DURHAM, N.H. — Sophomore Jacob Micflikier scored a hat trick, and senior Sean Collins added two more goals as No. 8 New Hampshire defeated Massachusetts, 8-1, at the Whittemore Center Friday.
Micflikier recorded his 12th, 13th and 14th goals of the season. Sophomores Daniel Winnik and Brett Hemingway also scored for UNH, as did senior Justin Aikins, as the Wildcats outshot the Minutemen 27-16 for the game.
Aikins added four assists on the night. Fellow senior Preston Callander, junior Brian Yandle and freshman Brad Flaishans had two assists.
New Hampshire improved to 19-7-3 overall, 12-3-2 in Hockey East, while Massachusetts dropped to 11-17-2 (5-12-2 Hockey East). The Minutemen saw their road record drop to 1-11-1.
“Great night for UNH; a testament to their ability to connect, especially early in the game,” said Massachusetts coach Don Cahoon. “Their abilities are pretty well documented.”
Indeed, New Hampshire jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead, and never looked back. Several UNH goals were of the highlight-reel variety, as were a couple that were the result of flat-out great individual efforts.
There was Callander carrying the puck from his own end on a UNH power play and into the Minuteman zone, then feeding a pinpoint goalmouth pass to Hemingway for his 17th goal of the season to make it 2-0 UNH. Then there was Micflikier tipping home a pass from Yandle at the point for the first of his trifecta and a 3-0 UNH lead after one.
“We played a solid game from start to finish, and made some great plays early on and kind of busted it open,” said New Hampshire coach Dick Umile.
On another UNH man-advantage situation in the second period, Collins tried to feed a pass from the left faceoff circle to Hemingway, but instead simply glanced off the stick of Massachusetts goaltender Tim Warner and ended up in the net to make it 4-0.
Later on in the middle frame, Collins made a bid for the Niftiest Goal of the Year award. Taking a pass from Callander across the Massachusetts blue line, Collins faked left then drew the puck around the UMass defender — who’s still likely looking for his skates — and put the puck behind Warner to the approval of the sellout crowd.
Cahoon pulled the beleaguered Warner and replaced him with sophomore Michael Waidlich. The goal-scoring trend of the Wildcats continued, nevertheless.
Micflikier scored his second goal of the night as a result of great stickhandling, and Aikins got into the act just 29 seconds later with his fifth goal of the year.
Cahoon was not at a loss for words following the drubbing.
“Overall, this was one of the most disgraceful performances I’ve ever been a part of,” said the fifth-year coach of the Minutemen. “There was a lack of effort, a lack of courage, and a lack of will.
“I could have had [NHL coaching legend] Scotty Bowman drawing up plays tonight; it wouldn’t have made any difference. There was a lack of interest to get to pucks, get on people and assert themselves defensively. New Hampshire is a terrific team, and I can live with that, but I can’t live with kids who don’t want to play with pride with the UMass jersey on their back,” said Cahoon.
Minutemen fans must have been thinking that this current UMass squad resembles nothing of the team that dethroned the two-time defending Hockey East champion Wildcats in last year’s semifinals. That’s what losing top-notch players like Greg Mauldin (pros) and Thomas Pock (graduation) will do.
But it was this year’s team that thoroughly disappointed Cahoon on this night.
“Our team was an absolute disgrace to Hockey East tonight,” said Cahoon.
The deke goal of the year went to Micflikier to close out the UNH scoring attack. Taking a rink-wide pass from Flaishans, Micflikier used a series of moves to back Waidlich into the net before stuffing the puck home.
“Flaishans made a heck of a pass on that breakaway,” said Micflikier, adding, “We needed to come out with a big Friday win.”
The two teams play the third and final meeting of the regular season Saturday, when the Wildcats travel to the Mullins Center. Game time is at 7 p.m..