UNH travels to UMass Lowell, Boston University
The New Hampshire Wildcats take to the road this weekend, facing off first with UMass Lowell on Friday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass. before heading south for a Sunday matinee with Boston University at Agganis Arena.
The Wildcats (6-1, 3-1-1 Hockey East) were dominant in their last two games, beating border rivals Maine and Vermont by a combined 8-0 score. Goaltender Casey DeSmith has been superb between the pipes this season allowing on average 1.36 goals per game and recording a save percentage of .953. The netminder has given up just two goals in the last four games.
"As far as team defense, [DeSmith] has been a big part of that," UNH head coach Dick Umile said.
UNH's defense has been strong in the early part of the season, working to keep the puck away from DeSmith. The defense leads the Hockey East in goals allowed, allowing only six goals in six games.
Umile said the team play comes down to senior leadership.
"The seniors are playing well," Umile said. "I'm a big believer in seniors. That is all the leadership, the experience; they've been through the wars and know what it takes and when they are playing well, it just spills over to the younger guys."
This weekend could present a set of challenges for the Wildcats, starting with the River Hawks. UMass Lowell (2-4-1, 1-3-1 Hockey East) split games with Maine last weekend.
Their slow start doesn't represent their skill, though. UML went all the way to the NCAA Frozen Four last season and won the season series with UNH. River Hawks goaltender Doug Carr was named a Hockey East second team all-star last season, as well as the runner-up conference player of the year.
"This will be a battle between Carr and DeSmith," Umile said.
Following a day of rest, the Wildcats will head over to Boston University to take on the No. 11 Terriers.
The Terriers are led on offense by sophomore Cason Hohmann who has 10 points on three goals and seven assists. The team is averaging 3.00 goals per game this season.
New Hampshire beat the Terriers earlier this season 4-1 in Durham, but Umile said that a lot has changed since then.
"What we did to them in the first game, you can forget about that one," Umile said. "Plus this game is at BU."
The weekend is the start of a four-game stretch on the road. A few wins on the road over the next two weeks could give the team an extra edge and build to its national resume. Voters have the Wildcats at No. 5 in the nation.
"We can make a statement here," junior forward Kevin Goumas said.
Goumas recently took over as the team leader in points and assists with 10 and nine, respectively.
Boston University (5-3, 4-2 Hockey East) is coming off of a 4-2 loss to No. 1 Boston College, a game in which the Terriers took the lead in the third, only to lose it to two quick BC goals in the last two minutes of the game.
"This is the easy part of the season," assistant captain Greg Burke said regarding the Wildcats' early success. "From here on out, it becomes a grind."
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