DURHAM, N.H. – Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period and also recorded two assists to lift the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Saturday night’s 4-3 Hockey East victory against 14th-ranked Providence College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) to improve to 19-7-2 overall and 15-4-2 in the league. Providence, which skated to a 1-1 tie vs. the Wildcats Friday night at home, is now 13-11-4, 10-7-4. UNH is now unbeaten in its last 11 in Hockey East play (10-0-1).
Radja’s linemate, Danny Dries (Lake Orion, Mich.) tallied three points, all on assists, to finish with personal bests in both assists and points. UNH goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) finished with 37 saves, including 16 in the second period. PC counterpart Tyler Sims had double-digit saves all three periods (10-12-11) for a total of 33. Dries has recorded a point in his last six games, while Radja currently owns seven-game streak and has tallied a point 10 of his last 11.
With the Wildcats leading 3-2 at the start of the third period, Jordan Kremyr pulled the Friars even at 11:28 with his first career goal. Regan stopped Kyle MacKinnon’s initial shot from the left circle, but the rebound went directly to Kremyr in the slot and he wristed a shot into the net.
PC was whistled for a major at 14:30 and UNH called time out at 16:22 – with 3:09 remaining on that infraction. Radja gave the ‘Cats their third lead of the game with what proved to be the game-winning goal at 17:00. Dries, at the right post, moved the puck back to the point for Radja, who swung the puck to Craig Switzer (Peachland, British Columbia) at the high slot. Switzer sent a quick return pass to Switzer, whose shot from the top of the right circle beat Sims.
The visitors called time out with 55.4 seconds to play and killed off the remainder of the penalty time on the major. They pulled Sims in favor of an extra skater with 21 seconds on the clock and a last-second wraparound attempt by Nick Mazzolini was thwarted by Regan at the right post.
UNH took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Joe Charlebois (Potsdam, N.Y.) – his first of the season – at 3:59 and Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) at 13:45. Charlebois collected a pass from Radja at the right point, and his shot fluttered through traffic into the net; Dries was also credited with an assist.
Fornataro netted his fifth power-play goal of the season when Dries, just off the right post, snapped a pass across the crease to his unmarked teammate. Switzer initiated that scoring sequence with a pass from the high slot to Radja, who in turn slid the puck from the right point down low to Dries.
The Friars stormed back to tie the score, 2-2, in the second period. Nick Mazzolini trimmed the deficit to one with a power-play goal at 1:28. Cody Wild carried the puck along the right half-boards and executed a centering pass to Mazzolini, who snapped a wrist shot into the net. Pierce Norton evened the score at13:44 when he collected Joe Lavin’s pass and fired a shot from the inner-right circle inside the near post.
UNH regained the lead, 3-2, 2:04 later on an extra-attacker goal by Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) as the ‘Cats pulled Regan on a delayed penalty call against the Friars. The initial shot from the left point by Jamie Fritsch (Odenton, Md.) was blocked by the defense, but Greg Collins (Fairport, N.Y.) collected the puck in the slot and fired a shot that was turned aside by Sims. Sislo corralled the rebound at the left post and scored.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 22 (7:30 p.m.) at Boston College on NESN. The Wildcats’ next home game is Feb. 23 (7 p.m.) against BC.