DURHAM, N.H. – Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) recorded his fourth career shutout with a 26-save effort to lead the second-ranked University of New Hampshire hockey team to Tuesday night’s 5-0 Hockey East victory against Merrimack College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1) to improve to 10-2-1 overall and 8-1-1 in Hockey East; the 10-2-1 start is the best for the Wildcats since the 1999-2000 team had the same record through 13 games, and the 8-1-1 league record is UNH’s best ever start in Hockey East play. Merrimack is now 1-10-1, 1-6-0.
The Wildcats’ offense featured five different goal scorers was bolstered by special teams play, which produced one power-play goal and two shorthanded tallies. Thomas Fortney (Webster Groves, Mo.) and Craig Switzer (Peachland, British Columbia) recorded multiple points with two assists each. Regan made 10 of his 26 saves in the middle stanza while MC counterpart Andre Brathwaite stopped 37 shots, including 15 in the final frame.
UNH netted the only goal of the first period and took that 1-0 lead at 16:07 on a goal by Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.), which marked his fifth tally in as many games. Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) initiated the sequence with a pass from the right corner to Trevor Smith (North Vancouver, British Columbia) at the near post. Smith then sent the puck across the crease to Pollastrone, who settled the puck at the left post and scored.
New Hampshire extended its advantage to 3-0 with goals 14 seconds apart in the middle of the second period. Brett Hemingway (Surrey, British Columbia), with the assistance of Brad Flashains (Glendale, Ariz.) and Switzer, netted a 4-on-3 power-play goal at 9:59 to create a two-goal cushion. Thomas Fortney (Webster Groves, Mo.) won possession of the puck on the left halfboards and moved the puck towards the left circle, where a quick pass by Switzer found an unmarked Josh Ciocco (Atco, N.J.) at the far post; Ciocco then swept the puck into the open near side of the net.
UNH netted a pair of shorthanded goals in the final frame to pull away. Bobby Butler (Marlborough, Mass.), off a pass from Fortney, struck at 9:35 and Shawn Vinz (Rochester, Minn.) scored on a breakaway on an outlet pass by Joe Charlebois (Potsdam, N.Y.) in the defensive zone.
New Hampshire returns to action Dec. 3 at home against the University of Vermont. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 3 p.m. The game will be televised live by ESPNU.