DURHAM, N.H. – Matt Di Girolamo (Ambler, Pa.) recorded 31 saves to backbone the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Friday night's 5-0 Hockey East victory against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell at the Whittemore Center.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) by winning its fifth consecutive home game and is now 5-4-2 overall, 4-3-1 Hockey East. UML, which entered the night with a three-game winning streak, is now 5-4-0, 3-3-0.
Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; two assists), Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.; two assists) and Casey Thrush (Easton, Md; goal, assist) recorded two points apiece to lead the offense. UNH's other single-goal scorers were John Henrion (Holden, Mass.), Kevin McCarey (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) and Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.).
Di Girolamo made double-digit saves in both the first (14) and third (10) periods for his third career shutout and first since Dec. 10, 2010 against the River Hawks. UMass-Lowell goalie Brian Robbins made 34 saves, including 16 in the first period.
The Wildcats skated to a 1-0 lead with a 17-14 shot advantage through one period of play. The 'Cats threatened twice directly off faceoffs in the opening two minutes of the game. Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) drew the puck to the slot and Moses fired a low shot that deflected off Robbins' glove. One minute later, Greg Burke (Lee, N.H.) also controlled the faceoff to the slot, where Henrion's one-timer was stopped by Robbins' leg pads.
UNH took a 1-0 lead at 6:20 on Silengo's first of the season. Block carried the puck behind the net and dropped a pass back to Goumas in the right corner. Goumas slipped a pass to the right circle, where Silengo's high shot sailed past Block's screen at the top of the crease into the net.
Moses directed a shot into the net with UNH on the power play late in the first period, but the goal was waved off. Moments later, Moses' one-time from the slot was stopped by Robbins.
In the third minute of the second stanza, the River Hawks' Matt Ferreira led a rush down the slot and his shot deflected off Di Girolamo's left leg pad and trickled wide of the right post.
UNH scored a power-play goal for the fifth consecutive game to build a 2-0 lead at 2:59. Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) moved the puck from the left point to the slot, where Moses' shot was stopped by Robbins. Goumas couldn't control the rebound at the left post and the puck trickled across the crease, where Moses swept the puck into the net.
Mass-Lowell called time out at the beginning of a two-skater advantage at 11:56, but they were unable to solve UNH's defense and Di Girolamo.
Henrion gave the 'Cats a 3-0 lead at 17:21 when Burke won a faceoff in the right circle back to Henrion and he snapped a wrister past Robbins.
UNH took that three-goal and 28-21 shot advantage into the second intermission.
McCarey extended the advantage to 4-0 at 9:54 of the third period. His initial shot from the slot was stopped by Robbins, then Thrush and Mike Boresinok (Watervliet, N.Y.) battled for the puck in a scrum at the top of the crease. Borisenok pushed the puck out to McCarey, who lifted a backhander into the cage as he was falling towards the right post.
Thrush snapped a wrist shot from the inner-left circle past Robbins to close the scoring at 12:03. Block and Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) were credited with assists.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 19 (7 p.m.) at 16th-ranked Boston University. The Wildcats' next home game is Nov. 26 against Alabama-Huntsville. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.