By Josh Sullivan, Sports Editor
Danny Tirone stood tall for 24 saves and captain Matt Willows banged home two goals in the third period to lead the UNH Wildcats to their second win of the weekend over UConn Saturday night 5-1.
UNH had its first chance to get on the board when a Matias Cleland slap shot drew Huskies goaltender Rob Nichols out of the net. Junior Jamie Hill threw the puck on net, but his effort was thwarted by Nichols.
Jay Camper got the Wildcats on the board with 13:42 in the first period, when he took Warren Foegele’s pass in the slot and ripped a wrister that made its way past Nichols blocker side and went bar-Mexico. The Wildcats led 1-0.
Soon after Casey Thrush and Matt Willows went in on a two-on-one, but Willows was swallowed up by the backchecking UConn defenseman and Thrush’s shot was right into Nichols’ pads.
Tyler Kelleher scored with 10:48 to go in the second period as a direct result of some tic-tac-toe passing from linemate Dan Correale and Matias Clealand. Correale got the puck from Cleland in the slot, slid it over to Kelleher who then slipped it betweent Nichols five-hole to make it a 2-0 game. Andrew Poturalski nearly made it 3-0 immediately after, but was robbed by Nichols outstretched glove.
Senior Trevor Gerling got the Huskies on the board with 2:41 left in the second period. After a scrum in front of the net, Gerling managed to squeak the puck past Tirone .
UNH didn’t back down though. Just seconds later Cleland got the puck at the point from Matt Willows and fired a wrister at the net. Nichols was screened by Willows and the puck soared over his shoulder. UNH was back in control 3-1.
The Wildcats came out hard in the third period, but despite several scoring chances, they only managed two shots on net in the first five minutes of the period, one of those an accident by Grayson Downing. But with 14:45 in the period, captain Matt Willow snuck a Thrush pass in between Nichols legs, and UNH went ahead 4-1.
Willows scored his second of the period when Downing went in the corner and dug out a loose puck and fired it to Willows who was standing all alone at the face off dot. The one-timer hit the back of the net, and UNH found itself in unfamiliar territory, leading 5-1.
UNH will host a back-to-back games against Merrimack on Friday and Saturday Feb. 27 and 28. If the ‘Cats win both games, they have a good chance at hosting a home game in the Hockey East tournament.

Executive Editor