DURHAM, N.H. — New Hampshire dominated previously undefeated Michigan, but had to settle for a 1-1 tie in a game that included just about everything: numerous breakaways, a five-minute major, a goaltender injury and a penalty shot.
Michigan took a first-period lead when Tyler Motte scored on the five-minute major power play, but UNH answered early in the second on a Nick Sorkin goal from the doorstep right after a man-advantage ended.
From there on, the Wildcats seized territorial control, outshooting Michigan 11-6 in the second period, 14-2 in the third, and 2-1 in overtime. They finished with an overall 35-18 advantage.
“No doubt about it, we’re disappointed that we didn’t win it,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “We did everything but win it.
“It was a 60-minute [performance] and from the second period on we really took charge of the game. I was pleased with how we played tonight and disappointed we didn’t get that extra point.”
Grayson Downing raced off on multiple early breakaways only to be foiled by Michigan’s Steve Racine, who stopped 19 of 20 shots before leaving early in the third with what appeared to be knee or groin injury. He left the game following an innocuous looking sequence, requiring assistance as he very gingerly left the ice.
Freshman Zach Nagelvoort replaced him and stopped all 15 shots he faced, included a penalty shot by Dan Correale, who had been hauled down on a partial breakaway. On the attempt, he deked, but Nagelvoort’s pad save kept the game tied.
“They’re a great team and we were lucky to come out of the first period alive,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “They had three or four breakaways in the first period alone.
“Racine played very well. That went unnoticed, but he kept us in the game.”
The Wolverines emerged from that first period with a 1-0 lead thanks to Racine’s saves on Downing, plus capitalizing at least marginally on the major penalty and game misconduct assessed to Dalton Speelman for hitting the head. Since the teams were already playing four-on-four, the advantage expanded to a 47-second five-on-three. Michigan couldn’t score during that two-man advantage, but did soon enough thereafter.
JT Compher got the puck from the right point to Motte on the left post where the freshman redirected it home.
When asked if his team was happy to have emerged with a point, Berenson said, “Yes. We were on our heels and they had good control. Getting a power play helped [them], but nevertheless, they had the better scoring chances.”
Following Sorkin’s game-tying goal, UNH played progressively better, but ultimately couldn’t solve the Wolverine goaltenders.
UNH netminder Jeff Wyer, last year a backup to Casey DeSmith, continued to make his case for a rotation, making 17 of 18 saves. DeSmith will start in the rematch game on Saturday according to Umile, but he’ll decide in future weeks on a game-by-game basis.
Berenson had no answers on Racine’s health, but from a layman’s eye, he looked very doubtful to play on Saturday. That said, Berenson’s primary concerns lie elsewhere.
“Tomorrow we’ve got to stay out of the penalty box, we’ve got to be better with the puck and we’ve got to give our goalie more than one goal,” he said. “You’re not going to win any games scoring one goal.”