BOSTON – The University of New Hampshire men's hockey team netted back-to-back goals early in the third period to force overtime, but it would not be enough, as the Wildcats fell to rival Maine, 5-4, in the 2012 Sunlife Frozen Fenway on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
New Hampshire moves to 6-11-2 with a 4-8-1 mark in Hockey East, while Maine improves to 10-7-2 overall and 6-7-1 in league play. The game was played in front of a UNH program record crowd of 38,456. Earlier in the day, UMass captured a 3-2 overtime win over UVM in the first game of the doubleheader.
After sophomore Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) and freshman Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) posted consecutive goals in the span of 1:33 to pull UNH even at 4-4 and eventually force overtime, Maine's Brian Flynn scored at 1:29 in extra time, deflecting a pass by Joey Diamond to lift the Black Bears to victory.
Freshman Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) stopped 28 shots in net for UNH, while Dan Sullivan posted 20 saves for the Black Bears. Goumas led UNH with a pair of tallies in the contest.
UNH struck just 1:05 into the contest as John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) scored on the rebound of a Downing backhanded. Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) also assisted on the goal. The Black Bears answered with a power play goal at 4:10 as Mark Anthoine scored with an assist from Kyle Beattie. Maine held a 10-7 shot edge and went 1-1 on the power play, while UNH was 0-2 in the man advantage.
Despite a 5-on-3 advantage by Maine midway through the second period, New Hampshire reclaimed the lead at 11:27 as Goumas picked off a pass in Black Bear territory and scored a shorthanded goal in right side of the net, pushing the Wildcats on top, 2-1.
UNH's lead did not last long, however, as Maine netted back-to-back power play goals over the next 50 seconds. Joey Diamond scored first at 11:44, assisted by Spencer Abbott and Will O'Neill, while Anthoine posted his second tally of the contest less than a minute later at 12:34. Shemansky and Kyle Beattie were credited with assists on the second goal.
Maine added another goal 13 seconds into the third stanza as Diamond netted his second of the game, giving the Black Bears the 4-2 lead.
Facing a two-goal deficit early in the third frame, New Hampshire responded with a pair of goals over the next 4:20 of action, scoring consecutive goals in the span of 1:33. Goumas began the rally at 3:00 with his second tally of the game as he fielded a backhanded pass by senior Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) and hit the timely shot to trim the lead to one at 4-3. Freshman Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) was also credited with an assist on the play.
UNH kept up the attack with another goal at 4:33 as Downing deflected in a shot by Silengo to even up the score at 4-4.
The teams then skated into overtime as UNH held a 13-8 shot advantage in the third period.
Flynn went on to score his 11th goal of the season in overtime, flipping in Diamond's pass for the win, while Abbott earned a helper on the play.
UNH returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 11 when it travels to Hockey East foe Providence College (7 p.m.). The Wildcats will play in-state rival Dartmouth College on Saturday, Jan. 14 (7 p.m.) at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester and their next home game is Saturday, Jan. 21 against Merrimack College. Tickets to the Dartmouth and Merrimack games are available online at www.UNHWildcats.com.