Wildcats take 1-0 series lead in best-of-three quarterfinals
DURHAM, N.H. - Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) recorded four points with a goal and three assists to propel the10th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Thursday night's 6-1 victory and a 1-0 series lead in the best-of three Hockey East quarterfinal series against Northeastern University at the Whittemore Center.
UNH, the third seed after tying for second place in the regular-season standings, improved to 23-9-5 by extending its unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-2) vs. the Huskies. Northeastern, the sixth seed of the Hockey East Championship, is now 15-17-5.
Brett Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.; two goals, assist) and Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.; goal, two assists) both finished with three points for the 'Cats and Brian Yandle (Milton, Mass.) also had a multiple-point effort with one goal and one assist.
Trailing 1-0 at the start of the second period, UNH netted four goals in the second stanza, including three straight on the power play, to build a 4-1 advantage. Standing near the left post, Callander redirected Collins' shot from the left point to pull the Wildcats even at 3:51. Hemingway netted the first of his two goals in the period when he scored on a rebound from the left post at 9:43 to give UNH a 2-1 lead. Brian Yandle (Milton, Mass.), whose initial shot from the left point caromed off Callander and was stopped by NU goaltender Keni Gibson, was credited with an assist.
Yandle increased the Wildcats' advantage to3-1 when his screened shot from the high slot sailed into the net at 13:59. Callander won the puck along the right dashers and Collins touched the puck to Yandle at the high slot.
Hemingway gave New Hampshire a 4-1 lead at 18:10 as he collected a cross-ice pass from Craig Switzer (Peachland, B.C.) and fired a shot from the top of the right circle into the net.
The 'Cats, who generated a 37-17 shot advantage through two periods, scored twice more in the third period. Collins, with the assistance of Hemingway and Callander, gave UNH a 5-1 lead at 9:28 and Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba), off a feed from Robbie Barker (Concord, N.H.), scored on a breakaway as he roofed a close-range shot at 13:03.
UNH goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) finished with 24 saves. BU's Gibson stopped 34 shots and exited the game after surrendering UNH's fifth goal. Adam Geragosian allowed one goal and was credited with three saves in the final 10:32.
For the third consecutive home game, the Wildcats controlled play early in the game and generated a number of dangerous scoring chances. Also for the third consecutive game, however, the 'Cats did not score and the visiting team took advantage of its opportunity to take a 1-0 lead. Standing at the top of the crease, Northeastern's Steve Sanders collected Bryan Esner's centering pass and quickly fired a low shot into the net at 5:34. Jason Blain was also credited with an assist.
UNH and Northeastern continue the best-of-three quarterfinal series Friday night at the Whittemore Center. If necessary, the third game will be Saturday night, also at the Whittemore Center. Both games will start at 7 p.m.