NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire men's hockey team scored a pair of first period goals just 28 seconds apart and made it stand up in a 2-1 upset victory over No. 6/7 Merrimack College in Friday night's Hockey East action at Lawler Arena.
New Hampshire, which has now won three straight, improves to 9-11-2 with a 7-8-1 mark in Hockey East, while Merrimack is now 12-5-5, 8-4-3 in Hockey East.
Freshman netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) stopped 24 shots including 12 in the final period to preserve the one-goal victory and improve to 3-2-0 on the season. His counterpart Joe Cannata turned aside 31 including 18 in the middle stanza and is now 11-5-5.
New Hampshire scored goals 28 seconds apart in the 14th minute of the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the break. The first goal came as Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) floated the puck from the defensive zone and it took a UNH hop leaving Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) all alone at the top of the offensive zone. Downing skated in and beat Merrimack netminder Joe Cannata with a one-timer at 13:23. Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, British Columbia) also added an assist on the play. The goal came as Merrimack was being whistled for a hook. UNH struck on the power play at 13:51 of the period when Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.) redirected in a Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) slapshot. Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) also added a helper on the power play goal. Merrimack held a 10-8 shot advantage in the period.
Merrimack cut into the UNH lead with an even-strength tally at 11:28 of the second. Ryan Flanigan scored his seventh goal of the season with assists from Carter Madsen and
Jeff Velleca. In Warriors five penalties in the period, but UNH could not capitalize including 44 seconds of 5-on-3. Overall, the 'Cats held a commanding 18-3 shot advantage thanks to 15 power play shots in the period and outshot the Warriors 33-25 for the contest.
In a scoreless third period, Merrimack outshot UNH 12-7. The Warriors had several chances at netting the equalizer, but DeSmith and the defense kept them off the board.
Overall, UNH was 1-6 on the power play with 18 shots during the man advantage, while MC was 0-2 on the power play with just one shot in those two chances.
UNH and Merrimack conclude the home-and-home series the 'Cats play host to the Warriors on Saturday night at Whittemore Center. Saturday night's game is slated for a 7 p.m. start live on WBIN-TV. Tickets for the Merrimack game and all remaining UNH home games are available online at www.UNHWildcats.com.