BOSTON – Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) stopped a season-high 47 shots and Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) had a pair of assists as the third-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Friday night's 3-1 win over Northeastern University at historic Matthews Arena in Hockey East action.
UNH improves to 16-6-2 with an 11-5-1 record in Hockey East play. Northeastern is now 7-13-3, 4-11-3 HEA. The Wildcats capture the season series against NU with a 2-0-1 mark.
In a back-and-forth first period, the teams fired 27 shots on the net with neither team breaking through. The Huskies held a 16-11 edge, but the Wildcats had several great scoring chances. Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.) had the rebound of a Jay Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) shot skip over his stick on the doorstep, while a John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) wrister was just within the reach of NU netminder Chris Rawlings.
The Wildcats struck first as Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) chipped in a backhand rebound at 4:01 of the second period. Downing won the face-off back to Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), who fired a wrister wide of the net, but Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) captured the rebound along the boards and centered it to setup Downing's tally. The goal broke a span of 150:29 of scoreless play for the Wildcats at Matthews Arena dating back to Feb. 26, 2011. The 'Cats needed just 44 seconds for its next goal as Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) scored on a blast from the high point. Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) stole the puck in the defensive zone and raced out in transition to setup the goal at 4:45 of the period. Goumas wouls clang the pipe just seconds later almost netting the team's third goal, but it was the Huskies getting the next goal as Vinny Saponari scored a rebound goal at 7:25 with assists from Kevin Roy and Colton Saucerman. NU held a 17-11 shot edge in the period.
DeSmith made 15-plus saves in all three periods and improves to 15-4-2. Chris Rawlings stopped 24 shots including 11 in the first period and moves to 7-8-1 on the season.
The Wildcats were 1-2 on the power play and killed off all four Northeastern power play opportunities.
NU held a 48-27 shot advantage for the game.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Feb. 2 against Merrimack College. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center. The game will be broadcast live on WBIN-TV and FOX College Sports Atlantic. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.