DURHAM, N.H. – Justin Aikins (South Surrey, B.C.) scored with 41 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire hockey team to Saturday night’s 3-2 Hockey East victory against the 12th-ranked University of Massachusetts at the Whittemore Center.
UNH improved to 16-10-3 overall and 8-6-3 in Hockey East while UMass is now 16-6-5, 12-4-2.
Aikins scored the game-winning goal on a rebound in front off a slap shot from the left point by Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.). Tyson Teplitsky (Saskatoon, Sask.) set up the game-winning tally with a crossing pass from the right dashers in the neutral zone.
UNH goaltender Mike Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) made 25 saves, including one in the extra session. UMass’ Gabe Winer made two of his 23 saves in overtime.
Following a scoreless first period in which the shots were even at 10, UNH took a 1-0 lead on a Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ont.) power-play goal at 9:12 of the middle stanza. The initial shot by Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) was blocked by a Minuteman defenseman, then Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Man.) centered the puck to Winnik, who scored on his own rebound in front by hitting the puck in mid-air.
UMass evened the score, 1-1, with 35 seconds remaining in the second period. Moments after the Minutemen’s power play expired, Greg Mauldin’s slap shot from the high slot was redirected into the net by Tim Vitek.
Callander put the Wildcats back in front, 2-1 at 6:09 of the third period when he scored on a rebound at the top of the crease. Micflikier and Winnik, whose initial shot from the right circle was stopped by Winer, were credited with assists.
The Minutemen pressured in the closing minutes of the game and forced overtime when Nick Kuiper scored on a rebound in front with 1:37 remaining in regulation. Thomas Pock, who was denied from close range by Ayers, and Mauldin recorded assists.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 13 (7 p.m.) at UMass-Lowell. The next Wildcat home game is Feb. 14 vs. UML. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.