DURHAM, N.H. – Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) recorded 36 saves but the 17th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team was upended 3-1 by sixth-ranked Union College at the Whittemore Center on Saturday night.
UNH is now 13-12-1 overall following the non-conference loss while Union improved to 15-4-3.
Union goaltender Colin Stevens, who was shaken up during a collision in the eighth minute of the second period, went the distance and recorded double-digit saves all three periods with 17 in the first, 11 in the second and 12 in the third for a total of 40. Mark Bennett, Max Novak and Mat Bodie were the Dutchmen's goal scorers.
DeSmith also reached double digits in saves every period with 10, 12 and 14. Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) netted UNH's goal.
The teams skated to a 1-1 tie in the first period, which saw the 'Cats record an 18-11 shot advantage. Union nearly got on the scoreboard at 13:30, when Bodie's wrist shot from the right point sailed through traffic and ricocheted off the near post.
The Dutchmen did get into the scoring column to take a 1-0 lead at 15:05. Sam Coata's headman pass from the defensive zone to center ice connected with Cole Ikkala, who advanced down the slot before passing to Bennett deep on the left side. Bennett made a sudden stop at the left post and deposited a backhander into the open net.
The Wildcats responded to tie the score at 17:26 of the opening stanza. Kelleher initiated the scoring play by skating out of the defensive zone and advancing the puck to Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.), who skated down the slot before passing to the left circle. Kyle Smith (Lumberton, N.J.) immediately sent the puck back across to the right side and the charging Kelleher deposited a shot into the open near side of the cage.
In the fifth minute of the second period, the Wildcats utilized a series of tic-tac-toe passing in which Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) slipped a pass from the slot to Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) alone at the left post. Willows, after a slight hesitation, was denied by Stevens.
Union regained the lead, 2-1, at 16:07 when Max Novak charged down the slot and redirected Daniel Ciampini's centering pass from the left wing into the net. David Roy was also credited with an assist.
The Dutchmen took that one-goal advantage into the second intermission following a 13-11 shot advantage in that frame, which advanced the 40-minute total to 29-24 in favor of the 'Cats.
One of UNH's top scoring chances of the final frame came with 3:30 on the clock when Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) fired a shot from deep on the right wing that Stevens stopped. The rebound went to the top of the crease and Willows was also denied.
DeSmith was pulled in favor of an extra skater with 1:22 to play, but the Dutchmen quickly sent the puck back in the neutral zone to force the 'Cats to recoil. UNH reentered the attack zone with 68 seconds to go, but Bodie intercepted a pass along the right half-boards. He immediately sent the puck off the dashers and it slowly trickled toward the open net and careened off the left post before going across the goal line at 18:57.
DeSmith once again came off the ice with 48 seconds remaining, but the 'Cats could not trim the two-goal deficit the rest of the way.
Union outshot its hosts 15-12 in the third period but New Hampshire had the 41-39 edge overall. Both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play.
UNH returns to action Jan. 24 (7:30 p.m.) at home against the University of Maine. The teams face off again Jan. 25 (7 p.m.) in Orono, Maine.