BOSTON, Mass. - Senior goaltender Bryan Mountain turned in his first-career shutout thanks to a 44-save performance in a scoreless stalemate on Saturday night in front of 4,564 fans at Matthews Arena.
The Bryn Mawr, Pa., native had not started in net for the Huskies since Jan. 10, 2010, when Massachusetts came to town. Mountain earned his first-career draw with the Wildcats' whitewashing and the 44 saves are also the most for Northeastern since senior Chris Rawlings stopped 47 shots against Providence on Feb. 18, 2012.
Northeastern has now shutout New Hampshire in back-to-back contests at Matthews Arena. The last time NU denied UNH of any scoring was last year on Oct. 14, 2011. The tie marks the fourth-ever shutout of New Hampshire in program history and the first scoreless draw between the two teams in 163 meetings.
Mountain was the headliner of the first period, turning aside 17 shots in the first 20 minutes of play. NU's goaltender made a big stop on Colin McDonald at the 2:45 mark to calm the early nerves.
The Huskies responded by throwing a healthy dose of rubber at DeSmith for a five-minute window midway through the first. Senior Garrett Vermeersch eluded a pair of defenders between the circles and triggered on DeSmith, but UNH's netminder was in position at the 11:00-minute mark. Freshman Colton Saucerman near snuck a slap shot into the corner and fired the disc off of DeSmith's mask from the right circle at 15:00, but the puck caromed into the corner and NU could not take advantage.
Mountain closed out the first stanza by stoning Kevin Goumas on a one-on-one with 50 seconds left to prevent the Wildcats from stealing any momentum heading into the second period.
The second period belonged to both netminders as well. New Hampshire's defense aided DeSmith and blocked 12 Huskies' blasts in the second stanza.
Rookie Cam Darcy and senior Robbie Vrolyk each had their chances early on with opportunities in close, but could not find the back of the net. UNH's Casey Thrush and Scott Pavelski each had grade-A chances, but Mountain remained collected in net and spurned both Wildcats's looks. Mountain also turned away two great opportunities from Nick Sorkin and Grayson Downing to keep the game scoreless heading into the third stanza. Vermeersch nearly snuck in a backdoor look from Braden Pimm on the goalmouth, but was turned away with 30 seconds to play in the second stanza.
Rookie Kevin Roy jumpstarted the third with a near breakaway at 2:30, but his close snap shot was met by DeSmith's left pad. Senior captain Vinny Saponari nearly attacked on a loose rebound on the following play, but could not get to the loose garbage in time.
After the Huskies killed off a senior Drew Ellement hooking call at 10:55, Northeastern's offense detonated a flurry of shots from all over the Wildcats' zone. DeSmith stood his ground and kept the Huskies out from all angles.
Regulation closed and UNH tossed the first two early chances on net in the extra session, but Mountain thwarted Nick Sorkin and Casey Speelman in the first 70 seconds.
Junior Cody Ferriero and Pimm raised the pulses of the Matthews Arena faithful with a minute left, but their attempts were greeted by a perfectly positioned DeSmith.
Both goaltenders shined in the free period of hockey to close out the first-ever scoreless tie in 163 meetings between the two squads.
Next Friday, Northeastern and Merrimack meet up at Matthews Arena for a 7 p.m. puck drop on Nov. 2. The Huskies will then travel to North Andover, Mass., to close out the two-game series at Lawler Arena on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.