Men's Hockey: UNH ousts No. 14 Notre Dame

By Justin Loring
On January 31, 2014

After a disappointing weekend in which they split the season series versus Maine, UNH rebounded with a huge win over No. 14 Notre Dame on Friday night, 4-2. Brett Pesce earned the game puck from his teammates after scoring a goal and making a number of key defensive stops. Casey DeSmith notched 38 saves on the night for the Wildcats.

"Pesce was an absolute warrior for us," head coach Dick Umile said after the game. "We played him a lot of minutes ... he's around the puck a lot more, he looks like [Trevor] van Riemsdyk."

After a scoreless first period which saw Notre Dame outshoot UNH 11-2, the Irish got on the board early in the second period after a turnover in the UNH end. Eric Johnson corralled the puck and fed it to Mario Lucia, who scored his fourteenth goal of the season.

UNH answered shortly after, after T.J. Tynan went to the box for Interference at 3:42 in the second. With Matt Willows screening goaltender Steven Summerhays, Pesce let fly a slap shot from the blue line that found space between Summerhays legs and trickled into the net. The goal marked Pesce's third of the year, and his second in as many games for the Wildcats.

Jeff Silengo tallied his seventh goal of the season at the 12:03 mark of the second after Eric Knodel put a slap shot on net from the left half wall. With two men screening in front, the puck found Silengo's stick and was redirected for the goal.

In the third, both teams scored less than thirty seconds apart on a UNH power play. Notre Dame was able to tie it up on a great individual effort by Bryan Rust. Taking the puck from his own end, he beat two UNH defenders and threw a backhand shot that trickled through DeSmith's legs. The play was reviewed, but the call stood and the game was tied at 2-2.

Kevin Goumas answered with his eleventh goal of the season with 4:03 to play on the ensuing possession. Still on the man-advantage, Goumas got possession of the puck behind the net and looked for an open man. With no one to pass to, he threw it on net and it bounced off Summerhays leg into the net.

"I was originally looking for Knodel in the high slot," Goumas said after the game. "I [then] saw Willows backdoor and tried to throw it to him. I think it hit the defenseman's leg and went past the goalie. I just get lucky sometimes."

Jeff Silengo got the insurance goal for UNH with 1:21 to play, scoring an empty-netter to bring the game to its final score of 4-2.

With the win, UNH improves its Hockey East record to 7-6-0 and ties Maine for fifth place in Hockey East. UNH trails UMass-Lowell and Providence by just one point for the third place spot in the conference.  

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