Men's Hockey edges #20 Maine, 3-2
DURHAM, N.H. – Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) recorded a goal and an assist to propel the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Saturday night's 3-2 Hockey East victory against 20th-ranked University of Maine at the Whittemore Center.
UNH won its fourth consecutive game – all during a four-game homestand -- to improve to 4-4-1 overall and 3-3-0 in Hockey East. Maine is now 3-4-1, 3-3-0.
UNH goaltender Matt Di Girolamo (Ambler, Pa.) recorded 13 saves in both the first and second periods en route to a 31-save effort. Maine goalie Martin Ouellette stopped 10 shots in both the first and third, and made 25 saves overall.
The Wildcats scored a goal early in the first period and took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Jay Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) initiated and finished the scoring sequence. He dropped the puck for Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) in the right corner, and Block made a pass behind the net to Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.). Goumas threw the puck in front of the net and Camper lifted a shot past Ouellette into the cage. It marked Camper's first career point.
Maine generated a pair of dangerous scoring chances midway through the opening stanza. From the slot, Stu Higgins snapped a wrist shot that whistled wide left of the net. One minute later, Joey Diamond led a 3-on-2 odd-man rush down the left wing and, from the circle, directed the puck to the slot. Brian Flynn controlled the pass and fired a shot that was enveloped by De Girolamo's torso. In the 16th minute, Ryan Hegarty's slap shot from the right point sailed through traffic, but Di Girolamo extended his right leg pad for the kick save.
New Hampshire scored 25 seconds into the second period to extend the lead to 2-0. From behind the net, Sorkin slid the puck to Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) at the left post and he beat Ouellette short-side. Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, British Columbia) was also credited with an assist. For Sorkin, it extended his point-scoring streak to seven games.
In the fourth minute, Maine's Kyle Beattie fired a shot from the left faceoff dot that hit Di Girolamo and the puck trickled towards the goal line, but UNH's goalie turned and fell on the loose puck before Beattie could get a stick on it. Moments later, Beattie's crossing pass found Diamond in the right circle, but Di Girolamo slid across the crease to turn aside that scoring opportunity.
The 'Cats went on the counterattack and Speelman's shot from deep in the right circle beat Ouellette but ricocheted off the near post.
Sorkin's power-play goal at 7:54 of the middle stanza gave the 'Cats a 3-0 advantage. Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) threw the puck towards the crease from deep on the right wing and it eluded Ouellette. Sorkin, alone in front, chipped a shot into the open net for his team-leading fifth goal of the season. Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) also earned an assist on the tally.
Maine pulled within 3-1 at 13:50 when Spencer Abbott scored from a scrum in front of the net. Jon Swavely and Beattie were credited with assists.
The Black Bears trimmed the deficit to 3-2 at 5:14 of the third period. Diamond carried the puck through the neutral zone and advanced the puck to Abbott on the left wing, and his shot went between De Girolamo's leg pads. Flynn was also credited with an assist.
In the 12th minute, with Maine on the power play, Hegarty was set up for the backdoor play at the left post, but he lifted a shot wide left of the cage.
Four minutes later, UNH's Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) led a charge down the left wing and his centering pass to the low slot was redirected on net by the oncoming Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia), but Ouellette made the stop.
UNH went on the power play with 2:51 remaining and Ouellette kept the Black Bears within one goal when he denied Moses twice from point-blank range.
The Wildcats iced the puck with 30 seconds remaining, prompting them to call time out. Maine pulled Ouellette in favor of an extra skater at that time. Flynn's shot off the faceoff was blocked by Hardowa and Block iced the puck to create another faceoff in UNH's defensive zone with 11.7 seconds remaining.
Maine called time out at that point and Klas Leidermark won the ensuing draw for the visitors. Two more shot attempts were blocked by Wildcat skaters and the puck moved diagonally from the top-right circle towards the left post, where Abbott could not connect with a bouncing puck and the waning seconds ran off the clock.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 12 (7 p.m.) at the University of Vermont. The Wildcats' next home game is Nov. 18 against UMass-Lowell. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.