After dropping a game to No. 9 ranked UMass, the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team looked to get back into the win column against a tough UConn team. The Wildcats entered the weekend with a 1-1-1 meanwhile the Huskies entered with a 2-4-1 record after securing a win against the Providence Friars.
The Wildcats got off to a quick start with a goal from sophomore defenseman Kalle Eriksson who was the only Wildcat to score in the period as they were outshot 12-6 in the first. UNH evened the playing field in the second period as both teams totalled 12 shots, but UConn was able to tie the game at one goal apiece.
In the third period, the game did not remain tied for long as the Huskies netted a goal to put their side ahead 2-1. UNH pushed back by emptying their net while on the powerplay but were unable to tie the game at two.
The Wildcats were outshot 33-31 with both teams’ goaltenders performing well in the first game saving 31 and 30 respectively.
UNH traveled to Freitas Ice Forum to battle the Huskies in the second game of the weekend series. The first period was hard fought but neither side could break through on the scoresheet. UConn outshot UNH in the first period 11-9. The Wildcats’ penalty kill was successful in the first with the UConn powerplay going 0-for-2 in the period.
The tie didn’t hold for long. In the second period UConn junior Marc Gatcomb scored on the powerplay off of a rebound to give the Huskies the 1-0 lead while outshooting the Wildcats 14-9 in the period. UNH went 0-for-3 on their powerplay chances in the second while UConn capitalized on their only chance.
UNH battled back in the third with a goal from junior forward Jackson Pierson off a one-timer with the pass coming from junior forward Angus Crookshank. Neither team scored in regulation after Pierson’s equalizer and the series finale went to overtime.
In overtime the Wildcats got an opportunity on the powerplay where Pierson tallied his second goal of the night and the game winner for the ‘Cats.
Senior goaltender Mike Robinson made 36 saves and was key for the Wildcats staying in both games this weekend.
“I thought [Robinson’s play] was outstanding,” said head coach Mike Souza. “He really backboned it this weekend for us and it could have been a six or seven goal loss against [UConn] last night if not for Robinson.”
The Wildcats improve to 2-2-1 on the year and will be back in action when the team heads to Amherst on Wednesday, Jan. 6 for a game with the UMass Minutemen. They will also be playing a home-and-home series with the Boston College Eagles on Jan. 8 and 10.
Photo Courtesy of UNH