Minuteman Lose Overtime Heartbreaker, 3-2
Feb. 7, 2004
DURHAM, N.H. - Justin Aikins scored 4:20 into overtime to lift No. 10 New Hampshire to a 3-2 victory over No. 14 Massachusetts on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center. The loss drops UMass' record to 16-6-5 overall and 12-4-2 in Hockey East. New Hampshire improves to 16-10-3 and 8-6-3.
The Minutemen had a golden opportunity early as Stephen Werner (Chevy Chase, Md.) deflected a UNH shot, causing a partial breakaway, but Werner couldn't corral the loose puck along the left slot as UNH goalie Mike Ayers was caught out of position, and the game remained scoreless. The Wildcats went on the game's first power play of the contest, seven minutes into the first frame. However, the Minutemen may have had the best opportunities as Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) and Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario) had partial breakaways that Ayers turned aside. The power play ended when Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) drew a penalty after yet another breakaway chance, giving the Minutemen 1:09 power play midway through the frame. However, the Wildcats stopped the UMass attack to keep the Minutemen off the board. Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) then made his biggest save of the first period with two minutes left in the frame when Sean Collins was left alone in front of the net, but Winer came out to cut off the angle and calmly kicked the puck aside to keep UNH scoreless. Winer made another big save in the waning moments of the first period and the two teams headed into the locker rooms tied at zero.
UNH took a 1-0 lead on a power-play tally by Daniel Winnik. Winnik batted home his own rebound after Winer made a great save on an Winnik's initial shot. The goal, Winnik's fourth of the year, came at the 9:12 mark of the second period. However, UMass knotted the score at 1-1 whenVitek tipped in a Mauldin blast past Ayers' shoulder with just 35 seconds left in the second period to send the two teams to the locker rooms after 40 minutes.
UNH again took a one-goal lead when Preston Callandar batted in a rebound at the 6:09 mark to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. But again, the Minutemen didn't quit and with 1:37 left in regulation, Nick Kuiper (Beaconsfield, Quebec) stayed persistent and batted in a loose puck to tie the game at 2-2. Pöck and Mauldin assisted on the game-tying goal. With eight seconds left in regulation, UMass was whistled for a penalty, giving the Wildcats a power play that extended into overtime, but the Minutemen killed it off successfully. After the two teams traded punches in overtime, Aikins ended the game after swatting home a loose puck 4:20 into the extra session.
UMass will host Boston College at the Mullins Center on Friday night (Feb. 13) at 7:00 p.m., in a key Hockey East battle. The game will be for the lead in the Hockey East standings, as BC leads with 27 points and UMass is one point behind with 26. The game is being promoted as "White-Out Night", as the first 2,000 fans in the doors will receive white T-shirts, and all fans are encouraged to wear white. For ticket information, call the UMass Ticket Office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.