BOSTON — New Hampshire’s unbeaten streak, which started November 3 with a 6-3 comeback win versus Northeastern University, continued as UNH beat Northeastern 3-1 Saturday night.
Recording the first three strikes of the game, all even strength, UNH cruised through most of the contest, helped by goalkeeper Kevin Regan, who made 28 saves on the night. UNH remains unbeaten in the month of November.
“Regan played consistent and solid, Northeastern could have gotten back in the game but Regan shut them down,” UNH coach Dick Umile said.
The first period started slow as both teams seemed to be working off their share of turkey and stuffing. At 16:00 UNH opened the scoring when Mike Radja took a blistering shot from the point that was deflected by Kevin Kapstad past NU goalie Brad Thiessen. It was Kapstad’s first collegiate goal.
UNH piled 13 shots on Thiessen in the first, but Thiessen let up very few rebounds for UNH to take advantage of.
Thiessen said, “All game long they throwing everything at the net, just getting on the wall and whipping it towards the net.”
New Hampshire came out fast in the second and a little over a minute in added its second tally of the night.
Brett Hemingway finally got the puck into the net on a third-chance opportunity after Northeastern defender Brian Deeth did his best goalie impression, making a big kick-save, to keep the puck out of the net as Thiessen came sliding over from the far side. But the damage was done after Hemingway found the back of the next on his third try. Jacob Micflikier collected his 15th assist of the year on the play.
UNH continued to pile the shots on, taking a total of 18 in the second, and found paydirt when Thomas Fortney came streaking out of the penalty box and it looked like he hit the back of the net on the breakaway.
The linesmen thought Fortney had scored, and so did Fortney, but the goal light never came on. A conference ensued between the officials before awarding the goal to Fortney. Brad Flaishans got an assist on the play. It was the third even-strength goal for UNH.
Northeastern finally struck on a somewhat fluky goal when captain Mike Morris threw the puck towards the net from the point and it rattled off both posts before ending up in the back of the net. The Northeastern power play was hurt by the loss of senior defensemen Steve Birnstill, who was out with injury.
“[The power play] has been out of whack since Birnstill got hurt; it’s not clicking,” Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin said.
“[Birnstill] is one of the best defensemen in the league, so not having him on the ice is a tough loss.” Thieseen added.
Birnstill is expected to return next weekend.
UNH now has a four-point lead in Hockey East, which Brett Hemingway called “a good start.” UNH has now won five straight games and is undefeated in its last eight.
On the night the Northeastern power-play went 1-10 and the New Hampshire power-play was 0-4.
Regan made 28 saves on 29 shots and Thieseen made 38 saves on 41 shots. UNH moves to 9-2-1 (7-1-1 HEA) and Northeastern is now 2-8-2 (0-7-2 HEA).
Next for UNH is a Tuesday tilt with Merrimack at home, and that following weekend Northeastern plays a home and home with Merrimack starting Friday at Matthews Arena.