ORONO, Maine – The University of New Hampshire men's hockey team fell by a score of 4-2 Saturday night at the University of Maine. Brett Pesce (Tarrytown, N.Y.) and Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) each recorded a goal for the Wildcats.
New Hampshire fell to 14-13-1 overall and to 6-6-0 in Hockey East play while Maine improved to 12-9-3 overall and to 6-4-2 in league action.
Pesce gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead just 4:16 into the opening period with a blast from just inside the blueline that sailed through traffic and past Maine netminder Martin Ouellette on a UNH power play. Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) laced a pass across the ice to forward Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.). Goumas found the tape of Pesce's stick who in turn found the back of the net. The goal was Pesce's second of the season.
Maine's Devin Shore tied the score at 1-1 at the 6:28 mark of the period on a scrum in front of the net. Ben Hutton played a pass over to Mark Anthoine in the Wildcat zone. Anthoine was able to find Shore in the slot who then found the back of the net for the tying goal.
Maine kept knocking on UNH's door, however netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) kept the Black Bears at bay as he made a total of 10 saves on 11 shots faced in the period. UNH took advantage on 1-of-2 power play opportunities in the period while holding Maine without a power play goal on three chances.
Sorkin gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead with 5:46 remaining in the second period as he scored his team-leading 15th goal of the year. Senior Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) grabbed the puck in the Wildcat zone and passed it up along the boards to Goumas in the neutral zone. Goumas redirected the puck to Sorkin who came blazing in on the right side. Sorkin fired a wrist shot at the Maine net that Ouellette got a piece of, however could not stop the shot as it went into the back of the net.
Moments later, the Black Bears nearly tied the game as Blaine Byron got the puck into the net, but the call was immediately waived off on the ice. After an official review, the call on the ice stood as no goal.
With under five minutes to play, Goumas controlled the puck just feet away from the Maine net to the left of Ouellette. He ripped a shot above the glove of Ouellette that rung the post. Seconds later on the other side of the ice, Maine's Mark Anthoine rung the post of the UNH net and the shot deflected behind the net.
With two periods in the books, UNH held a 2-1 lead.
After 2:29 of play in the third period, Maine tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Eric Schurhamer. Shore played a neutral zone pass across the ice to Schurhamer who received the puck just inside of the blueline. Schurhamer fired a shot through traffic that found the back of the net. The play was called for a review, but the call on the ice stood as a goal.
The Black Bears took their first lead of the weekend with 10:52 remaining in the third period as Ryan Lomberg received a pass from Shore that he put away with a one-time shot. Hutton started the play as he gathered the puck and played it to the top of the left faceoff circle in the Wildcat zone for Shore. Shore sent a pass to the opposite faceoff circle where Lomberg was able to fire the one-time shot off the inside of the pipe and into the net.
Shore tried to extend the Black Bear lead with under seven minutes to play as he stole the puck in the neutral zone and skated in on a breakaway. He tried to beat DeSmith low and away, however the netminder stood his ground and denied the attempt.
With just over a minute left to play in the third period, the Wildcats pulled DeSmith for the extra skater advantage. With play in the Maine zone, Shore was able to thwart the UNH attack and pass the puck up the ice to Morgan. Morgan took the puck into the Wildcat zone and put puck in the back of the net for the empty-net goal.
DeSmith finished the game with 33 saves on 36 shots faced, however was credited with the loss. His record falls to 12-11-0 on the year. Ouellette made 23 saves in the game on 25 shots faced. His record improves to 11-9-3. The Wildcats went 1-for-3 on the power play while holding Maine scoreless in four attempts.
The Wildcats return to the ice at home on Friday, Jan. 31 as they host league foe Notre Dame. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.