DURHAM, N.H. — The sixth ranked University of New Hampshire defeated UMass-Lowell 3-2 Friday night at the Whittemore Center Arena.
Matt Fornataro had a goal and two assists for UNH and freshmen Phil DeSimone had two assists. UMass Lowell goalie Nevin Hamilton had 41 saves in the game.
It was an important win for us, I thought our team played hard it was disappointing when we were down 2-1 but I told them to stay with it and they came out and played the second period not a whole heck of a lot we got it tied up which was important. I liked the way we moved, we stayed with them we had a lot of chances, said UNH head coach Dick Umile.
New Hampshire got on the board first when Jerry Pollastrone scored his fourth goal of the year. Assists were given to Fornataro and Brad Flaishans. Fornataro had the opportunity to make it a 2-0 Wildcat lead when he received a breakaway pass from Craig Switzer but was unable to convert.
The Riverhawks tied it up on a Jonathan Maniff goal. Lowell increased their lead to 2-1 when Mark Roebothan scored a power play goal. Assists were given to Scott Campbell and Ryan Blair.
The second period was a dominant one for New Hampshire as they had 17 shots on net. Hamilton was able to make 16 saves throughout the middle frame. Fortney and vanRiemsdyk had a good opportunity to tie the game when vanRiemsdyk received a pass from Fortney in front of the net, but Hamilton made the stop.
Fornataro scored from the right post off a Craig Switzer pass. DeSimone was also given credit for the assist. New Hampshire had two power play opportunities, but were unable to score on either chance. The second period ended with the two teams tied 2-2.
The Wildcats started the final period on the power play, but that was short lived as DeSimone was called for hooking. About midway through the third, DeSimone passed the puck to Radja who was in front of the net. Radja scored the game winner at 11:24.
With 2:00 to play, Kevin Regan made a big glove save on Roebothan to perserve the Wildcats lead. Lowell would pull Hamilton with 1:05 remaining in regulation.
I was proud of how we battled this evening. We knew it was going to be an opportunity for us to see how far we could bend without breaking. We had a good chance to tie it passed the midway point in the third and we dont and they get a puck jumping on their stick off of our skate and they finish and thats the difference, said Blaise MacDonald.
New Hampshire is 8-2-1, 5-2-1 in Hockey East. UMass Lowell fell to 4-4-4, 2-4-4 in league play.
The two teams face off tomorrow at the Tsongas Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.