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DURHAM, N.H. - Joe Vitale recorded a goal and an assist and Brad Thiessen made 23 saves to lead the Northeastern University hockey team to Saturday night's 2-1 Hockey East victory against fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire at the Whittemore Center.
The loss was the first of the season for UNH, and the Wildcats are now 4-1-0 overall and 2-1-0 in Hockey East. Northeastern, defeated 7-4 at home by the Wildcats one night earlier, improved to 2-4-0, 1-3-0.
UNH struck first with a goal at 5:36 of the first period. Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) initiated the sequence with a pass from the slot to Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) in the left circle. Butler then fed a pass across the slot to an unmarked Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) on the right doorstep and he tapped the puck into an open net.
The Huskies tied the game just nine seconds later, however, when Vitale turned and fired a shot from the slot that was redirected into the net by Wade MacLeod. Northeastern took a 2-1 lead at 17:18 on a tally by Vitale. UNH goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) made the initial save on Denis Chisholm's shot from the left point but Chris Donovan corralled the rebound and moved the puck to the slot, where Vitale deposited the puck into the open right side of the cage.
In the scoreless second period, UNH went 0-for-3 on the power play and that included a 5x3 advantage for 22 seconds in which the Wildcats recorded just one shot. NU, scoreless on two second-period power play opportunities, created one of the more dangerous scoring chances of the frame one minute before the 'Cats went on the two-skater advantage on a shorthanded odd-man rush in which Vitale's shot from the slot was steered aside by Regan.
Thiessen preserved UVM's one-goal lead when he slid from the right post to the top of the crease to block aside Danny Dries' (Lake Orion, Mich.) redirection of Joe Charlebois' (Potsdam, N.Y.) shot from the right circle.
The Wildcats were whistled for a penalty at 16:39, but an NU player went to the penalty box 32 seconds later, which gave the 'Cats a power-play opportunity at 18:39. UNH did not generate any offensive pressure with that man advantage, however.
With a faceoff just outside its defensive zone, UNH pulled Regan in favor of an extra skater with 18 seconds to play. The Wildcats won that draw and moved the puck to the other end of the ice but did not register a shot.
New Hampshire continues its four-game homestand Nov. 9 (7 pm.) against UMass-Lowell. Fans can watch the game online at UNHwildcats.tv.