DURHAM, N.H. – Kyle Smith (Lumberton, N.J.) and Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) each recorded a pair of goals Saturday night as the 13th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team skated past Acadia, 6-3, in an exhibition game at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats controlled play for most of the first period and broke the ice at 9:36 on the power play. Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) intercepted an Acadia pass and started a two-on-one break. He carried the puck into the offensive zone and committed the defender and slid the puck to Downing on the left slot for a wrister. The 'Cats held an 11-8 shot edge in the first.
UNH broke it open with four goals in the second period including a pair of goals in the final minute to take a 5-1 lead into the break. The first came just 46 seconds in as Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) scored on a power play slapper from the left point. Goumas and Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) assisted on the goal. Sophomore Kyle Smith (Lumberton, N.J.) netted the next two for the Wildcats sandwiching an Acadia tally. The first came when Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.) fed Smith in the neutral zone and he carried the puck into the zone and fired off a wrister past Evan Mosher at 15:27. The second came on a rebound scrum in front of the net at 19:16 with assists from Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) and Thrush. The Axeman scored in between Smith tallies as Scott Trask tucked a rebound effort in the lower right corner of the net at 16:36. Colin Archer and Travis Randell assisted on the goal. UNH added its fourth goal of the frame just 14 seconds after Smith made it 4-1. Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) stole a pass behind the Axemen net and slid it to Jamie Hill (Glassboro, N.J.), who buried a quick wrister at 19:30. The Wildcats held a slim 10-9 shot advantage and went 1-3 on the power play in the period.
After a feverish pace in the second period, paced slowed over the first half of the third period. The Axemen trimmed the lead to 5-2 as Liam Heelis scored at 7:35 of the period. However, UNH answered with a 4-on-3 power play goal at 9:23 to make it 6-2. Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) received a pass from Knodel behind the net. Kelleher then dished the puck to Downing who put it away with a one-timer. The Axemen cut New Hampshire's lead in half at 15:19 when Geoff Schemitsch centered the puck to Heelis in the slot. Heelis aimed his one time shot into the top left corner of the net. At the end of three periods of play, the Wildcats emerged victorious, 6-3.
Goaltenders Jeff Wyer (Reading, Mass.) and Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) split the game with Wyer playing 32:26 in net and DeSmith spending 27:18 on the ice. Wyer made saves on all 13 shots he faced while DeSmith made saves on 12 of 15 shots. Axemen netminder Evan Mosher made 22 saves on 28 shots faced through three periods of ice time.
On special teams, the Wildcats took advantage by scoring in three of seven power play opportunities. Acadia was shutdown by UNH's penalty kill unit as they went 0-for-5. The shot totals finished even at 28 apiece.
UNH opens the regular season in the Ice Breaker tournament Oct. 11-12 in Minneapolis, Minn. The Wildcats will play Clarkson University on Friday, Oct. 11 (5 p.m. EST) and will play either Minnesota or Mercyhurst on the second day of competion. New Hampshire's first home series is Oct. 18-19 against BIG-10 foe Michigan. For more information on season ticket packages and individual tickets, call (603) 862-4000, extension 5, or click here. For more information on the UNH hockey program, visit www.unhwildcats.com or follow UNH athletics on Twitter (@UNHWildcats).