ORONO – University of New Hampshire senior goalie Kevin Regan continued his mastery over the University of Maine Black Bears Saturday night.
Regan made 28 saves to lead the Wildcats to a hard-fought 4-1 men’s hockey triumph at Alfond Arena that completed a weekend sweep.
UNH won 3-2 Friday night as Regan made 32 stops.
Regan improved his record to 7-2 against the Black Bears while lowering his goals-against average to 1.67 and raising his save percentage to .952.
The Bears attacked the UNH net with a sense of urgency and purpose but Regan was immense. Nine of his 28 saves were off Grade-A (high-percentage) shots.
“He was unbelievable all weekend,” said UNH senior right wing and captain Matt Fornataro, who had a goal and an assist.
“This is a rivalry. I get up for games like this,,” said Regan, whose Wildcats were outshot 29-24. “I thought I did pretty well.”
Fornataro said, “It feels great to get a sweep up here. Maine’s a great team. Their record isn’t indicative of their team.”
Hockey East leader UNH, ranked fifth in the nation, extended its winning streak to five games and the Wildcats have now won seven of eight. They have won their last four games at Alfond Arena.
Ninth-place Maine has lost five in a row and is winless in six (0-5-1) while falling to 8-15-3 overall, 4-12-3 in Hockey East. The Black Bears are 2-12-2 in their last 16 Hockey East games, including a 1-7-2 home record.
UNH took the lead for good with two second-period goals against the run of play as sophomore right wing Bobby Butler scored 9:18 into the period and Fornataro extended it eight minutes later.
Maine outshot UNH 12-7 in the second period.
Danny Dries made it 3-0 12:47 into the third period by swatting home a Fornataro rebound from the doorstep before Jeff Marshall ruined Regan’s shutout bid 1:59 later by diving head-first to shove in a Simon Danis-Pepin rebound.
But senior center Mike Radja iced it just 49 seconds later when Maine goalie Ben Bishop’s attempted clear-out hit him in the chest and he flipped it into the vacant net.
Radja, who also had two assists, has eight goals and five assists in 11 career games against Maine.
Regan had 10 saves in the first period, including a gem off Robby Dee as he quickly burst from one post to the other to get his right pad on Dee’s one-timer off a Danis-Pepin pass.
Perhaps his best save of the game came early in the second period off Chris Hahn, who collected Bret Tyler’s rebound in the right circle.
Regan desperately flashed out his left pad and kicked Hahn’s shot out.
“I just tried to force him to make a good shot. I think if you asked him, he’ll say he should have lifted it,” said Regan.
That’s exactly what Hahn said.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better rebound. The puck landed right on my tape,” said Hahn. “I tried to slam it home but he slid over. I should have gotten the puck up.
“That was the turning point in the game,” added Hahn, who was playing in just his second game after missing 12 due to a broken finger and then a broken jaw.
“We fought hard. [Regan] made big stops at key moments. He’s a great goalie,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead.
“He kept us in the game,” said Butler, who broke the scoreless deadlock just under four minutes later.
Butler took a Brad Flaishans pass, skated down the middle in a one-on-one with Maine defenseman Travis Ramsey and took a shot that deflected off Ramsey’s stick past Bishop.
“I saw how Mike Radja scored by getting his shots off quickly so I figured I’d try to get mine off quickly and see what happened. I used their defenseman as a screen. It went off his stick,” said Butler.
Bishop said he was in position to make the save but the puck deflected over his glove.
Fornataro built the lead on a four-on-four when he was left all alone at the top of the crease and converted a terrific pass from the corner by Kevin Kapstad.
“I banged it in five-hole,” said Fornataro.
‘”I saw him there. He made a great shot,” said Bishop, who finished with 20 saves including four Grade-A’s.
Maine appeared to have pulled a goal back with 51 seconds left in the period when Keenan Hopson snapped a 20-footer through a congested crease that eventually crossed the goal line. But referee Jeff Bunyon ruled he blew his whistle before the puck crossed the line.
Danis-Pepin hit the post with a drive from the point 2:25 into the third period.
Maine left wing Andrew Sweetland, who had a goal and an assist on Friday, missed Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed injury.
WILDCATS 4, BLACK BEARS 1
New Hampshire (18-7-1) 0 2 2 – 4
Maine (8-15-3) 0 0 1 – 1
First period – No scoring. Penalties: UNH, Fornataro, slashing, 3:11; UNH, Thompson, boarding, 9:28; Maine, Tyler, obstruction interference, 12:31.
Second period – 1. UNH, Butler 9 (Flaishans), 9:18; 2. UNH, Fornataro 11 (Kapstad, Radja), 17:18. Penalties: UNH, Radja, hooking, :31; Maine, Dee, obstruction-hooking, 2:41; UNH, Switzer, interference, 4:11; UNH, Collins, hitting after the whistle, 12:02; Maine, Ramsey, hitting after the whistle, 12:02; Maine, Dee, holding, 12:02; UNH, Dries, roughing, 16:14; Maine, Dimmen, cross checking, 16:14; UNH, Fritsch, holding, 16:54; Maine, Bellamy, roughing, 16:54; Maine, Marshall, roughing, 19:09; UNH, Charlebois, roughing, 19:09; Maine, Hopson, hitting after the whistle, 19:09; UNH, Dries, hitting after the whistle, 19:09.
Third period – 3. UNH, Dries 6 (Radja, Fornataro), 12:47; 4. Maine, Marshall 4 (Danis-Pepin, Hopson), 14:46; 5. UNH, Radja 17 (unassisted), 15:35. Penalties: UNH, DeSimone, hooking, 19:17.
Shots on goal: UNH 9-7-8-24; Maine 10-12-7-29
Goaltenders: UNH, Regan (29 shots-28 saves); Maine, Bishop (24-20)
Power-play opportunities: UNH 0 of 3; Maine 0 of 5
High-percentage scoring chances: UNH 3-4-4-11; Maine 4-5-5-14
Attendance: 5,349 (tickets issued)