Collins scores two goals in Wildcat victory
DURHAM, N.H. - The seventh-ranked New Hampshire Wildcats, thanks to Jeff Pietrasiak's (Shrewsbury, Mass.) first career shutout and the offense of the Sean Collins-Preston Callander-Brett Hemingway line, defeated the Massachusetts Minutemen, 4-0, Thursday night at the Whittemore Center.
New Hampshire took advantage of an UMass penalty late in the second period to score the first goal of the game. At 19:37 of the second period, Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba) took a centering pass from Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ontario) and, after an initial shot, punched the rebound past Minuteman goaltender Gabe Winer for his fifth goal of the season. UNH defenseman Brian Yandle (Milton, Mass.) was also credited with an assist on the play.
The Wildcats extended their lead early in the third period, when Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) gathered the rebound from a Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) shot and sent a wrist shot into the upper portion of the net. The goal, Collins' sixth of the season, came at 4:18 of the third period. Callander and linemate Brett Hemingway (Surrey, British Columbia) were given assists on the goal.
UNH earned its second power-play goal of the game with 6:38 left in the third period, when Collins put a shot between Winer's legs for his second goal of the game, assisted by Robbie Barker (Concord, N.H) and Craig Switzer (Peachland, B.C.). The exclamation point came with 1:01 left, when Collins and Hemingway set up Callander for his seventh goal of the season.
Pietrasiak saved 17 Minuteman shots on his way to picking up the Wildcats' first shutout since Mike Ayers shut out Brown on January 17, 2004. Winer made 23 saves for UMass in a losing effort.
Before the first Wildcat goal, the Minutemen had the best chances of the second period. First, right winger Stephen Werner collected a UNH turnover and took a shot which went wide left. Later in the period, UMass's Tim Vitek had a golden opportunity, taking advantage of another Wildcat turnover in front of the net, but his point-blank shot went left. In the first period, New Hampshire outshot Massachusetts, 11-4, and had four centering passes nearly connect. The best chance came with 9:23 left in the period, when Barker found a streaking Callander in the UMass zone, but Winer covered up the puck before Callander could corral it.
The Wildcats will host the U.S. National Under-18 Team in an exhibition game on Saturday, December 11, at 2 p.m. at the Whittemore Center. After that game, UNH does not play at home again until a conference match with Providence on January 8, 2005.