Lights out at the Whitt
Led by DeSmith, ‘Cats blow by the Catamounts
The No. 9 University of New Hampshire men's hockey team defeated the Vermont Catamounts 4-0 on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center.
With the win, the Wildcats record is now 6-1-1 and are 4-1-1 in Hockey East, while the Catamounts dropped to 1-3-2, with the same record against Hockey East opponents. This was the 100th meeting between the two teams, with UNH holding a dominant all-time record of 76-19-5 since the teams first met in 1963.
The Wildcats were called for a tripping penalty early, but that did not stop them from jumping out to an early lead when Grayson Downing scored a shorthanded goal at 5:27 in the first.
Downing was fed in the neutral zone, came down the right side and put the puck underneath Brody Hoffman's glove for the first score of the game. Kevin Goumas and goalie Casey Desmith were credited with assists on the play.
At 12:03, Vermont's Caylen Walls was called for a boarding penalty in the corner of the UVM offensive zone, which caused a scuffle when Jay Camper retaliated. Walls and Camper were given matching penalties to go along with the boarding call to give UNH the man advantage.
Greg Burke won the ensuing faceoff to Justin Agosta, who passed to Eric Knoedel in front of the blue line. Knoedel unleashed a slap shot that went under Hoffman's glove to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead just four seconds into the power play.
The Wildcats were able to extend their lead just 1:56 into the second, when they had a two-on-one rush with Goumas and Austin Block.
Goumas' shot went off Hoffman's pad and skirted over to Trevor van Riemsdyk, who passed it to Block on the opposite side of the net. Block's shot was stopped by Hoffman, but the rebound deflected off the Vermont defender's skate and went in the good.
UNH made the game 4-0 at 5:34, when Kevin Goumas skated into the slot and put a wrist shot off Hoffman's glove. The puck went off the post and was met by Austin Block, who tucked it in on a wide open net.
Block recorded his sixth and seventh goals of the season, leading the team in that category and tying him for second in the NCAA.
"I think we played a good 60-minute hockey game," UNH head coach Dick Umile said. "We didn't finish a lot of [scoring] opportunities, but we generated a lot of good [scoring] chances and played as well defensively as we've played all year."
The Wildcats only have two home games in November, with the other against UMass-Lowell on Nov. 30.
"[It's] real important [to win at home]," Umile said. "Our schedule right now is going to be really tough. Our next four games are going to be important, but I like where we're at and I think the team is playing with a lot of confidence."
It was Casey DeSmith's third shutout of the season, making him the first UNH goalie to have back-to-back shutouts since it in 2007. DeSmith is tied for the NCAA lead in shutouts with Carson Chubak of Niagara.
"[The defense] played unbelievably," DeSmith said. "From the forwards all the way down to the defensemen, everyone played well ... they kept [Vermont] to the outside and cleared rebounds really well. I really didn't have that much to do they played so well."
The Wildcats travel to UMass-Lowell and Boston University on Friday and Sunday respectively.
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