DURHAM, N.H. — Junior forward Colin Hemingway scored his first career hat trick, and freshman Preston Callander added a goal and an assist, as the top-ranked New Hampshire Wildcats rebounded from a last-second disaster the previous night to gain a weekend split with Northeastern, 6-2, at the Whittemore Center in Durham.
Hemingway, an All-America candidate, scored his 23rd, 24th and 25th goals of the season, to put him one behind team leader Darren Haydar. The junior out of Surrey, British Columbia, registered four goals on the weekend. With the win, UNH remained one point ahead of Boston University for first place in Hockey East.
“Overall, I think we played a really good team tonight. All four lines were strong, [UNH goalie Matt] Carney played great, and our special teams were a factor. I thought we bounced back really well from a tough loss, which isn’t easy to do,” said Hemingway.
The pivotal play of the game occurred with four minutes gone in the second period, when Northeastern junior forward Mike Ryan raced in alone to the UNH end on a partial breakaway. Carney made a sprawling save, and on the ensuing Wildcat rush, Hemingway bagged his second goal of the game off a scramble in front of NU freshman goalie Keni Gibson to make it 3-2, UNH.
Haydar assisted on the play, the 105th in his collegiate career, which placed him in a tie for ninth all-time at UNH.
The goal proved to be the game winner, as Carney and the Wildcat defense held the Huskies scoreless the rest of the way, to improve to 21-6-3 (13-4-3 Hockey East). Northeastern fell to 17-12-3 (10-8-2).
“He’s a guy we were concerned about,” said Northeastern head coach Bruce Crowder, referring to Hemingway. “When you put him and Haydar on two different lines, it makes it difficult. Last night we were able to contain that, but not today. Plus, they chipped in with some goals from their other lines tonight,” said Crowder.
Carney, who looked shaky at times in the opening period, settled down in the second and played brilliantly the rest of the way. With Ed Caron off for hooking in the second period, he stopped two point-blank stuff-in attempts by Friday night co-hero Jason Guerriero. At the 18:28 mark, he made an acrobatic save, robbing the Huskies’ Eric Ortlip with a nifty flick of his glove off a two on one break.
Carney and the Wildcats rebounded from a heartbreaking loss the night before at Northeastern, 5-4 in OT, on literally a last-second goal by defenseman Jim Fahey which tied the game in regulation. Fahey, who leads the nation in scoring by a defenseman, assisted on Guerriero’s game-winner in the extra session to win it.
“Obviously, I’m very pleased with the way that we bounced back today. We played a real good team for 60 minutes. It was a great team effort,” said UNH head coach Dick Umile.
In the first period, it took Northeastern five minutes just to get a shot on goal. New Hampshire had several chances to score, including a redirect off the stick of Hemingway from defenseman Tyson Teplitsky, but Gibson was able to get his stick on it. With the two teams skating four on four, Northeastern’s Ryan hit the post to the right of Carney at 11:17, and just seconds later, teammate Trevor Reschny equaled the feat with a post-clanger of his own.
With Willie Levesque off for hooking at 11:58, the Wildcats were able to put their tops-in-the-nation power play to work. Hemingway took a pass from defenseman Garrett Stafford behind the Northeastern goal, and wristed a shot past a screened Gibson for his first of the night to make it 1-0 New Hampshire.
Northeastern tied the game at the 14:54 mark of the first, on a Brian Tudrick slapshot from the right circle which hit Carney in the left pad and trickled past him. New Hampshire almost took the lead right back just minutes later, but this time it was Gibson who made an acrobatic glove save off Haydar to preserve the 1-1 tie after one period. UNH outshot the Huskies 16-8 in the period.
When asked to describe the past week’s events, which featured a Beanpot Championship Game loss to BU, 5-3, on Monday, and then the daunting task of having to face the No. 1-ranked team in the country just four days later, Huskies head coach (and former UNH standout) Crowder responded succinctly: “Monday sucked. Friday was pretty good. Tonight was like Monday.”
In the second period, the Huskies took their first and only lead of the evening at 1:58, when Donny Grover beat Carney for a 2-1 Northeasern advantage. However, as New Hampshire has done all season, the Wildcats answered less than two minutes later when Nathan Martz converted on a 3-on-2 rush. The sophmore forward finished off a pass from Preston Callander and flipped the puck over the left shoulder of Gibson to tie the game at two apiece.
“The difference was that we got to [Keni] Gibson today. Last night, we didn’t get the puck in the net when we had our chances,” said Umile. “We also got a great effort from Jim [Abbott] and Nathan [Martz]. We got good play out of all four lines all weekend.”
Added Hemingway, “That’s the difference in this year’s team. We have a lot guys with character, guys with pride. All four lines are contributing. If we get down a goal, we just get right back out there.”
With UNH leading 3-2, Wildcat freshman Sean Collins fired a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced in back of Gibson to make it 4-2 UNH. Fellow freshman Callander picked up a loose puck later in the third period, wheeled around a fallen Gibson, and slid the puck in the net for his fourth goal of the season to make it 5-2. Hemingway garnered his hat trick with under four minutes to go, as he scored into an empty net.
“We wanted to make amends for last night,” said Hemingway. “We control our own destiny. If we continue to win, hopefully we’ll stay on top,” he said.
New Hampshire next hosts UMass-Lowell next Friday, while the Huskies host Boston College on Friday.