DURHAM, N.H. — The Hockey East schedule opened up for New Hampshire and Massachusetts Thursday night to a sold-out crowd at the Whittemore Center, where UMass earned a 3-2 win over eighth-ranked UNH.
With UMass already up 2-1, the eventual game winning goal came on a third-period power play. The Wildcats’ Thomas Fortney was called for tripping at the 14:45 mark, and UMass’ Kevin Jarman redirected a shot from defenseman Justin Braun to give the Minutemen a 3-1 lead with 4:35 remaining in the contest. Assistant captain P.J. Fenton set up the play and earned an assist.
UNH coach Dick Umile pulled netminder Kevin Regan in favor of an extra skaterk, and for the remaining 2:23 UNH skated with an open net in hopes to try and tie the game. As time was about to expire, senior defensemen Chris Murray intercepted the puck and fired a slapshot that Trevor Smith redirected for his fourth goal of the season with 23 seconds left.
Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, time ran out and the Minutemen were able to gain the win and the two points in Hockey East.
“It’s a long season; we have a long way to go. It’s just a missed opportunity we had a chance to win our first Hockey East game and didn’t get it done … Every night you have to come to play and you can’t put yourself in a hole,” said Umile.
The Wildcats had started auspiciously, getting on the board first after the Minutemen were called for a boarding penalty at 11:22 of the first period. Forward Kevin Jarman was sent to the box for Massachusetts, and one second after his penalty expired, UNH assistant captain Jacob Micflikier scored his first goal of the season.
Junior Mike Radja passed the puck to Micflikier, who was waiting in front of the net and stuffed it past goalie Jon Quick. Brett Hemingway was also credited with an assist on the play.
The Wildcats held the one-goal lead until the 18:48 mark, when UMass senior Mark Matheson scored on the rebound from Will Ortiz.
UMass coach Don Cahoon said that the tying goal was a turning point.
“They’ve got the one-goal lead in their building and if they compound that and get another one it’s going to be a long ride home. So getting that goal, getting to start over again with everything level, is probably as big as a play in the game as a winning goal.”
In the second period, UMass took the lead as Chris Davis scored on Regan. Junior Zech Klann was credited for the assist on the only scoring action in the period.
Massachusetts will continue Hockey East play by traveling to Orono to face Maine on Saturday night. New Hampshire next has a nonconference game against Yale, also on Saturday. Both games are slated to start at 7 p.m.