MANCHESTER, N.H. -- No. 5 ranked University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team handed the University of Maine, the the No.2 ranked team in the country, its second loss in Hockey East play with a score of 4-2, in front of a sold out crowd at the Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday night.
The Wildcats (18-5-3, 12-3-1 HE) took the early lead as senior assistant captain Lanny Gare (Vernon, B.C.) scored his 15th goal of the season at 15:26 of the first period when he redirected a shot from taken from junior Mike Lubesnick (Northbrook, Ill.) at the point. Senior assitant captain Colin Hemingway (Surrey, B.C) had the second assist.
In the second period, the play was fast and the goals came often. Maine (20-3-4, 10-2-3) evened up the game at 1-1, when Lucas Lawson scored on the power play at 7:02. Francis Nault and Martin Kariya had the assists. Two minutes later at 9:42, UNH regained the lead at 2-1 when junior Nathan Martz (Chilliwack, B.C.) scored his ninth goal of the year. Junior Steve Saviano (Reading, Mass.) and senior Kevin Truelson (Avon, Mass.) were credited with the helpers.
The Black Bears battled back again, scoring Maine's second goal at 18:01 as Greg Moore netted his 13th of the year and tying the game at 2-2. Tom Reimann and Lawson assisted on the goal. However, the Wildcats would take lead once again with just 26 seconds remaining in the second period. Sophomore Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) scored his 14th of the year and eventually the game winner, when he roofed the puck over the glove side of Maine netminder Jim Howard on a pass from Saviano.
Late in the final frame, UNH took a two-goal led when Gare potted his second goal of the evening unassisted with 3:05 to play in the game to secure the win.
New Hampshire's netminder junior Mike Ayers made 31 saves for his 17th win of the season. Maine's Howard made 39 saves in only his second loss of the season.
The Wildcats face off against interstate rivals, the Maine Black Bears, Sunday night in the second game of the weekend at the Whittemore Center Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m.