The Wildcats skated to a 5-4 victory over the Bentley Falcons Saturday night at the Whittemore Center.
The win marked the Wildcats’ first home-ice victory since they hosted their season opener against America International College on Oct. 10. The Wildcats are now 4-6-3 this season.
The Falcons started off with an early lead after Derek Bacon skated into the top of the crease and scored with the help of Billy Eiserman at the 5:03 mark in the first period.
UNH answered back quickly with a pass by junior forward Tyler Kelleher to sophomore defenseman Dylan Chanter on the left wing. Chanter quickly fed the puck across ice to senior Dan Correale who stuffed the puck in the net, tying the game at 1-1.
UNH capitalized on its first power play of the game at 10:37 of the first period. Sophomore Andrew Poturalski rifled a shot toward the net and Correale got a piece of it on its way in to receive credit for his second goal of the game.
The Falcons came back and tied the game at 2-2 with a backhander by Drew Callin.
At 8:16 of the second period, the Wildcats began the hunt for another power play goal. Junior defenseman Matias Cleland settled a pass from Poturalski and sent a slapshot toward Bentley net-minder Gabe Antoni. The puck sailed past Antoni’s right shoulder, giving UNH a 3-2 lead.
Bentley once again showed resilience and stormed back with an early goal in the third by Kyle Schmidt at 3:53 to tie the game at three apiece.
Just twelve seconds later UNH bounced back when freshman Ara Nazarian fed the puck to line mate Marcus Vela, who was posted right in front of the net. Vela knocked the puck in for his first career goal.
“It’s nice to finally get that goal and the monkey off my back,” Vela said after the game. “We all have responsibilities that we need to fulfill.”
“It was great to see him get a goal, it was huge,” head coach Dick Umile said.
But overall, Umile wasn’t overly impressed with the team’s performance.
“It was a battle no doubt. I’m not overly pleased with the W, it’s been a grind for us but we found a way to win,” he said. “I thought Danny [Tirone] played well for us in the third to help preserve the win.”
After Vela’s goal—as they had all game—the Falcons continued to battle back. Schmidt threw a wrister that beat UNH goaltender Danny Tirone, giving Schmidt his second goal of the game and helping the Falcons even the score at 4-4.
At 8:31 of the third, the Wildcats took their final lead of the game. After a pass from sophomore Cameron Marks, Shane Eiserman fed the puck to senior Maxim Gaudreault, who was positioned near the right post of the goal. Gaudreault netted the puck to finish the play.
From then on, the Wildcats preserved their lead and forced Bentley to pull its goaltender with 65 seconds left to play. With a faceoff in the Falcons’ defensive zone, Bentley was forced to put Antoni back in net with 51 seconds remaining.
UNH kept its composure and held off the Falcons to secure the win.
The Wildcats take on Maine next weekend for a home-and-home series. They will be back on home-ice for “White Out the Whitt” on Saturday at 7:30 pm.
“[We’ve] just got to stay calm and execute our game plan,” Gaudreault said of the upcoming rivalry matchup.

Executive Editor