NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – No. 2 University of New Hampshire men’s ice hockey team extended its season-high unbeaten streak to 11 games as it skated to a 1-1 tie in Saturday night’s Hockey East matchup with Merrimack College at the Thom Lawler Arena.
UNH moves to 22-7-3 overall and 18-4-3 in the league. Merrimack is now 12-16-4, 6-16-3.
Trailing 1-0, UNH tallied the equalizer at 4:34 in the third. Thomas Fortney (Webster Grove, Mo.) won a face off in the Merrimack zone to an open Mike Sislo (Superior, Wisc.) for a one-timer that beat Warrior netminder Andrew Braithwaite. It was just the third goal of the year for the freshman forward. The Wildcats had a 13-5 advantage in shots in the third.
The Warriors struck first taking advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity. UNH unsuccessful made an attempt to clear that puck that created an open look for Merrimack. Rob Ricci potted that tally at 13:56 of the first period with assists from J.C. Robitaille and Joe Cucci. Merrimack took advantage of a 3-0 power-play advantage with a commanding 19-9 shot edge in the first. The goal gave UNH its first deficit since the first period of its Feb. 8 game at Maine.
In a scoreless second period both teams had opportunity. Perhaps the best opportunities came during UNH’s three power-play opportunities including a 35 second 5-3 opportunity. Both teams had eight shots in the period.
In the overtime period the Wildcats held a 5-2 shot advantage giving them a slim 36-35 advantage for the game.
UNH goaltender Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.), who made just his sixth start of the season and his first since Jan. 6 against St. Lawrence, stopped 34 shots, including 18 in the opening stanza. Foster evens up at 2-2-2. Braithwaite stopped 30 shots and its now 8-9-2.
New Hampshire, which is now 13-0-1 in its last 14 against league foes, conclude the regular season at home next weekend, March 7-8, with a two-game series vs. the University of Vermont. Friday’s game begins at 8 p.m. (CSTV) and Saturday’s Senior Day game has a seven o’clock start time (NHPTV).