Cats rebound after decisive loss against UNH

Though the men’s hockey team suffered a crushing blow Feb. 18, the following night’s game was a completely different story.

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats trampled the Catamounts 6-1 in the first game of the weekend series, but the teams tied 2-2 Feb. 19.

The Catamounts surged forward to take the lead just seconds into the game Feb. 18 but they could not hold onto the lead and were unable to score again.

Senior assistant captain Jack Downing netted the only goal for Vermont while senior Phil DeSimone scored twice for New Hampshire along with junior Stevie Moses, junior Mike Borisenok, first year Kevin Goumas and sophomore Connor Hardowa.

“I didn’t feel like it was really a 6-1 hockey game,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. “There’s times when a 6-1 game feels terrible, this one’s a tough loss but again a lot of positives to focus in on.”

Downing scored the first goal of the game at 0:33 of the opening frame, sending a low shot into the net.

The Wildcats tied the game at one at 10:37. Senior Mike Sislo fed the puck to a waiting DeSimone, who knocked the puck in.

New Hampshire added to their total at 14:13, when Moses scored with a low wrist shot.

The Wildcats continued to distance themselves from the Catamounts early in the second period when Borisenok scored at 1:05.

Borisenok won a faceoff in the offensive zone and after a few other shots were saved, he knocked in a loose puck, bringing the score to 3-1.

Vermont later had a brief 5-on-3 power-play opportunity when New Hampshire junior Damon Kipp was whistled for a tripping penalty at 9:37 and senior Paul Thompson joined Kipp in the box for roughing at 11:18.

During the power play, Vermont sophomore Sebastian Stalberg took a shot from the right circle, but hit the chest of junior goalie Matt Di Girolamo instead of the back of the net.

As the period was winding down, Vermont first year Anthony DeCenzo sent a hard one-timer from the right circle, as he tried to spark some momentum back into the game for the Catamounts.

Di Girolamo reached out to get his glove around the puck though and the Wildcats took their 3-1 lead into the third period.

Goumas wrapped the puck around the Cats’ net and found an open space to slip it through at 12:49 of the third period, giving New Hampshire a 4-1 lead.

Vermont took a timeout with less than three minutes left to play in the game.

Following the timeout, junior goalie Rob Madore was pulled from the net, but adding an extra attacker to the ice did not stop DeSimone from knocking in an empty-net goal at 17:59.

This looked to be the final blow to the Catamounts, but Hardowa managed to score another empty-netter at 19:26. This sealed the 6-1 victory for the Wildcats.

First years Tobias Nilsson-Roos and Matt White scored for Vermont the following night, while DeSimone and senior Mike Beck scored for New Hampshire.

“I thought it was a great college hockey game,” Sneddon said. “I thought there were some real great momentum swings both ways; I couldn’t be any more proud of the way our team played.”

Nilsson-Roos gave the Catamounts the first lead of the night at 5:58 of the second period, intercepting a pass and knocking the puck in past Di Girolamo.

Beck severed the Vermont lead a mere 30 seconds later at 6:28.

DeSimone increased the distance between the two teams at 14:39 of the second frame when he got his stick on the puck after it had bounced off the pads of Madore.

White scored the final goal of the weekend at 9:55 of the third period, sending a low wrister into the net.

“[First year H.T.] Lenz just came in and made a great hit and [first year Connor] Brickley was second in on the puck,” White said. “I was just the third guy in and found the soft area by the circle. Connor gave me a great pass, I shot it and luckily it went in.”

With the tie, the Catamounts bring their record to 7-17-6 and 5-13-5 in Hockey East competition.