Wildcat hockey defeated by Minnesota, 4-2

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The University of New Hampshire men's hockey lost to the University of Minnesota, 4-2, in a rematch of last year's National Championship on Sunday night in the title game of the Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci Arena.

Junior forward Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) scored his second goal of the game and eighth of the season with 1:59 remaining in the third period. Callander and senior goaltender Mike Ayers were named to the Dodge Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team for their efforts. Callander got the Wildcats on the board with his seventh goal of the season at 7:58 of the second session. Freshman forward Josh Ciocco (Atco, N.J.) posted the second assist of his Wildcat career on the Callander goal.

Sophomore forward Thomas Vanek capped the scoring in the third period with an empty-net goal with one second remaining to give the Gophers (9-8-1) the 4-2 win.

Senior captain Grant Potulny gave the Gophers a 3-0 lead with his seventh goal of the season at 5:18 of the second frame tipping the shot of junior blueliner Keith Ballard. Senior forward Matt Koalska also earned an assist on the Potulny goal.

Early in the second period, Koalska gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead 51 seconds into the period with his fifth goal of the season when he flipped the puck over Ayers' right shoulder. Sophomore defenseman Chris Harrington and Ballard received assists on the Koalska goal.

The Gophers opened the scoring at 8:41 of the first period on a goal by senior forward Jon Waibel, his first goal of the season. Sophomore defenseman P.J. Atherton and sophomore forward Tyler Hirsch were credited with assists on the Waibel goal.

Ayers made his 16th start of the season and the 76th of his career for the Wildcats and made 44 saves on the night, which tied a career-high previously set on Oct. 19, 2002 vs. the Gophers in a 3-1 win at the Whittemore Center. The Gophers outshot the Wildcats, 48 to 29 and Ayers made 17 of his 44 saves in the first period.

The Wildcats (11-6-2, 5-3-2 HE) return to action at home on Saturday, Jan. 3 vs. Yale University. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.


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