By BRIAN DUNN
Friday night saw UNH and UMass Amherst, two Hockey East foes, go toe-to-toe at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. UNH’s third period collapse resulted in overtime, but nothing came of it and the teams tied.
There were a multitude of concerns that surrounded the Wildcats coming into the matchup. They’ve struggled to maintain leads, been hapless at times on defense, and broken down on fundamentals. Head coach Dick Umile’s team had a lot to prove as it started its road trip.
“Our last outing we mishandled the puck and that’s why we lost our game against Clarkson,” Umile said. “The focus was all on how were handling the puck and managing the puck.”
With that in mind, the Wildcats put their best foot forward, opening with an accomplishment for the first time this season: scoring first.
Senior assistant captain Dan Correale and the Wildcats drew first blood, going up 1-0 against UMass. But Correale wasn’t done, netting two more before the end of the second period for a hat trick.
With insurance goals coming from Andrew Poturalski, Collin MacDonald and Chris Miller, the Wildcats had the Minutemen reeling and came into the locker room at the end of the second intermission holding a five goal lead.
But the Wildcats committed the same sin that’s plagued them all year. The third period went horribly wrong for the Wildcats.
The Minutemen scored an astonishing five unanswered goals on Danny Tirone, and at 17:20 in the third period. The Wildcats watched a five goal lead slip out of their fingers as the Minutemen tied the game at 6-6.
“Twice [we had] too many men on the ice, bad line changes” Umile said in his post game press conference; the Wildcats let up two power play goals at the end of the third because of the infractions. “Disappointing on our part on how we handled and managed the third period.”
The Minutemen were able to force overtime, and had another chance to pull off an unlikely comeback and steal one from UNH. But the Wildcats held strong, surviving the overtime period to escape Amherst with a 6-6 tie.
The team then traveled two hours to Schenectady, New York. Union College hosted the Wildcats in UNH’s fourth non-conference bout of the season.
The team left Amherst with a sour taste in its mouth and looked to set the record straight. Union entered the matchup with an undefeated record after tying Michigan the night before.
The magic ended for Union, however, as the Wildcats crashed the party—and the net—to earn a 5-2 win.
The Dutchmen grabbed the first lead of the matchup early on, as Spencer Foo potted the puck off of an assist from Brett Supinski to put the Dutchmen up 1-0.
As was the case Friday night, Dan Correale lit the lamp, with Tyler Kelleher and Cameron Marks assisting Correale for his fourth goal of the weekend. Another Union goal came later in the period from Ryan Scarfo. The Dutchmen took the one goal lead into the first intermission.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, Scarfo’s goal was the last time a Dutchman put the puck past Wildcat goaltender Adam Clark.
The ‘Cats took over the game and controlled the remaining two periods. UNH scored four unanswered goals; three of the four came from the top two lines of the Wildcats’ lineup. Kelleher and Poturalski each scored, continuing their hot starts. Defenseman Richie Boyd potted the fifth goal to put the cherry on top.
Clark got the call to start for the first time this season, and did not disappoint. His 34 saves allowed the Wildcats’ five goals on Union goaltender Jake Kupsky hold up for the win.
The team continues its road trip with a visit to Merrimack College to battle the Warriors on Halloween night.
Offense propels UNH
By BRIAN DUNN