No. 8 New Hampshire Holds Serve Over No. 5 Mass Attack, 5-3
Jan. 12, 2008
DURHAM, N.H. - The UMass Minutemen dropped their second game of the weekend on Saturday evening with a 5-3 loss to the UNH Wildcats. Paul Dainton returned to the net for the Minutemen after Dan Meyers got the start Friday night. UMass will return to action next Friday when they travel to Providence, R.I. to take on the Friars of Providence College. The Minutemen will then head to Lowell to take on the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
UMass falls to 9-5-5 overall and 4-4-4 in Hockey East, while New Hampshire improves to 13-6-1 overall and 9-4-1 in Hockey East.
UMass pressured the Wildcat defense at times in the first period, but the Minutemen were unable to create any significant opportunities early on. There was a lot of back and forth action between the two squads, but Dainton and UNH goaltender Kevin Regan were there to keep the game scoreless. The Wildcats broke the deadlock six minutes into the period when Kevin Kapstad netted his first goal of the season by banging home a rebound in the slot. Dainton stopped the initial shot, but a UMass defender crashed into Dainton in an attempt to clear the puck, resulting in a wide open net for Kapstad.
Both teams traded penalties during the period, and the penalty killing squad of the Minutemen consistently blocked shot attempts from their counterparts and minimized the scoring chances. UMass' best scoring chance came near the end of the period, when a shot hit Regan but fluttered to the other side of the crease.
A UMass forward tried to get to the loose rebound, but a Wildcat defenseman tied him up to prevent a sure goal.
The lack of scoring in the first period was quickly replaced in the middle stanza, with six goals being scored between both teams. But it was UNH who went into the locker room with a commanding lead. UMass got on the board just 1:30 into the frame when P.J. Fenton scored his fourth goal of the season on a one- timer that found its way through traffic and past Regan to tie the score. The Wildcats responded one minute later when Greg Collins threw a puck from behind the net that hit something in front and trickled into the net. After UNH was assessed a penalty, the UMass power play tied the game on Mike Kostka's fourth goal of the season. Kostka was stationed in front of the net and was able to battle his way through a defenseman and bang the puck home. Referee Dave Hansen reviewed the play to see if the puck was kicked in, but the goal stood.
A few minutes after the goal, Craig Switzer was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind when he checked Brett Watson into the boards near the UMass bench. Watson left the ice after the hit but returned later in the period. The five minute penalty did not stall the Wildcat attack, and James vanRiemsdyk retook the lead when he took a long pass from a teammate and went in alone on Dainton. vanRiemsdyk deeked to the right and slid the puck five-hole to take the 3-2 lead. As the extended power play continued, UMass had multiple chances to tie the game, but Regan made save after save to preserve his team's lead. The Minutemen thought they had a 5-on-3 power play when James Marcou was slashed near center ice, but Hansen's arm remained stagnant.
The Wildcats increased their lead when Danny Dries was credited with his fourth goal of the season amid chaos in front of Dainton as the puck somehow crossed the goal line. UNH took a strangle hold on the lead late in the period while on the power play when Bobby Butler took a pass from vanRiemsdyk and put the puck past Dainton for the 5-2 lead.
The Minutemen did their best to fight back in the third period, but they could only cut the Wildcat lead to two. The Minutemen had lots of chances late in the period, but Regan was there constantly to deny the UMass attack. The Minutemen cut the lead to two goals with three minutes remaining in regulation when Cory Quirk deflected a Fenton shot from the point while on the power play. The goal was Quirk's seventh of the season. Marcou nearly brought the Minutemen within one goal with just over one minute to play when he held the puck in front of Regan, but he flipped the puck just over the crossbar. UMass showed their resiliency until the very end, but Regan was there to turn away the Minutemen bids to climb within one.
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