Saturday, October 22, 2011

UNH Earns First Point of Season

After UNH generated 33 shots on goal Friday night against St. Cloud State University and lost 7-5, the question was - what do the Wildcats have to do to earn its first point of the season? The answer - outshoot SCSU 47 to 24, go into overtime, and come away with a 3-3 tie.

Picking up on its play in the final period Friday night, UNH dominated large portions of tonight's game, especially in the final two periods of regulation. The only hurdle standing between UNH and its first victory of the season was SCSU goalie Mike Lee. UNH outshot SCSU 33 to 15 over the final two periods and 4 to 1 in overtime.

All three UNH goals were pretty to watch. Trailing 2-0 with 3:45 remaining in the first period, UNH went on the power play. Freshman Grayson Downing, who controlled the puck to the right of goalie Mike Lee, made a nice pass to Stevie Moses streaking into the crease. Lee made the initial stop on Moses' pointblank shot but Nick Sorkin pounced on the rebound and banged it home between Lee and the post.

The second UNH goal came about 5 minutes into the second period when SCSU was called for a penalty. UNH got an extra attacker on the ice before SCSU could stop the play. Senior Co-Captain Damon Kipp took the puck from the left point, skated it to the top of the right faceoff circle drawing the SCSU defenders with him. He quickly made a perfect pass in the opposite direction to rookie defenseman Eric Knodel positioned in the left faceoff circle. Knodel ripped a wrister to beat Lee who had little chance of making the save. Following the goal, which tied the score at 2 apiece, the SCSU TV announcers - who persisted in calling Nick Sorkin "Sorkum" and Grayson Downing "Dowling" and incorrectly identifying Associate Coach Scott Borek as Coach Umile - got one call absolutely correct. "UNH is driving to the net tonight."

UNH's third goal came at the beginning of the third period at a time when they appeared to have dug themselves a deep hole. Less than 30 seconds into the period, John Henrion had a shot blocked in close to the net and needlessly spun around and slashed a SCSU player. Henrion received a 5-minute major penalty for his transgression. During the first sequence of the SCSU powerplay, Dalton Speelman sprawled to the ice to block a shot, not once, but twice in a matter of seconds. Speelman then got up and cleared the puck the length of the ice. Moments later, freshman Trevor van Riemsdyk stole the puck in his own end and made a rink-long rush, killing valuable time. With the 5-minute powerplay half over, Stevie Moses executed a dipsy-doo stick handling maneuver while skating from the SCSU blueline to the right of their net. He then made a perfect pass to Nick Sorkin's backhand who then poked it home. Short-handed goal; 3-2 lead for UNH.

On the two St. Cloud scoring plays in the first period, UNH defensemen did not successfully contain the SCSU forwards. On the first goal, Cam Reid - who originally committed to play for UNH but was not admitted due to an unspecified "academic" issue - got loose from a UNH defenseman behind the net and tucked the puck behind sophomore goalie Jeff Wyer. Wyer started in his first game as a Wildcat. On the second SCSU goal, a UNH defender, positioned in front of Wyer, failed to block a shot with his stick. The SCSU scoring play which tied the game at 3 with 12:07 remaining in the 3rd period, began with Wyer making a terrific save on a point blank shot. The SCSU forwards gathered the puck and made a nice play which was difficult to defend. Jeff Wyer made a total of 21 saves and some were outstanding.

Game Notes:
~ The Grayson Downing-Nick Sorkin-Stevie Moses line played well again generating 3-4-3 shots on goal, respectively.
~ Sophomore Nick Sorkin is emerging as a potent offensive threat. In the back-to-back games in St. Cloud, Sorkin scored three goals and an assist, and generated 8 shots on goal.
~ Kevin Goumas, who was not in the lineup Friday night, played most of the game on the 4th line with Mike Borisenok and Kevin McCarthy. Their line had a strong shift with approximately 5 minutes remaining in regulation. Goumas controlled the puck behind the SCSU net on a couple of occasions and made some nice passes. With three minutes left in regulation, Goumas was reunited with Sorkin and Moses. In one flurry, Goumas almost poked a flying puck behind the SCSU goalie and Sorkin whacked at the loose puck forcing another save.


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