Coming up big
Henrion’s big weekend leads UNH to victory
The UNH men's hockey team earned three out of four points in a crucial series against UMass-Amherst this past weekend, with a 2-2 tie on Friday night and a 4-0 win Saturday night. The Wildcats now sit in second place in Hockey East (31 points) trailing UMass-Lowell by a single point.
John Henrion lead the Wildcats over the weekend, scoring four goals between the two games, tying him for the lead in goals (13) with Austin Block.
Friday night's game had one of the craziest finishes of the season for the Wildcats. With just 1:05 left in the third period, Eddie Olczyk was able to knock in a rebound to give the Minutemen a late lead. Henrion was able to tie the game with just 3.7 seconds left, giving UNH a tie and one point.
UNH dominated the second game, with Henrion playing one of his best games of the season.
"I thought the team jumped out early and maintained it for sixty minutes," UNH head coach Dick Umile said. "We didn't let up at all."
After a scoreless first period, Henrion scored his first just 1:10 into the second period. Nick Sorkin forced a turnover on the back check on UMass' breakout, resulting in a 2-on-1 rush for the Wildcats with Casey Thrush and Henrion. Thrush fed Henrion with a saucer pass over the defender's stick and Henrion tipped the puck past UMass goaltender Steve Mastalerz.
Henrion's second goal of the evening came on the power play at the 10:43 of the second period. who the puck behind the net and created some space to shoot, getting enough time for his wrist shot to go under the glove of Mastalerz.
""I couldn't even see the net, I just fired it there," Henrion said. "It was a big scrum in front of the net, credit to those guys (on the power play) for screening the goal."
The third goal came in the third period when Kevin Goumas had his pass deflected in the neutral zone. The puck slid to Matt Willows, who got behind the defense and unleashed a wrist shot that went past Mastalerz's blocker.
Henrion tallied his hat-trick with an empty net goal with just 28 seconds remaining, bringing the game to its final score of 4-0.
"The guys did a great job with the power play, it was a good night," Umile said. "We've said before (Henrion's) got a great shot...Casey (DeSmith) makes big saves when he has to make them."
DeSmith notched his fifth shutout of the season, and now leads Hockey East in all four primary goaltending categories (wins, save percentage, goals against average and shutouts).
The Wildcats are now sitting in second place behind the Riverhawks of UMass-Lowell, trailing by just a point. The Riverhawks are playing some of the best hockey in the country, going 17-2-1 in their last twenty games. The Wildcats, however, have beaten them three times this season by a combined score of 13-4.
Boston College and Providence College are tied for third place with thirty points, hoping to make up some ground in the last weekend of the season. Boston University (28 points) and Merrimack College (27 points) are in fifth and sixth place, respectively, and still have a chance to jump into the top four to earn home ice during the Hockey East tournament.
UNH now looks forward to the Border War, as the 'Cats host a weekend series against Maine, a team looking to qualify for the Hockey East tournament. UNH will play the second game of the series on Sunday at 4 pm, which will be aired on NESN, being the first team to finish the regular season.
"We'll be watching the other games (on Sunday night)," Umile said on Thursday. "We're in control of our destiny from here on out."
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