DURHAM, N.H. – Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) tallied a pair of goals to lift the second-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to a 5-2 win over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Friday night at the Whittemore Center.
The win improves the Wildcats to 10-1-2 and 7-1-1 in Hockey East play on the year. New Hampshire is 2-0-0 against UML this year and is riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1). The River Hawks fell to 4-6-1 overall and 2-5-1 in conference play.
The Wildcats got on the board first at the 9:43 mark of the first period when Downing notched his sixth goal of the season, netting a shorthanded shot past UML goalie Doug Carr. Brett Kostalansky (Denver, Colo.) started the play when he sent the puck up ice to Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.). Goumas found an open Downing who in turn found the back of the net. It was Downing's third shorty of the season and second in as many games.
The River Hawks nearly tied the game up at 15:48 of the first when Terrence Wallin took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that was saved by New Hampshire netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.). With a scramble in front of the net, the play was reviewed by the officials, however ruled no goal. At the end of the first period, the Wildcats led, 1-0. DeSmith tallied 11 saves in the period while Carr notched 11 saves on 12 shots faced.
The Wildcat offense sparked in the second period with three goals. John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) notched the first goal of the period and his fourth of the season when he slipped a wrist shot past Carr on the left side of the net. Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) tallied his third assist of the season on the play while Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) notched his fourth of the year. Goumas tallied his second point of the night on a power play at the 15:18 mark with his seventh goal of the season as he found the rebound of a shot by Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) in front of the net and sent it home. Downing scored his second of the night when Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) fed the puck to Downing in front of the net. Downing then beat Carr top shelf for the 4-0 advantage. Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) notched the second assist on the play. Shayne Thompson got the River Hawks on the board with two seconds remaining in the second period with his first goal of the year. Josh Holstrom played the puck to Joseph Pendenza who in turn found Thompson in front of the net. After two periods of play, the Wildcats remained ahead, 4-1.
UML cut the Wildcat lead in half at 7:10 in the third period when Michael Colantone found the rebound of Scott Wilson's original shot and sending it past DeSmith for the goal. New Hampshire added an insurance goal with 2:45 remaining in the game when Block notched a goal on a turnaround shot that beat UMass-Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck above his left shoulder. Silengo dished the puck up the ice to Block to tally his second assist of the night.
DeSmith upped his record to 9-1-2 on the year after making 34 saves on 36 shots faced in net, while Carr recorded the loss after allowing four goals on 25 shots. Hellebuyck made eight saves on the nine shots he faced in one-period of relief. UNH went 1-for-4 on the power play while UML was 0-for-5 with the advantage.
The Wildcats are back in action Saturday night as they travel to UMass-Lowell for the final game of the season series. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. UNH's next home game is Thursday, Dec. 6 against Boston University. Tickets to the BU game and all UNH home games are available online at UNHWildcats.com.