DURHAM, N.H. -- Fourth-ranked New Hampshire had six players with three points each to roll past Merrimack College, 10-1 in Hockey East action Saturday night in front of 6,501 at the sold-out Whittemore Center.
UNH improved to 15-3-2 overall (7-1-2 Hockey East) with the win and increased its lead over second-place Boston University in the standings to three points. The Wildcats are 11-1 in their last 12 games and have outscored the opposition 26-7 over their last three contests. Merrimack, which was outshot 50-26, dropped to 7-12-0 (2-7-0).
Darren Haydar (goal, two assists) Colin Hemingway (goal, two assists), David Busch (two goals, assist), Mike Lubesnick (career-high three assists), Jim Abbott (goal, two assists) and Tim Horst (goal, two assists) all had three-point nights for UNH. Haydar tied his career-high point streak (12 games) when he netted his 19th goal of the season 36 seconds into the contest to stake UNH to an early 1-0 lead. The senior captain, who leads the nation in scoring (19-29-47), has 14 goals and 21 assists over his last 12 games.
Leading 3-1 after the opening period, UNH scored three times in the middle stanza to break it open. Garrett Stafford and Sean Collins (one goal, one assist each) tallied goals in the first 2:59 of the middle period to make it 5-1 and forced the Warriors to use their timeout. Lubesnick sprung Abbott in alone on Exter for a goal later in the period to make it 6-1.
Hemingway, Busch, Patrick Foley (Milton, Mass.) and Horst all added third period goals for the Wildcats.
Haydar picked up his second point of the game, and the 100th assist of his career, at 3:27 of the first period when he curled around behind the Warriors net and slid a soft pass to linemate Steve Saviano (goal, assist) who converted for his fifth tally of the year to make the score 2-0. Busch scored his first of the night at 12:29 of the period on a spectacular one-on-one move. The sophomore broke over the Merrimack blueline, slid the puck through the legs of a Warriors defenseman before stepping around the blueliner and wristing a shot past netminder Joe Exter.
Former Wildcat Ryan Cordeiro scored the Warriors only goal at 7:12 of the first period on the power play. Cordeiro, who transferred to Merrimack before the start of last season, is second on the Warriors with 24 points on 13 goals and 11 assists this season. He tallied seven goals and 11 assists over his two seasons with the Wildcats.
Michael Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) finished with 23 saves in earning his sixth win of the year for the Wildcats. Senior Tim Collins (Lebanon, NH) played the final 4:42 in net for UNH, recording a career-high two saves. Exter finished with 26 saves in two periods for Merrimack before giving way to Jason Wolfe, who made 14 stops in the final period.
UNH will play just one game next weekend, a Hockey East matchup with Providence College next Sunday (Jan. 13) at the Whittemore Center. The game will be televised live by Fox Sports New England starting at 4 p.m.