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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hockey East: UNH Wildcats feast on UMass Lowell River Hawks

HOCKEY EAST: UNH 5, UMASS LOWELL 2

DURHAM – It took the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team a period to get cranked up, but when it did, UMass Lowell didn’t have an answer to one of the nation’s best goalies and one of its hottest scorers.

With Hockey East Player of the Week Kevin Goumas collecting a goal and an assist – he now has nine points in his past three games – and Casey DeSmith turning back 33 of 35 shots, the Wildcats dispatched the River Hawks 5-2 at the Whittemore Center on Friday night. ...

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DURHAM – It took the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team a period to get cranked up, but when it did, UMass Lowell didn’t have an answer to one of the nation’s best goalies and one of its hottest scorers.

With Hockey East Player of the Week Kevin Goumas collecting a goal and an assist – he now has nine points in his past three games – and Casey DeSmith turning back 33 of 35 shots, the Wildcats dispatched the River Hawks 5-2 at the Whittemore Center on Friday night.

Second-ranked New Hampshire improves to 10-1-2 overall and 7-1-1 in Hockey East for its best start in school history. The ’Cats ended the night in second place just a point behind top-ranked Boston College, who lost to Boston University. UNH has a game in hand.

UNH opened the scoring midway through the first period when Grayson Downing registered his third short-handed goal of the season to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead while Nick Sorkin was serving a tripping penalty.

Brett Kostolansky started the play on a clearing pass from the UNH zone to Goumas sneaking along the left boards just over the red line. Goumas fed Downing motoring alone down the slot behind the River Hawk’s defense for an uncontested shot that goalie Doug Carr failed to smother between his pads. Goumas now leads the team with 15 assists and 21 points.

Even though UMass Lowell dominated play in the opening half of the second period, it was UNH that got the game’s next three goals to essentially put the game away.

To make it 2-0, Jeff Silengo and Sorkin led a Wildcats rush through the neutral zone and into the River Hawks’ end. A shot on net popped off of Carr’s pads through the slot to John Henrion just inside the left face off circle. He corralled the puck and slipped a slow snap shot inside the left post with 3:13 gone in the period.

UNH’s third goal came on the power play as Goumas scored his seventh goal of the season with assists from Sorkin and Eric Knodel with fewer than five minute remaining in the period. As players scrambled to get a handle on Sorkin’s shot, it was Goumas who picked it out of the crease and deposited it in the UMass Lowell net.

Downing made it 4-0 UNH with his second goal of the season on a roof shot from the top of the crease with 3:10 left in the period. Dalton Speelman and Austin Block earned assists.

The River Hawks got one back with 1.9 second remaining in the period when Shayne Thompson scored from Joseph Pendenza and Josh Holmstrom.

Lowell made it interesting with seven minutes left in the third period when Michael Colantone tapped the puck behind DeSmith from the top of the crease.

But Block ended the threat with 2:45 remaining in regulation when on a pass from the left boards he skated down the slot retrieved his own blocked shot and swatted the puck high inside the right post.

The Wildcats travel to Lowell Saturday to complete the home-and-home series.