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Men's Hockey: Eagles sweep Wildcats in weekend action

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, December 8, 2013

Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2013 18:12

The University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team dropped its second game in a row to Boston College to finish the series Saturday night at the Whittemore Center 2-1. The loss drops UNH to a 9-9-1 overall record, and a 5-5 overall record in Hockey East play, while Boston College improves to 10-4-2 overall, and to 6-1-1 in Hockey East. 

UNH Head Coach Dick Umile praised his team’s effort in the game despite the loss. 

“I thought we came out hard tonight,” Umile said. “I liked the way we competed, we blocked a lot of shots, but give credit to Boston College for taking two Hockey East games from us. We had our chances but couldn’t score. Everyone competed hard tonight.”

The first period opened up with UNH taking the face off. Ample opportunities were there for the Wildcats as the team bombarded BC freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko with shots. However, Demko remained poised in net, stopping all 11 shots that came his way.

Early in the period, UNH got an advantage on three power plays but could not generate any offense, as BC defenders kept the Wildcat players at bay, zoning them from getting inside the BC defensive key. 

The Eagles would break the stalemate late in the first period behind the offensive force of Bill Arnold, a senior center for the Eagles who notched his fourth goal of the year and 20th point on the season. 

The goal was created when Johnny Gaudreau sent a pass up the middle of UNH defensive territory where in turn, Kevin Hayes fired a slap shot that was initially saved by UNH goaltender Casey DeSmith, but a second effort by Arnold without looking tapped the rebound in the net while falling to the ice. The goal was scored at 16:07 of the period with Gaudreau and Hayes getting the assists. At the end of the first period, BC held a 1-0 lead, despite the Wildcats out shooting the Eagles 11-8 in the period. 

In the second period, New Hampshire got off to a hot start, fueled by the offense who continued to put pressure on Demko in net. 

The Wildcats shot from everywhere in the BC defensive zone in hopes of a rebound opportunity. Its luck came 7:11 into the period when UNH junior right winger Matt Willows tallied his sixth goal of the season when teammate Kevin Goumas fired a pass to Willows from the opposite side of the BC net for a one-timer. Demko was pulled away from the far right post, and Willows easily tapped the puck in to bring the game even at one apiece. Goumas and Sorkin were credited with assists.

Willows credited his goal from the teams many drills in practice on finishing rebounds.

“I just found the open ice and capitalized on it,” Willows said. “We practice a lot on finishing rebounds and I give my goal credit to that.” 

However, BC would send a blow right back less than 11 minutes later when Eagles senior right winger Kevin Hayes wristed a shot past DeSmith from outside the right faceoff dot through a screen of UNH defenders to bring BC back up a goal. Hayes received his 10th goal of the season. 

Both teams then went back and forth with a pair of shots on goal, however neither was able to add a score. The Wildcats would then out shoot the Eagles 10-8 in the period, but Boston College would leave the period with a 2-1 lead. 

The third period was even between both teams with New Hampshire having a slight advantage in scoring opportunities, but struggling to capitalize. The Wildcats had one of their best opportunities in the game with 4:07 left in the period when freshman Tyler Kelleher made a beautiful move past a BC defender, allowing teammate Goumas to break away towards the net, sending him a one-time pass but Goumas missed the net just wide. 

The remainder of the period was rather quiet, with UNH only putting up another shot with an extra attacker. Boston College forward Bill Arnold helped his team burn off 15 seconds in the UNH defensive zone to seal BC a victory and the sweep of the home and home series. With the win, Boston College moves to a first place tie with Hockey East foe Providence at 13 points. 

Senior defensemen Eric Knodel presses the team to remain consistent in the second half in order to get the results it wants.

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