The UNH men’s hockey team (1-1-1) traveled to Waltham, Mass. this past Friday for an evening game against Bentley University (1-2). Both teams struggled to gain momentum throughout the game, although Bentley was able to take advantage of UNH mistakes at the end of the game.
The first period began with UNH breaking up the Bentley attack, which was prevalent. The Falcons had no issue bringing the puck into UNH’s zone, yet UNH was able to find success on a majority of their poke check.
Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist commented his team’s inability to handle the puck early on. “I thought we were holding the pucks a little longer – we had more time and space last week (against Robert Morris) … UNH can skate; they close quick, they’re big, they’re bold, and they were getting through us really fast.”
Bentley’s sloppy puck handling assisted UNH, as the ‘Cats had a few breakaway opportunities that were halted by Bentley’s senior goalie Aidan Pelino.
Continuing into the second period, Bentley’s puck handling remained sloppy until the Falcons made a key adjustment. Soderquist spoke about the modifications his team covered during the first intermission. “We talked about quick releases, throwing more pucks on net and trying to get down there for a greasy one or a second chance opportunity versus trying to make the perfect play.”
This worked for the Falcons, as they started the scoring at 12:05 in the second with a slap shot goal from sophomore defenseman Ethan Roswell. This was his first goal of the season.
Later on, at 16:57 in the second period UNH’s junior defenseman Max Gildon converted on a slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle that found its way past the lower glove side of Pelino. The power play goal tied the game at one apiece.
Soon after the opening faceoff of the third period, UNH took the lead with a tip-in goal from junior forward Charlie Kelleher.
Despite starting the period with a bang, UNH failed to capitalize on the early momentum. It was almost a role reversal as the Wildcats had a difficult time controlling the puck as the period progressed. UNH head coach Mike Souza was frustrated with his team’s inability to remain consistent. “We didn’t manage the puck well, especially through the middle of the rink. It doesn’t matter the level, since when you turn the puck over as much as we did last week, it’s going to come back to bite you.”
Frustrations continued when Bentley tied the game following a wrist shot from first year forward Matt Gosiewski. This was Gosiewski’s first point of his collegiate career.
With 14 seconds remaining in the final period, the Wildcats committed a detrimental two-minute minor which gave the Falcons a power play entering overtime. Gildon was the culprit with a blatant delay of game penalty, when he caught the puck in his glove and threw it away from the opposition.
Bentley converted on the insuing power play with a game-winning goal 1:22 into overtime. Sophomore forward Jakov Novak scored the game winner with a back-handed shot to the upper stick side of the net.
UNH is now preparing for a busy weekend, as they visit the newest member of the Hockey East, Merrimack (1-4) on Friday, Oct. 25. On Saturday, Oct. 26, the ‘Cats will be at Agganis Arena to face longtime foe Boston University (1-1-1).