Men's Hockey: UNH outplayed by Vermont

By Justin Loring
On February 7, 2014

In a game which head coach Dick Umile described as the "worst game I've ever seen," UNH lost to Vermont by a score of 5-2. Chris McCarthy and Brendan Bradley each tallied three points on the night (one goal, two assists) for the Catamounts while netminder Mike Santaguida recorded 26 saves on 28 shots.

Matt Willows and Nick Sorkin assisted on both UNH goals, credited to Kevin Goumas and Brett Pesce.

"I have no answers, we were awful," Umile said. "Right from the beginning ... they just absolutely flat-out beat us."

UNH's top line helped the team jump to a quick lead just 6:22 into the game. Sorkin carried the puck to the faceoff circle where he fed Willows behind the net. Willows drew the defense and slid the puck behind Caylen Wells to a trailing Goumas, who netted his thirteenth goal of the season.

Vermont answered with a pair of goals just 42 seconds apart in the first. Brendan Bradley got it started when he knocked home a loose puck in the crease. Mario Puskarich got off the initial shot that was stopped by Casey DeSmith, but a scrum ensued and Bradley found the back of the net.

Brady Shaw scored the Catamounts second goal at 10:53, taking advantage of a positioning error by DeSmith. Shaw took a wraparound shot that beat a sprawling DeSmith to take a 2-1 lead.

UNH was dealt a huge blow early in the second period when Grayson Downing, in just his first game back from a shoulder injury, lost an edge on the rush and crashed hard in the boards. Hitting the same shoulder that he injured three weeks ago, Downing stayed on the ice in pain while the trainers tended to him. Umile said after the game that he expects to miss about "two to three weeks".

Vermont increased the advantage to three in the second period after a power play goal by Connor Brickley. Brickley found space in front of the net and put his shot past DeSmith for his third goal of the season.

UNH was able to take advantage of a power play of their own after the second intermission. Willows drew the defense in deep, then found Pesce open at the point. Pesce stepped up into the high slot and put a wrist shot inside the left post to cut the deficit down to 3-2.

UVM countered again, however, with two more goals less than 40 seconds apart. McCarthy scored his second of the evening on a quick shot near the post that caught DeSmith out of position again. Mario Puskarich also scored his twelfth of the season to bring the game to its final, 5-2.

"This is a game that has to be forgotten as soon as we leave the rink," captain Eric Knodel said. "This is one you don't hang your head on."


Justin Loring can be reached on Twitter @JLo_TNH

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