Men's Hockey Edges Past UMass, 4-3, Clinches Playoff Berth
AMHERST, Mass. – Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) stopped a career-high 48 shots, while Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) registered a career-high two goals to lift the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to a 4-3 win against the University of Massachusetts in Friday night's Hockey East action at the Mullins Center.
UNH improves to 14-15-3 overall and 11-12-2 in Hockey East. UMass falls to 11-15-5, 7-13-4 HE. The Wildcats move into sixth place in the league standings and punch their ticket to the Hockey East postseason for a league-best 24th-straight season.
In addition to van Riemsdyk, Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) finished with a goal and two assists, while six other Wildcats factored in scoring.
New Hampshire struck first just 6:30 in as van Riemsdyk scored on a one-timer from the right point that went in past a shielded Kevin Boyle in the Massachusetts net. Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) and Jay Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) assisted on the all-freshmen goal. It was Willows first collegiate point and the first collegiate assist from both Camper and Willows. Each team had several other chances including 13 shots apiece in the frame, but could not capitalize.
UNH doubled its lead as van Riemsdyk scored his second of the game from the right point. Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) and Goumas assisted on the goal at 4:44. UMass cut into the lead with a power play goal at 11:14 of the second. Conor Sheary scored his 10th goal of the season on the rebound with just two seconds remaining on the man-advantage. Steven Guzzo and Darren Rowe assisted on the goal. UMass controlled play for the final 10 minutes of the period holding a 25-5 shot lead in the frame.
UMass got the equalizer at 4:47 of the third with a 4-on-4 goal. Joel Hanley netted his fifth of the season with assists from Michael Pereira and Sheary. The Wildcats answered with goals just 17 seconds apart at 7:15 and 7:32. Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) tapped in a nifty Goumas two-on-one cross ice feed on the left slot to make it 3-2. Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) started the transition and is credited with an assist on the goal. New Hampshire netted the eventual game-winner just 17 seconds later as Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) stole a pass in the defensive zone and made a tape-to-tape pass to Goumas, who had snuck past the defensive to skate in one-on-none. Goumas' backhanded slide past Boyle to make it 4-2. The Minutemen cut the lead in half with an even-strength goal at 12:25 of the third. Danny Hobbs scored with helpers from Eric Filioue and T.J. Syner. UMass had chances in the closing minutes including playing the final 51 minutes down 6-on-4 thanks to a penalty and UMass pulling its netminder in favor of an extra attacker. The Wildcats were able to hold off the UMass rush for the 4-3 win.
UMass held a 51-29 shot advantage in the game including a 25-5 edge in the middle stanza.
DeSmith stopped double figures in all three periods including 24 in the second period. He improves to 8-6-1. Boyle stopped 25 of 29 shots and falls to 7-5-4 overall.
The Minutemen were 1-2 on the power play, while UNH was 0-1 in its only power play opportunitiy.
New Hampshire and Massachusetts complete the two-game series Feb. 25 at UMass' Mullins Center. Puck drops at 7 p.m. with coverage on WBIN-TV.