DURHAM, N.H. - Billy Ryan scored two goals and Jimmy Howard recorded 28 saves to lead the 15th-ranked University of Maine men's hockey team to Friday night's 3-1 Hockey East victory against the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire at the Whittemore Center.
UNH is now 17-7-3 overall and 10-3-2 in Hockey East. Maine moved ahead of the Wildcats in the league standings by improving to 15-8-6, 10-3-4. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie through one period of play. UNH took a 1-0 lead at 12:39 on a Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) goal. Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) began the scoring sequence with a pass from the left point to Chris Murray (Dover, Mass.) deep in the right circle. Murray drew the defense and centered the puck to Callander at the top of the crease, and he shot into an open net.
Maine tied the score, 1-1, at 16:45 by capitalizing on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Keenan Hopson carried the puck through the neutral zone and left a drop pass in the slot for Billy Ryan, who fired a shot under the crossbar. Rob Bellamy, who poked the puck forward to Hopson, was also credited with an assist.
The Black Bears netted a pair of second-period goals to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission. Ryan, behind the UNH defense, picked up a loose puck deep in the right circle, cut to the front of the net and scored on a low shot to score his second goal of the game and give Maine a 2-1 lead at 6:55. Brett Tyler extended the lead to 3-1 at 10:16 when his screened shot from the left point caromed off the shoulder of UNH goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak (Shrewsbury, Mass.) into the net.
Maine still led by that two-goal margin when the visitors called time out with 3:21 remaining in the third period. UNH followed with a timeout 30 seconds later and pulled Pietrasiak in favor of an extra skater. The Wildcats gained a two-skater advantage when a Black Bear skater was sent to the penalty box at 17:50. Howard made four of his 11 third-period saves the rest of the way to keep the 'Cats at bay.
Pietrasiak finished with 21 saves.
New Hampshire and Maine conclude the two-game weekend series Feb. 5 at the Whittemore Center. The game, telecast by New Hampshire Public Television, begins at 7 p.m.