DURHAM, N.H. – Junior netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 31 saves while classmate Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) dished out a pair of assists at the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team defeated the 18th-ranked Northeastern Huskies Saturday night, 4-1, at the Whittemore Center.
Northeastern's Zach Aston-Reese started the offense in the first period with a pair of consecutive shots on goal, but New Hampshire netminder DeSmith turned both attempts away. Senior Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) and freshman blueliner Matias Cleland (Longmount, Colo.) countered with two back-to-back shots, both of which were saved by Derick Roy.
Goumas nearly got the Wildcats on the board midway through the first period as he ripped a shot from inside the left faceoff circle, but the attempt rung the crossbar just over Roy's shoulder and bounced up and over the glass for a break in the action. DeSmith, who made a total of 12 saves in the first period, made a pair of back-to-back denials near the end of the first period when NU's John Stevens notched two shots from point-blank range. After one period of play, the Huskies held a 12-6 shot advantage, but the game remained scoreless.
Just 4:16 into the second period, Goumas had another close bid from the right side of the net with a one-time shot that was just inches away from the target. Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) corralled the puck just outside of the right faceoff circle on a failed clear attempt by the Northeastern defense and saucered a pass through traffic to Goumas on the other side of the net to set up the play.
At the 12:30 mark of the second period, Northeastern's Adam Reid was sent to the box for high sticking-incidental contact to the head, giving the Wildcats a power play. Just 29 seconds into the two-minute advantage, Sorkin scored his team-leading seventh goal of the year to give UNH a 1-0 lead. Goumas swung the puck over to van Riemsdyk just inside the blueline. van Riemsdyk rifled a shot on goal that Roy made a kick save on. However, Sorkin was waiting on the doorstep and flipped the rebound into the goal. Exactly 40 seconds later, Thrush scored his first goal of the season on a rebound right in front of the net to give UNH a 2-0 advantage. Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) played a pass to Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) who ripped a shot on goal. Roy made the initial save, but Thrush wedged his stick into the mix to net the puck.
DeSmith matched his first period total in saves (12) to bring his two-period total to 24. Each team also took 12 shots in the period.
In the third period, Kevin Roy of the Huskies snapped DeSmith's shutout streak of 199:15 to cut the Wildcat lead in half at the 2:31 mark. The play originated when Colton Saucerman played a pass to Mike Szmatula just inside of the blueline. Szmatula put a shot on goal that DeSmith initially saved, but the rebound squirted out to his left and Roy raised his shot just over the glove of the netminder for the goal. The goal came on a power play.
Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) regained a two goal lead for the 'Cats on a power play at 10:38 as he netted his third goal of the year. The goal came 1:26 after the Huskies were called for too many players on the ice. Off a faceoff in the Northeast zone, van Riemsdyk gained possession at the blueline and fed a pass through the middle of the zone to a streaking Willows who ripped a shot past the outstretched glove of Roy to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
The Wildcats capped off the scoring with a power play goal at 17:53. Brett Pesce (Tarrytown, N.Y.) carried the puck over the blueline and dumped it in behind Northeastern's goal. Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) battled below to tip the puck over to Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.), who took a shot in front of the net. After Roy made the save, Grayson Downing (Abbosttsford, B.C.) pounced on the rebound and tucked into the left corner for the goal.
At the end of the game, the Wildcats prevailed, 4-1.
With the 31 save performance by DeSmith, he earned his fourth win of the year and improves his record to 4-4-0. Roy allowed four goals on 32 shots faced as he got the loss in net for Northeastern. His record now stands 2-2-0. The Wildcats took full advantage of power play opportunities as they went 3-for-4 with the advantage. The Huskies were held to one goal on seven power play opportunities.
The Wildcats return to the ice for a two-game away series at Providence College, beginning Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. with a pregame show on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network will start at 6:30 p.m. with Dan Parkhurst and Pete Webster.