BOSTON — After coming back from behind on Friday night, some thought Northeastern would take a hold of this game and run with it. But three second-period goals by New Hampshire were the deciding factor as the Wildcats rallied past the Huskies in a 3-1 victory Saturday night.
Northeastern struck first on a power-play goal from Mike Morris. Morris, who netted his third of the year, scored on a centering pass that deflected off the defense and past UNH goalie Kevin Regan. Assists were given to Steven Birnstill and Chad Costello.
Northeastern seemed to have the ice tilted towards Regan for the rest of the period, collecting 18 shots while only giving UNH six, but chance after chance was turned away by Regan, who made several outstanding saves to keep New Hampshire in the game.
Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin said, “The bottom line is when you have 18 shots in the first period, and you have a couple that are wide open, you’ve got to put them in. You’ve got to put those pucks in.”
The first five minutes of the second period looked to be a copy of the first, with Northeastern dominating the play. But on what seemed to be an innocent change for UNH, Matt Fornataro skated the puck down the ice to feed Trevor Smith for the goal, his eighth of the year, including one in all six games UNH has played.
“[Smith] is playing well for us, its not a surprise, I mean, he is someone who last year proved he is a goal-scorer in this league,” UNH coach Dick Umile said.
UNH wasn’t done and took the lead for good three minutes later on a goal from Chris Murray. Murray slapped home a shot from the point that seemed to be deflected after Northeastern failed to clear the zone. Picking up assists on the play were Smith and Fornataro.
UNH then capitalized late in the second on a power play. Brett Hemingway fed the puck through traffic in front and Jamie Fritch banged it home to give the Wildcats a two-goal lead going into the break. Jacob Micflikier also collected an assist on the play.
Said Umile, “[The second period] was a real character period.” Northeastern was only playing its second home game of the year, and their first in Hockey East.
UNH found its wheels in the second, collecting more than twice as many shots as in the first, while only letting Northeastern get six shots on Regan. Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen was doing all he could to keep the Wildcats at bay, but penalties and defensive miscues spelled disaster.
Late in the third period, Northeastern came close a few times after pulling Thiessen, but the Wildcat defense held the Huskies to the outside.
On the night Northeastern went 1-7 on the power-play and UNH went 1-6. Thiessen made 21 saves on the night and Regan 29.
Up next for Northeastern (2-5-1, 0-4-1) is a tilt with UMass at the Mullins Center on Friday, and for UNH (4-2-0, 2-1-0) it’s a game at Boston University that same night.