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Wildcats suffer first loss, but secure #1 seed in conference tournament

Last Friday, the Wildcats (12-1-3, 5-1-1) suffered their first loss of the season losing 1-0 to UAlbany (9-6-1, 4-3).  UAlbany’s Austin DeSilva scored the game’s lone goal in the 22nd minute resulting in a change in the Wildcat’s loss column for the first time in 2019. 

If you looked at the box score for Friday’s game, you may notice it looks very similar to any random UNH win this season. UNH had more shots in the game with ten and kept their opponent to a minuscule three shots with only one on goal. Yet, that one shot on goal for UAlbany was the game-changer. 

UNH’s regulars all got shots off in this game but none could find the back of the net. Graduate student Fabian Lutz had three shots, senior Antonio Colacci had two, and five other players each had one. 

“I think this is a good reminder that we can’t just go out there and expect to win regardless of how we all play…” said UNH head coach Mark Hubbard this past Tuesday on the loss. “It kind of helps reset us a little bit and gets us back to a position where we know we have to focus and train really hard every day. We are in a good position to achieve all of our goals and it starts tomorrow night,” he continued. 

The “tomorrow night” that he was referring to was Wednesday’s game against UVM (11-5-1, 5-1-1). Going into this game, the Catamounts had won four straight games to improve their overall record to 11-5-0 and their conference record to 5-1 which was tied with UNH for first place in the America East. 

The Cat’s started off well thanks to an early goal from senior Jack Doherty in the fourth minute of the game. The rest of the game was extremely back and forth and there was lots of great footwork around the midfield as each team spent over 50% of their possession time in their attacking halves. 

It wasn’t until the 74th minute that UVM tied the game 1-1 on a penalty kick. It turned out regulation time wouldn’t be enough to determine a winner between these two teams after the penalty kick evened things up. At the end of regulation, UNH had 10 shots and Vermont had nine. 

In the first overtime period, each team had two shots on net but even an extra 10 minutes wasn’t enough. A second overtime period commenced, and the Catamounts got one shot off but at the end of 110 minutes, UNH and UVM were tied at one. 

The tie resulted in the two teams sharing the honor of America East Regular Season Co-Champions. For tournament play, however, UNH will be awarded the number one seed due to a tiebreaker meaning they will have a bye until the semi-finals. 

Colacci, UNH’s leading scorer, spoke about the season. “It’s been unbelievable, we couldn’t have drawn it up any better than this, I mean losing last week obviously hurt us but I think it humbled us at the same time.” 

UNH’s next game will be the America East Conference Championship Semi-final at Wildcat Stadium held on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. UNH will play the winner of the fifth-seeded UMass Lowell (8-7-1, 3-4)and the fourth-seeded Albany. That quarterfinal game will be played this Saturday in Albany at 3:00.  

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