DURHAM, N.H. - Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) broke a 3-3 tie with three minutes left in regulation to lift the 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Saturday night's 4-3 victory against the University of Vermont at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, which prevailed 3-1 Friday night in Game 1, completed the two-game sweep of the Hockey East quarterfinals to advance to next weekend's semifinal at the TD Garden in Boston. The Wildcats, seeded second in the tourney with a 17-6-4 league record, improved to 21-9-6 overall.
UVM, the #7 tourney seed after a 6-14-7 league campaign, ends the 2011 season at 8-20-8. Sislo finished the game with two points (goal, assist), as did Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) with two assists. UNH goaltender Matt Di Girolamo (Ambler, Pa.) was credited with 25 saves. UVM counterpart Rob Madore stopped 35 shots.
Just 34 seconds after Vermont had tied the score at 3-3, Sislo put New Hampshire back in front for good. DeSimone found Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) in the right slot. Hardowa fired a shot that bounced out in front of the net setting up Sislo for the rebound shot at 17:00 of the third.
The Catamounts were sent to the penalty box for charging at 18:16 and again at 18:31 for cross checking. Madore exited the game in favor of an extra skater - UVM was still down one skater - with 55 seconds on the clock. UNH missed two shots wide left of the empty net and then was whistled for icing with 12 seconds to play. New Hampshire did not allow a shot the rest of the way, however, to preserve the win.
Following a scoreless first period in which UNH generated an 11-9 shot advantage, UVM netted an early second-period goal but the Wildcats struck twice late in a 42-second span to take a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.
Drew MacKenzie led a Catamount rush down the right wing deep into the circle and saucered the puck past a UNH defenseman to a charging Ben Albertson in the slot, and Albertson redirected a shot high into the right side of the net for a 1-0 UVM lead at 3:49. Matt Marshall, with the outlet pass, was also credited with an assist.
New Hampshire netted goals at 17:14 and 17:56 to transform a one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage. Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) tied the score when he corralled the headman pass off the stick of Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, British Columbia) and advanced to the high slot, where his wrist shot sailed into the upper-right corner of the cage. Kevin McCarey (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), who gained possession in the defensive zone and initiated the breakout with a quick pass to Kipp, also assisted on the tally.
UNH, which recorded a 17-9 shot advantage in the second period, took its first lead of the game 42 seconds later when Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.), positioned at the inner hash marks of the left circle, redirected the slap shot by Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) past Madore. Kevin Goumas (Lake Worth, Fla.), with the pass back to Kostolansky at the left point, was also credited with an assist.
Vermont gained a 5-on-3 power-play advantage for 29 seconds at 1:30 of the third period and called time out, but recorded just one shot during that two-skater advantage and did not get a shot on Di Girolamo during the extended power-play.
The Wildcats extended the lead to 3-1 at 9:06 when Sislo carried the puck down the right wing and centered a pass to Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.), who snapped a shot into the upper-right corner.
UVM rallied to tie the score, 3-3, with goals at 12:31 and 16:26. UNH was whistled for interference at 12:22 and it took the Catamounts just nine seconds to capitalize and trim the deficit to 3-2. Conner Brickley moved the puck from the right circle to Matt White at the near post. White slid a pass across the crease to Tobias Nilsson-Roos at the back door and he tapped the puck into the open net. The visitors struck again from point-blank range when White tapped the puck from the right doorstep to Nick Bruneteau at the top of the crease for the goal. Kevan Miller also set up the tying tally.
UNH now awaits its opponent in the Hockey East semifinals at TD Garden on Friday. For complete details about New Hampshire's semifinal game in Boston log on to www.UNHWildcats.com. UNH will play either third-seeded Boston University (if BU defeats Northeastern on Sunday) or fourth-seeded Merrimack (if Northeastern wins Sunday), who completed a weekend sweep Maine earlier this evening.