By BRIAN DUNN
It was a long trip back to Durham for the Wildcats.
UNH dropped both games of the weekend doubleheader at Michigan State University, by scores of 5-0 and 7-4, dropping the Wildcats to 3-4-1 this season.
Coming off of a two-game win streak, the start to Friday’s matchup was not what the Wildcats had in mind. Spartan forward Mason Appleton put the Wildcats on their heels early with a goal at 6:12 in the first period to draw first blood.
The Wildcats never managed to work their way back into the game as the Spartans scored four more goals in Friday night’s contest. Two goals came off of special teams play; Villiam Haag scored a power play goal for the Spartans, and Joe Cox added a shorthanded goal after a UNH defensive breakdown.
UNH’s 25 shots could not find the back of the net against Spartan goaltender Jake Hildebrand and Michigan State preserved the 5-0 shutout. UNH hadn’t been shutout since last season’s 4-0 loss to Maine on Jan. 24.
UNH had 16 blocked shots on Friday night and limited the Spartans to two power plays. Despite this, the Spartans managed to pepper Wildcat goaltender Danny Tirone. Tirone stopped 37 shots in the loss.
The puck dropped on Saturday night and the Spartans took only 32 seconds to pick up where they left off.
Cox ripped one past Tirone on the first shot of the game to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Nine minutes later Appleton added a second goal for the Spartants, and it seemed as though Wildcats were going to suffer another blowout.
But the Wildcats responded with two goals of their own. Chris Miller fought to corral a Hildebrand rebound, bringing UNH to within one at the 13:05 mark of the first period. Sophomore Tyler Kelleher added another goal on the power play, helping the Wildcats draw even with the Spartans at the end of the first period.
Michigan State had a chance to put the game away after going up 4-2 off of goals from Haag and J.T. Stenglein.
But the Wildcats battled back again. Andrew Poturalski and Kelleher found the back of the net to tie the game once more.
Michigan State’s offensive barrage wasn’t done, however. Brennan Sanford, Ryan Keller and Mackenzie MacEachern added third period scores to lift the Spartans to a 7-4 win. In total, Tirone faced 42 shots on Saturday, stopping 36 of them in the loss.
The Wildcats will travel to North Andover, Massachusetts on Nov. 14 for a 7 p.m. tilt with Merrimack College.