Micflikier earns hat trick, Aikins picks up goal, four assists
DURHAM, N.H. - Behind three goals from Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and five points from Justin Aikins (Surrey, B.C.), the eighth-ranked New Hampshire Wildcats posted their most decisive win of the season, defeating the Massachusetts Minutemen, 8-1, Friday night at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats jumped on the board at 4:38 of the first period when Robbie Barker (Concord, N.H.) collected the rebound of an Aikins missed shot and sent a wrist shot from the right point. Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ontario) tipped the puck past UMass goalie Tim Warner for his 11th goal of the season.
After a UMass penalty was called, the Minutemen missed on a two-on-one shorthanded chance, allowing UNH to go on the counterattack. Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) sent a pass onto the tape of Brett Hemingway's (Surrey, B.C.) stick, and Hemingway put the puck into the net for his 17th goal of the season at 11:47 of the first period. At 16:48 of the first period, Brian Yandle (Milton, Mass.) sent a shot from the center of the blue line that Micflikier deflected in for his 12th goal of the season.
The Wildcats continued the offensive onslaught in the second period, beginning with a power play goal by Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) off a Yandle assist 55 seconds into the period. At the 7:02 mark, Collins stole the puck from a UMass player and made a fake to get past the defender and put the puck into the net for his second goal of the game and his 14th score of the season.
After Micflikier scored off his own rebound at the 8:30 mark of the period, Warner was pulled in favor of Michael Waidlich. Waidlich saw his first shot 29 seconds after he entered the game, a wrist shot from Aikins that found the five-hole for UNH's seventh goal of the game.
Micflikier earned the third hat trick of his career when he snuck behind the UMass defense and was wide open for an Aikins long pass, bringing the puck into the zone and putting it past Waidlich. Freshman Brad Flaishans (Glendale, Ariz.) picked up assists on UNH's seventh and eighth goals of the night.
Freshman goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) improved his record this season to 9-1, stopping 16 of the 17 shots he faced. The only goal scored by the Minutemen came from P.J. Fenton at 4:23 of the third period. With the victory, the Wildcats, now 19-7-3 overall and 12-3-2 in Hockey East, are one win away from their ninth consecutive 20-win season. The next UNH victory will also tie head coach Dick Umile with Charlie Holt for the most victories in school history. The Minutemen fall to 11-17-2, 5-12-2 in conference play.
New Hampshire and Massachusetts will complete their three-game regular season series tomorrow night at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised by CN8, the Comcast Channel.