#4 Men's Hockey Captures 3-1 Win Over Massachusetts
AMHERST, Mass. – With the game tied 1-1 late in the third period, the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team scored goals 45 seconds apart at 14:59 and 15:44 to earn Saturday night's 3-1 Hockey East victory against Massachusetts at Mullins Center.
UNH improved to 12-3-4 overall and 10-1-2 in Hockey East to remain atop the league standings. The 'Cats have now won five-straight games in Hockey East. Massachusetts falls to 3-11-3, 2-6-3 in Hockey East.
Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.; 1g, 1a) scored the eventual game-winner at 14:59 with a forehand shot that beat UMass netminder Paul Dainton short-side. The play was setup by a nifty behind-the-back pass by Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.; 1g, 1a), who added to his league-best 31 points. Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) also assisted on the goal, he and DeSimone are tied for the league's lead in assists with 18 helpers. New Hampshire wasted little time to get its insurance as Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.; 1g, 1a) fired a one-timer past Dainton from the center slot. Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) and Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) were credited with assists on the goal. UMass would pull Dainton in favor of an extra skater for the final 38 seconds, but were unable to draw closer. The 'Cats held a 12-11 edge for the period and a 35-34 advantage for the contest.
UMass came out of the gate strong in the first with five of the game's seven shots, including a sprawled out save by Matt DiGirolamo (Ambler, Pa.) at 4:41 of the period. The Wildcats took control in the final half of the period outshooting the Minutemen 14-6 over the rest of the frame breaking the deadlock with a goal by Thompson at 18:56 of the first. Thompson collected a tape-to-tape pass from DeSimone and fired a one-timer past UMass netminder Paul Dainton who was moving left-to-right. Kessel also assisted on the goal. The 'Cats held a 16-11 shot edge, but were 0-2 on the power play.
UMass appeared to have the equalizer with a power play goal at 4:20 of the second period, but after review, the Michale Lecomte tally was taken off the board. The Minutemen wasted little time, however, scored a 5-on-3 goal just 32 seconds later as Adam Phillips scored with assists from Joel Hanley and Danny Hobbs at 4:52 of the second. Massachusetts held a 12-7 shot advantage thanks in part to three power play opportunities in the frame.
The Minutemen were 1-6 overall on the power play, while UNH was 0-3 in its extra-skater opportunities.
DiGirolamo stopped 11 shots in each period, 33 overall, and improves to 12-3-4 overall, while Dainton turned aside 32 shots including 15 in the first frame and moves to 3-6-2 overall.
New Hampshire returns to action when it battles intrastate rival Dartmouth College in the Battle for the RiverStone Cup at the Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester, N.H.) on Jan. 15 (7 p.m.). UNH's next home game is Jan. 21 (7 p.m.) against Providence College. Tickets to the Battle for the RiverStone Cup and all UNH home game are available online at www.UNHWildcats.com.