Wildcats retain possession of Riverstone Cup
Wildcat goaltender Kevin Regan had a truly outstanding game. It was Regan's relentless play that kept the Wildcats (17-3-1, 12-1-1 Hockey East) in the game while the Big Green's offense dominated the ice.
Dartmouth (6-8-2,5-5-2 ECACHL) jumped out of the gates with 17 shots on goal in the first period, coming out hard against the Wildcats. UNH started particularly slowly, managing a measly two shots on goal in the first period.
In the second period, UNH seemed to begin to adjust to its initial shock at not playing on a larger, Olympic-sized rink.
The Wildcats, finally getting their skates underneath them, tallied the first goal at 3:26. Jacob Micflikier found the back of the net, assisted by Shawn Vinz. Dartmouth retaliated shortly afterwards, scoring on a quick two-on-one play. T.J. Galiardi '10 assisted Kevin Swallow '09, who tied the game up at 7:19. Swallow put the puck between Regan's legs to knot the game 1-1.
"We were definitely the more aggressive team, and we outshot them substantially, but they held on to keep it tied," assistant captain David Jones '08 said. "Unfortunately they capitalized on a few mistakes that we made."
The second period saw less than stellar goaltending and another pair of goals. UNH senior Josh Ciocco fired a shot from 25 feet away through the pads of Mike Devine '08, pushing the Wildcats ahead. Captain Tanner Glass '07 helped the Big Green rally back with a goal at 7:58 in the third period through an assist by Ben Lovejoy '06 and Jones. A distracted Regan failed to cover the right post, letting Glass's shot slip through, leveling up the score at 2-2.
In the third period, the Wildcats put together a furious final six minutes that ended up making the difference in the contest.
At 14:00 of the third period, UNH sophomore Kevin Kapstad nailed a slap shot from the left point, giving the Wildcats a 3-2 advantage over the Big Green.
With six minutes left to go, Dartmouth needed to pull ahead once more in order to keep its head above water and take back the Riverstone Cup from the Wildcats. With the clock winding down, Ciocco slipped through the Big Green defense, notching an assist as linemate Brett Hemingway sealed the game, throwing a shot into the lower left corner of the net at 16:22.
"Later on, it was just mistakes on our part at critical moments of the game that cost us some goals," Glass said of the short breakdown. "If you give them an opportunity, they'll take advantage of it, and that's what happened."
The win gives the Wildcats a 4-2 record against the Big Green after six tries for the Battle of the Riverstone Cup.
"It would have been nice to beat the No. 3-ranked team in the country. It could have really moved us up in the national rankings and put us in the top 15 for a bid at the NCAA Tournament," Jones said.
Devine didn't match his counterpart's dominant performance but did manage 24 saves of his own.
The Big Green will take on Holy Cross at Thompson Arena at 7 p.m. today in another non-conference match-up.