By BRIAN DUNN
Most people were out trick-or-treating, but the UNH men’s hockey team had other business to attend to.
In spite of the holiday, head coach Dick Umile and the Wildcats weren’t spooked as they traveled to Merrimack College and defeated the Warriors on Halloween night 4-2.
The victory was the team’s second straight, and the Wildcats improved to 3-2-1 on the season.
“I thought the guys responded really well and played hard,” Umile said. “Merrimack has been playing well, and [Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy] has done a great job with this team, and I just thought our guys battled all night.”
Faster than you can say “boo,” UNH was up 2-0 on the Warriors.
The hot start was sparked by freshman Ara Nazarian’s goal that came in the third minute of the first period. The goal was Nazarian’s first as a Wildcat.
A mere 18 seconds later, Richie Boyd joined the effort by finding the back of the net.
UNH again cashed in on an opportunity shortly after the puck dropped for the start of second period play as Andrew Poturalksi gave UNH its third goal.
The ‘Cats were able to generate quality chances on the power play, capitalizing on two out of seven. Poturalski credits the success to the chemistry he has with his line-mates.
“Even add [Dan Correale] in there, too, all three of us work hard together and we love playing with each other,” said Poturalski, whose line contributed three points on the night. “We both move the puck well and see each other out there so things are clicking right now.”
Goaltender Adam Clark got the call for the start for UNH. He allowed only two goals while saving 28 shots in the winning effort, increasing his record to 2-0 on the season.
Moreover, Coach Umile was pleased with Clark’s performance against a tough offense in Merrimack.
“I thought Adam Clark stood tall,” Umile said. “[Clark was able] to handle shots with his body and played well.”
The night of Oct. 31 has not been so kind to the Wildcats over the years. Prior to Saturday’s contest, UNH had played two games on Halloween over the past eight years. In 2009, the Wildcats dropped a decision to the University of Wisconsin 6-1. Last year, UNH dropped a decision to UMass-Lowell at the Whittemore Center by a score of 2-0.
Nonetheless, Saturday’s win marked the Wildcats second straight victory against a nationally ranked opponent, after a win against No. 24 Union on Oct. 24.
UNH will travel to Michigan State to take on the Spartans in East Lansing on Friday.
Poturalski scores two in winning effort against Merrimack
By BRIAN DUNN