Sunday, October 20, 2013

Michigan Edges UNH 3-2 in OT

Senior Kevin Goumas
Breaks Ice With 2 Goals

For the second consecutive night, the UNH Wildcats and Michigan Wolverines battled each other to a draw in regulation and had their chances in overtime. Both settled for a tie on Friday but Michigan capitalized on their first prime scoring opportunity with 3:23 left in OT to earn the victory on Saturday (box score).

After being outworked and badly outshot 35-18 on Friday, Michigan rebounded with a tighter checking game. Red Berenson, the Dean of NCAA coaches, had his players backchecking with numbers to slow down and squelch UNH breakouts.

UNH worked hard throughout but their flow was disrupted early on by 5 penalties over the first 22 minutes of the game. The nature of the infractions - slashing, hooking, and interference - may have reflected a slight drop in energy after the high octane game the night before.

During the 1-1 tie on Friday night, there were numerous UNH players who played outstanding games, making it difficult to choose the top 3 performers. On Saturday, the first line of Kevin Goumas at left wing, Grayson Downing at center, and Tyler Kelleher at right wing consistently generated offense. Junior Matt Willows and Dalton Speelman (ejected from Friday's game with a contact to the head penalty) also generated high quality shots on goal.

Sophomore defenseman Harry Quast, who played sparingly on Friday, entered the game at the midway point and played several effective shifts. He threw a few effective body checks, played strong in the crease and made some nice outlet passes. With 7:50 left in regulation, Quast snapped a shot from the left point which tested Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort. UNH will need Quast, their 6th defensemen, to continue this type of play on a consistent basis.

My 3 UNH Stars go to Kevin Goumas and freshman Tyler Kelleher for their outstanding offensive play and junior goalie Casey DeSmith for making a slew of saves.

#1 Star - Kevin Goumas
Over his first three seasons with UNH, Kevin Goumas scored 6, 9 and 10 goals respectively. Saturday against Michigan, he scored his first two goals of the 2013-14 season. Whenever Goumas is on the ice - at full strength, on the power play or shorthanded - he is a threat to generate a scoring opportunity. These video highlights from Saturday show his offensive prowess and his second goal is shown in super slow motion:

#2 Star - Tyler Kelleher
The weekend series with Michigan was a reunion of sorts for freshman Tyler Kelleher. Three Michigan freshmen - Tyler Motte, JT Compher and Evan Allen - were teammates with Kelleher last season on the United States National Team Development Program Under 18 team. Kelleher was Team USA's leading scorer and he was an offensive threat several times last night, as this video shows:

#3 Star - Casey DeSmith
So far this season, junior Casey DeSmith (2.98 GAA, .914 Save%) and senior Jeff Wyer (0.96 GAA, .962 Save%) have platooned in goal. DeSmith made numerous key saves last night against Michigan to keep the game close (see video). Unfortunately, just over a minute into overtime, Michigan was able to generate a scoring play from behind him (below the goal line). In all, DeSmith faced twice as many shots on goal (35) than Wyer did on Friday (18).

Over the last two weekends, UNH has been very competitive against two of the top 5 teams in the country - Minnesota and Michigan. Over the three-game stretch, they have allowed 7 goals and scored 5. Next Saturday, they play one more out-of-conference opponent - RPI in Troy, NY - before launching their Hockey East slate of games.


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