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UNH hockey team beats Vermont on the road, 4-3

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Austin Block scored two goals to lift the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to a 4-3 victory over the University of Vermont last night.

UNH, which improved to 17-8-4 overall and 12-7-3 in Hockey East, moved into a first place tie with idle Merrimack College for the conference lead. Vermont dropped to 10-15-4 overall and 7-11-4 in Hockey East.

The Wildcats went 3-for-8 on the power play, marking the first time since Dec. 5, 2010, that the team had three power-play goals in a game. In addition to Block’s output, Trevor van Riemsdyk dished out three assists and Kevin Goumas notched a pair of helpers.

Vermont got on the board just 1:52 into the game on a goal off a rebound by H.T. Lenz. Matt White and Robert Polesello had the assists.

The Wildcats got the equalizer late in the first period as Block scored from the right slot on the rebound of a van Riemsdyk shot. Grayson Downing also assisted on the tally. UNH outshot Vermont 4-2 in the period.

UNH took a two-goal lead with a pair of power-play goals in the second period. The first came as Dalton Speelman redirected a John Henrion shot past Vermont netminder Brody Hoffman. Goumas found Henrion at the point and was credited with an assist on the goal at 8:43 of the second. Block got his second of the game on the power play by making a nifty one-on-one play past a Vermont defender then snapping off a wrister that beat Hoffman at 16:23 of the second. Van Riemsdyk and Eric Knodel started the transition sequence in the defensive zone and were credited with assists on the goal.

Vermont cut UNH’s lead in half with a goal just 55 seconds into the third period. Nick Bruneteau blocked a pass at the top of the blue line to set up a 3-on-1. He carried the puck in and patiently waited for an opening and scored the goal himself, making it 3-2.

UNH regained its two-goal lead as Matt Willows punched in a power-play goal from the left goalmouth. Nifty tic-tac-toe passing from van Riemsdyk and Goumas set up the tally at 5:18 of the third.

UNH held the 4-2 lead until Vermont cut it to 4-3 at the 11-minute mark of the third when Jonathan Turk scored with an assist from Bruneteau. Vermont held a 10-5 shot advantage in the third, but UNH outshot the Catamounts 23-13 for the game.

UNH goalie Casey DeSmith stopped 11 shots, including eight in the third period, to improve to 16-6-4 on the season. Hoffman stopped 19 shots but falls to 10-15-4.

In addition to UNH’s 3-for-8 effort on the power play, the Wildcats killed off all three Vermont power plays in the game.

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