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Ahead of the pack

UNH moves to No. 1 in polls after weekend series

The New Hampshire

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02

Dalton Speelman scored a pair of goals, while a trio of defensemen netted goals to lift the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team to Saturday night’s 5-2 win over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in Hockey East action at the Tsongas Center.

This win came after New Hampshire pulled out a 5-2 victory over the River Hawks on Friday night at the Whittemore Center.

UNH improves to 11-1-2 overall with a 7-1-1 mark in Hockey East play. The ‘Cats are riding an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1) and have moved to No. 1 in the nation as Boston College split its two-game series against Boston University over the weekend.

The River Hawks are now 4-7-1 overall and 2-6-1 in conference play.

New Hampshire’s one loss is the fewest by a UNH team in program history through 14 games and the ‘Cats are the only team in Division I hockey with one-loss of fewer this season.

Grayson Downing handed out a pair of assists to complement Speelman’s two-goal effort.

The River Hawks broke the deadlock as Stephen Buco scored on the rebound of a Terrence Wallin rush and initial shot. Scott Wilson also assisted on goal at 8:55. The Wildcats got the equalizer in the waning moments of the first period. John Henrion fired a one-timer from the middle slot that bounced out to an open Eric Knodel in the right circle for a slapshot that went in the short side of the net. Downing also assisted on the goal at 19:48 of the first period. UNH held a 13-8 shot edge, while both team went 0-1 on the power play.

UNH grabbed the lead early in the second as Justin Agosta scored his first goal of the season on a slapshot from the right circle. Kevin Goumas assisted on the goal at 1:34. The River Hawks answered just 22 seconds later as Buco scored after Scott Wilson’s initial rush was denied. New Hampshire scored at 11:41 of the middle stanza to make it 3-2. Dalton Speelman knocked home a rebound off of a Brett Kostolansky shot from the top of the blue line. The Wildcats outshot the River Hawks 11-4 for the period.

New Hampshire made it 4-2 as Brett Pesce scored his collegiate goal on a wrist shot from the top of the blue line that went through a screened Doug Carr at 10:56. Nick Sorkin and Jeff Silengo assisted on the goal, which came off a faceoff win. UNH iced the game with an empty-net goal by Speelman at 19:03. Downing and Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) assisted on the game’s final tally.

Casey DeSmith turned aside 22 of 24 shots he faced including 12 in the third period and improves to 10-1-2 on the season. Carr stopped 30 shots including 12 in the first period; he is now 3-6-1 on the season.

New Hampshire outshot the River Hawks 35-24. UNH was 0-5 on the power play, while UML was 0-3 on its extra-man advantage. The Wildcats have killed off 30-straight power plays by their opponents.

UNH returns to action Thursday, Dec. 6 against Boston University. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center.

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