ORONO, ME -- The University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team salvaged a split of a two game series against the University of Maine with a 5-4 win over the Black Bears on Saturday night at Alfond Arena. With the win, the Wildcats improve their record to 16-3-1 (8-1-1 Hockey East), while Maine falls to 14-3-3 and 5-3-2 in conference play.
A wild third period got under way with a pair of quick Wildcat goals to increase the UNH lead to 5-1. Sophomore Darren Haydar picked up his second goal of the game on the power play just :47 into the period. Freshman Garrett Stafford made a nice right wing pass to set up Haydar.
Stafford would pick up his third assist of the game on New Hampshire's fifth goal, gloving down a Maine clearing effort and finding senior John Sadowski all alone in front of Maine goaltender Matt Yeats (26 saves) to make the score 5-1 at 4:11 of the third.
Mike Morrison replaced Yeats in the Black Bear net after the Sadowski goal. Morrison made one save during the remainder of the game, as Maine controlled much of the remainder of the game.
Maine senior Ben Guite connected for two consecutive power-play goals with the first coming at 6:52 of the final period with a one-timer of a nice cross-ice feed from fellow senior Cory Larose. Guite would score a similar goal on the next Maine power play, also set up by Larose to close the gap to 5-3 with just over thirteen minutes remaining.
Larose would close out the scoring with yet another Maine power-play goal at 13:56 with a slap shot from just inside the blueline to make it a one goal game.
New Hampshire goaltender Ty Conklin than closed the door. Conklin finished the game with 33 saves, including several key stops with Maine applying pressure late in the third.
Senior Tim Walsh scored the Wildcats first goal of the game, banging home the rebound of a Dan Enders shot at 10:56 of the first period. The Wildcats would up their lead to 2-0 just 2:32 later when Mike Souza sent Haydar in alone for a breakaway goal.
Haydar set up Matt Swain for the third New Hampshire goal midway through the second period. Yeats made the save on Swain's shot, but the puck then deflected into the net off the skate of Maine defenseman Peter Metcalf.
Robert Liscak got Maine on the board at 14:37 of the second period. Brendan Walsh took a shot from the right circle that appeared to be going wide, but Liscak made a terrific play and batted the puck in from mid-air for the goal.
The Wildcats will next face Merrimack College for a home-and-home weekend series next Friday and Saturday with the Friday night game at the Whittemore Center. The Black Bears travel to UMass Amherst for a Tuesday night contest.