UNH men’s hockey upends No. 14 Notre Dame, 5-2

DURHAM, N.H. -- Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) recorded a goal and two assists to lift the University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 5-2 Hockey East victory against 14th-ranked University of Notre Dame at the Whittemore Center.

UNH completed the weekend sweep of the Fighting Irish – the Wildcats prevailed 4-2 Friday night – to improve to 16-13-1 overall and 8-6-0 in Hockey East. ND is now 15-11-1, 4-8-1.

Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) also tallied multiple points with a goal and an assist. Maxim Gaudreault (Annapolis, Md.), Collin MacDonald (West Milford, N.J.) and Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) scored UNH's other goals as 11 Wildcats recorded at least one point.

UNH goaltender Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) stopped 14 shots in the second period and 10 in the third as part of a 32-save effort. 

ND goalie Steven Summerhays was credited with 18 saves. Mario Lucia (one goal, one assist) and Vince Hinostroza (2a) led the Fighting Irish's offense.

The teams skated to a 1-1 tie in the opening 20 minutes. In the fourth minute, the Wildcats won a faceoff in the left circle and Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) quickly fired a wrister that Summerhays blocked away with his extended left leg pad.

UNH took a 1-0 lead at 10:21. Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) initiated a 2-on-1 rush with a lead pass from the defensive blue line to Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.). Kelleher skated into the right circle and sent a diagonal pass across the slot that Gaudreault one-timed into the open left side of the cage.

ND's Thomas DiPauli was the trail skater and blasted a shot from the high slot off the right post in the 13th minute. One minute later, Austin Wuthrich advanced to the top of the crease and lifted a shot off DeSmith's shoulder.

The Fighting Irish leveled the score, 1-1, at 17:27. Hinostroza snapped a pass to Lucia at center ice and he carried the puck into the left wing. Lucia slipped the puck to Hinostroza in the left corner and corralled the return pass at the faceoff dot, where he lifted a shot into the upper-right corner of the cage.

UNH regained a 2-1 lead at 3:33 of the second period. An ND defenseman lost his balance in the neutral zone, which allowed Willows to gain possession and advance into the right circle. He fired a diagonal pass toward the left post and Speelman redirected a shot into the goal.

Notre Dame gained a 5-on-3 power play for 23 seconds at 9:03, but the Wildcats' penalty kill cleared the puck the length of the ice twice to erase that two-skater advantage.

The visitors didn't capitalize on the extended power play but tied the score, 2-2 at 13:26. Lucia moved the puck from the right circle to the slot, where Hinostroza's initial shot was stopped by DeSmith. T.J. Tynan chipped the rebound into the net, however.

ND went on its third power play of the second stanza at 15:33 but it was the home team that netted a shorthanded goal at 16:07 to take its third lead of the game, 3-2. Willows skated the length of the ice along the left boards and then cut through the circle toward the left post, but he suddenly changed direction to the top of the crease to avoid Summerhays and deposit the puck into the open net. Goumas and Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) were credited with assists.

The Fighting Irish opened the third period with 54 seconds remaining on a power play but did not record a shot on goal during that skater advantage. In the fifth minute, Kelleher collected Knodel's outlet pass and cut from the left wing to the slot, where he was denied by Summerhays. Kelleher pulled in the rebound and lifted a shot off the right post.

One minute later at the other end of the ice, DeSmith stopped Jeff Costello's bid from the slot and Mike Voran's shot off the rebound ricocheted off the right post.

The 'Cats extended the advantage to 4-2 at 6:40 when Knodel, from the right boards, found MacDonald cutting down the slot. He hesitated at the top of the crease to beat Summerhays for his first goal of the season. Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) was also credited with an assist.

UNH went on its second power play at 11:23 and called a timeout but recorded just one shot -- stopped by Summerhays -- during the skater advantage. 

ND pulled Summerhays in favor of an extra skater with 1:31 on the clock. Willows advanced the puck from the left half-boards to Goumas in the neutral zone, and he fired a shot from mid-ice into the open net. Brett Pesce (Tarrytown, N.Y.) also set up the empty-net goal that secured the win.

New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 7 (7:30 p.m.) for the first of two home games against the University of Vermont. The teams face off again Feb. 8 (7 p.m.) at the Whitt.

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