ESTERO, Fla.— Senior defenseman Chris Murray (Dover, Mass.) tied a career-high with three points, including the game-winning goal to help the No. 2 ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to a 5-2 win over Western Michigan of the CCHA in the consolation game of the Florida College Classic on Saturday afternoon at Germain Arena.
UNH struck three times in the third period to seal the win for the Wildcats. Murray scored the game-winning goal on the shorthand at 7:38 of the period, while senior forward Brett Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.) posted his sixth goal of the season at 12:06. Junior forward Matt Forntaro (Calgary, Alberta) capped the scoring with 3:51 left in the game for his second goal of the game and ninth of the season. Western Michigan scored its only two goals in the third period at 17:50 by Brian Bicek and Kevin Labatte at 18:41.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead into the locker room at the end of the first period. UNH got on the board only 58 seconds into the first period as Fornataro scored his eighth goal of the season as he beat the goalie glove side with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. Sophomore forward Trevor Smith (North Vancouver, B.C.) and Murray earned assists on the Fornataro tally. Junior forward Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) scored on a wrist shot from the left side of the slot on a pass from senior forward Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba). Murray was also credited with the assist to give the ‘Cats a two-goal cushion at the end of one period.
Junior goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) stopped all 32 shots by the Broncos in the win, including 13 Western Michigan shots in the opening period. Sophomore goalie Kirk Manke (Clifton Park, N.Y.) played the final 3:51 in his first career appearance as a Wildcat. Bronco netminder Daniel Bellissimo totaled 27 saves in the losing effort. UNH’s penalty kill stopped all 10 power play chances by the Broncos, which included three 5x3 power plays.
In the first period, Western Michigan outshot UNH, 13-12, while the teams went scoreless in the second frame.
The Wildcats return to the ice on Friday, Jan. 5 at Vermont. Game time at Gutterson Field House is 7:30 p.m. in Burlington, Vt. The game will be televised live by the New England Sports Network (NESN) in the opening game of the Hockey East television package.