DURHAM, N.H. — The University of New Hampshire continued their dominance in hockey east as they defeated UMass Amherst 5-1 on Friday night at the Whittemore Center. Trevor Smith, Matt Fornataro, and Chris Murray all had two points on the night.
The last time the two teams faced was back on October 26th when UMass handed UNH it’s only league loss of the season. Since that game, The University of New Hampshire has gotten off to it’s best start since the 1999-2000 season. They now have an overall record of 18-3-1, 13-1-1 in league play. UMass fell to 10-8-3, 7-6-1 in hockey east.
UMass’s Chris Davis was serving a two minute penalty for slashing when UNH went on their first power play of the night. Defensemen Chris Murray had a long pass to Matt Fornataro who then made an across the net pass to Trevor Smith who was alone in front of the net. Smith then stuffed it passed UMass goalie Jon Quick to give UNH a 1-0 lead at 11:52 of the first period.
With Jacob MicFlikier out of the lineup due to a shoulder injury, UNH freshmen Peter LeBlanc was moved to play on the first line with seniors Brett Hemingway and Josh Ciocco. The move resulted in LeBlanc’s first collegiate goal as Hemingway gave LeBlanc an across the net pass that was he able to redirect to make it a 2-0 game.
As the first period winded down, UMass had a shorthanded bid when senior Matt Anderson and Brett Watson put pressure on UNH goalie Kevin Regan but Regan held out. In the second frame of play UMass got on the board to cut UNH’s lead to half. Chris Capraro would net his fifth goal of the year on the power play. Mike Kostka and Mark Matheson got credited with the assists for the Minutemen.
After that it was all UNH as they scored two more second period goals. UNH’s Bobby Butler was able to get past UMass defensemen David Leaderer and Topher Bevis. The goal made it a 3-1 game and was Butler’s fifth goal of the season. At 18:07 of the second period Smith set up Fornataro to score his tenth goal of the year and gave UNH a three goal advantage at the end of two.
Both coaches agreed the third goal scored was the momentum changer in the game. Don Cahoon, UMass head coach said, “On a couple of goals in the second period when we closed the gap and made a little game of it when it was 2-1 I actually liked the way we were playing at that point and felt maybe we would crawl back into it but then they make those two individual efforts on one on one situations and then it’s a 4-1 game.”
Head coach of UNH Dick Umile made a similar statement. “In the second period they battled back and obviously our third goal was huge for us after they made it 2-1. I thought the first half of the second period they battled pretty hard to get back into the gamebut we played a solid third period to preserve the win.”
The only goal of the third period was scored by Brad Flaishans who is UNH’s leading defensemen in scoring. Flaishans gathered the puck from the left blueline, skated around and behind the UMass net, back to the right point and scored. UMass coach Don Cahoon pulled Quick in favor of freshmen Dan Meyers. Meyers played for 11:58 and stopped all three Wildcat shots he faced.
The two teams will face off again on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst. Game time is 7 p.m.