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UNH men down Northeastern, 3-1, on Friday

BOSTON – Casey DeSmith stopped a season-high 47 shots and Kevin Goumas had a pair of assists in the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team’s Friday night 3-1 win over Northeastern University at historic Matthews Arena in Hockey East action.

UNH improves to 16-6-2 with an 11-5-1 record in Hockey East play. Northeastern is now 7-13-3, 4-11-3 HEA. The Wildcats capture the season series against NU with a 2-0-1 mark.

Grayson Downing, Eric Knodel and John Henrion lit the lamp for the Wildcats.

In a back-and-forth first period, the teams fired 27 shots on the net with neither team breaking through. The Huskies held a 16-11 edge, but the Wildcats had several great scoring chances. Casey Thrush had the rebound of a Jay Camper shot skip over his stick on the doorstep, while a Henrion wrister was just within the reach of NU netminder Chris Rawlings.

The Wildcats struck first as Grayson Downing chipped in a backhand rebound at 4:01 of the second period. Downing won the face-off back to Austin Block, who fired a wrister wide of the net, but Dan Correale captured the rebound along the boards and centered it to setup Downing’s tally. The goal broke a span of 150:29 of scoreless play for the Wildcats at Matthews Arena dating back to Feb. 26, 2011.

The ‘Cats needed just 44 seconds for its next goal as Eric Knodel scored on a blast from the high point. Kevin Goumas stole the puck in the defensive zone and raced out in transition to setup the goal at 4:45 of the period.

Goumas would clang the pipe just seconds later almost netting the team’s third goal, but it was the Huskies getting the next goal as Vinny Saponari scored a rebound goal at 7:25 with assists from Kevin Roy and Colton Saucerman. NU held a 17-11 shot edge in the period.

A Northeastern penalty late in the second period set up a UNH power play in the first 1:52 of the third period.

New Hampshire capitalized with just five seconds left in the man-advantage. Henrion scored on a hard wrister from the left circle. Goumas made a crisp cross-ice pass to Henrion for the one-timer. Connor Hardowa also assisted on the goal. The Huskies outshot UNH 15-7 in the period thanks to four power play opportunities in the period.

DeSmith made 15-plus saves in all three periods and improves to 15-4-2. Chris Rawlings stopped 24 shots including 11 in the first period and moves to 7-8-1 on the season.

The Wildcats were 1-2 on the power play and killed off all four Northeastern power play opportunities.

NU held a 48-27 shot advantage for the game.

The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Feb. 2 against Merrimack College. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center.