looked sharper tonight and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the first period.
~ Here DeSmith makes a save on freshman UVM winger Brady Shaw who made a strong move from behind the net:

8:08 - Matt Willows Robbed by Santaguida in 1st Period - UNH 0, Vermont 0
~ Junior Matt Willows - the second leading UNH goal scorer; tied with Kevin Goumas with 13 goals - was a persistent offensive threat in the 2-1 loss to UVM.
~ Willows fired 6 shots on goal forcing Santaguida to make spectacular saves like this one. He keeps the puck in the UVM zone with a diving swipe and ends up ripping a shot that's gloved by Santaguida:

2nd Period

16:15 - UVM Strikes First - UNH 0, Vermont 1
~ Overall, UNH did a better job protecting the front of the net tonight but on UVM's initial score, senior Pete Massar was left open in front of DeSmith. Masser screened DeSmith as Yvan Pattyn launched a shot from the right point. Masser tipped it past DeSmith.

13:33 - UVM Builds 2-Goal Lead - UNH 0, Vermont 2
~ On Friday, UVM put the game out of reach by scoring twice in 18 seconds. On Saturday, UVM scored the game-winner soon after their first goal.
~ Once again, UNH had difficulty protecting the slot in front of DeSmith as Brendan Bradley fed a wide-open Mario Puskarich. The freshman is UVM's second leading scorer with 13 goals and 13 assists.

8:20 - Nick Sorkin Sparks a Rally with Power Play Goal - UNH 1, Vermont 2
~ Senior Nick Sorkin got UNH back in the hunt with a power play goal in the 2nd period. Sorkin gathered a soft, backhand pass from Kevin Goumas and went strong to the net. He then ripped a wrist shot from the top of the slot.
~ Sorkin leads UNH with 16 goals.

3rd Period

10:46 - DeSmith Keeps Game in Reach - UNH 1, Vermont 2
~ UNH held UVM to only 6 shots in the final stanza. DeSmith made the necessary stops like this one:

9:10 - Willows Nearly Ties it Up - UNH 1, Vermont 2
~ Matt Willows tested Santaguida once again- this time on a short-handed bid. Goumas set him up and Willows lifted a backhander that almost tied the game:

The top four teams in Hockey East will earn home-ice in the Quarterfinal Playoff Series. With the back-to-back loses to Vermont, UNH's record in Hockey East dropped to 8-8-0. They are now in a log jamb with Northeastern, Maine, Providence, and Vermont in the battle for 3rd and 4th place. Maine has played one less game than UNH and the other 3 teams have 2 games in hand. UNH has 2 games remaining with Boston University and Merrimack College so they can not directly impact their four competitors. To gain home-ice, UNH will probably need to win their remaining games and hope a couple of the other competing teams lose multiple games.

UNH's chances of earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament have become more remote. With the two loses to UVM, their Pair-Wise Ranking will decline. The only obvious route to the NCAA Playoffs would be to win the Hockey East Tournament - a tall order.


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