January 29, 2010

#12 MEN'S HOCKEY EDGED BY MERRIMACK COLLEGE, 3-2

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) recorded a goal and an assist and Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) stopped 40 shots, but the 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team fell to Merrimack College 3-2 on Friday night in Hockey East action at Lawler Arena.

UNH, which sees its Hockey East unbeaten streak of 11-games (9-0-2) come to an end, moves to 12-8-4 overall, 11-3-3 and first place in Hockey East. MC is now 9-13-0, 6-9-0 HE including a 9-1-0 mark at home.

With the game tied 2-2 at the end of two, the Warriors scored the eventual game winner just 29 seconds into the third period as Karl Stollery scored his second goal of the game on the rebound of a Stephane Da Costa shot. Da Costa would finish the night with helpers on two Merrimack goals. The Warriors held an 18-8 shot advantage in the period.

Merrimack drew first blood as Chris Barton scored on a two-on-one opportunity at 6:43 of the first. Jeff Velleca and Stephane Da Costa each tallied assists on the goal. Merrimack held a 13-11 shot advantage in an even-played first.

New Hampshire responded just 49 seconds into the second period taking advantage of a 5-3 opportunity as Butler scored on an odd-angle shot from the right of netminder Andrew Braithwaite that bounced in off the netminder’s back pads. The goal was assisted by Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) and Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) Merrimack regained the lead with a power play goal of its own as Stollery scored with assists from J.C. Robitaille and Barton at 11:17. The Wildcats tied it up with less than three seconds left in the second period as Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) scored off the rebound of a Butler shot. Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) was also credited with an assist on the equalizer. Merrimack held a slim 12-11 shot advantage, while each team was 1-3 on the power play in the frame.

Foster falls to 11-8-4 overall, despite turning away 40 Warrior shots including 17 in the third period. Merrimack’s Andrew Braithwaite improves to 6-4-0 on the season as he turned away 28 UNH shots.

UNH was 1-5 on the power play, while Merrimack was 1-7 in its extra-skater opportunities. The Warriors held a 43-30 shot advantage on the night.

The two teams complete the home-and-home series Saturday night at the Whittemore Center (7 p.m.). For more information on UNH hockey including live stats, live video, tickets and live audio log onto www.UNHWildcats.com.

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