Junior Kevin Regan makes 46 saves for Wildcats

DURHAM, N.H. – Junior goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.), who was honored as National Player of the Month for January, recorded a career-high 46 saves to lead the top-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Saturday night’s 2-1 Hockey East victory against ninth-ranked University of Maine in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 6,501 at the Whittemore Center.

UNH improved to 20-5-1 overall and 15-3-1 in Hockey East. Maine, which recorded a 4-2 victory vs. the Wildcats Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester, N.H.), is now 17-8-2, 10-8-1. The ‘Cats have won 20 games in the last 11 consecutive seasons.

Regan recorded double digits in saves all three periods with 13 in the first, 18 in the second and 15 in the third. With the ‘Cats leading 2-1, seven of his 18 second-period saves came with a teammate serving a five-minute major late in the stanza. Regan turned aside the only Black Bears’ power-play shot on a late third-period power play to once again preserve the one-goal lead.

Maine pulled goaltender Dave Wilson in favor of an extra skater with 1:35 remaining in the game and called time out 18 seconds later. The Black Bears could not penetrate UNH’s defense, however, until Mike Hamilton’s shot from the slot was turned aside by Regan with 40 seconds to play. Maine did not record another shot the rest of the way.

Wilson recorded 21 saves, including 13 in the third period, in 35:12 of relief action. Starting goalie Ben Bishop exited with Maine leading at 3:13 of the second period. He was shaken up in a collision with a UNH player at 1:47 but remained in the game 86 seconds longer.

Maine weathered the storm in the opening minutes, then failed to score on a 66-second long 5-on-3 power-play opportunity, but the Black Bears took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on Teddy Purcell’s power-play goal at 12:24. Michel Leveille intercepted an attempted clearing pass and from the right circle found an unmarked Purcell at the right post.

In a second period in which Maine was whistled for eight penalties for 16 minutes and UNH was called for 25 penalty minutes on 11 infractions, the Wildcats scored a pair of power-play goals to take a 2-1 lead.

The ‘Cats tied the score, 1-1, at 7:06 on a shot by Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) from the left circle. Brad Flashains (Glendale, Ariz.), with the pass from the right to the high slot to Craig Switzer (Peachland, B.C.), who in turn moved the puck to Fornataro, set up the tally.

Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 11:40. Fornataro’s initial shot from the left circle was stopped by Wilson but Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba), standing at the left post, poked the puck behind Wilson and Radja swept it into an open net. New Hampshire returns to action at home Feb. 9 against Merrimack College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.