AMHERST, Mass. - New Hampshire scored two goals in a four-minute span in the third period, and then held off a UMass rally late in the game to defeat the Minutemen, 4-3, in Hockey East action on Sunday. The loss, UMass' third in a row, drops its record to 13-10-1 overall and 7-8-0 in Hockey East, good for a tie for fourth place.
UMass wasted little time getting on the board. Mike Warner (Waltham, Mass.) fired a shot at UNH goalie Mike Ayers that kicked off to the left that Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) rebounded and stuck the puck under the crossbar for his 12th goal of the year, just 51 seconds into the contest. Tim Turner (Saginaw, Mich.) also assisted on the goal. The goal for Mauldin earned him his 50th career point at UMass.
However, New Hampshire answered midway in the first period when Sean Collins capped off a 2-on-1 break, by sticking the puck into the back of the net past a diving Michael Waidlich (Millers Falls, Mass.) at the 13:03 mark to knot the score at 1-1. The Wildcats then went up 2-1 late in the second period, when Nathan Martz scored in a pile-up in front of the net. Martz poked the puck out of Waidlich's glove as he had it covered, and slid it into the back of the net at the 17:10 mark of second stanza.
UMass countered when Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) scored his 12th goal of the season just 1:33 into the third period. Pöck let loose a slapshot from just inside the blue line that beat a screened Ayers five-hole to tie the game at 2-2. But UNH responded just 27 seconds later when Jim Abbott scored during another pile-up in front of UMass goalie Michael Waidlich. Waidlich appeared to have the puck covered, but Abbott found an opening and slid it past the freshman goaltended for a 3-2 advantage. UNH increased the lead to 4-2 at the 5:46 mark when Joshua Prudden finished off a pretty 3-on-1 break by putting away his sixth goal of the year with assists from Lanny Gare and Colin Hemingway. Prudden scored as Gare sent over a scoring pass in front of Waidlich, that appeared out of reach. Prudden, however, got a stick and the puck and flipped it high as Waidlich was sliding to get across.
But UMass wasn't done, and narrowed the margin to 4-3 when Chris Capraro (Medford, Mass.) deflected a Marvin Degon slapshot for his fourth tally of the season. Capraro deflected the puck top-shelf as Ayers was going down to block Degon's shot. Pöck also assisted on the goal.
The goal sparked life in the Minutemen, as they started to pepper Ayers with several tight shots. However, the junior goalie stood tall and held the Minutemen at bay the rest of the way to preserve the 4-3 victory.