UNH Loses Game, TvR, and Downing; Union Wins 3-1
|Freshman Tyler Kelleher Notches 3rd Goal|
After playing what leading goal-scorer Nick Sorkin characterized as "flat" over the first two periods of Friday night's 3-1 loss to 6th-ranked Union, the UNH Wildcats came out with noticeably more energy and speed on Saturday night. The result was exciting, transition hockey by both UNH and Union.
The excitement was dampened late in the first period when Hobey Baker Award candidate and All-American Trevor van Riemsdyk went down with what appeared to be a serious injury to his left leg. And then, early in the second period with the score tied 1-1, 2nd-line center Grayson Downing absorbed a high hit at center ice and left the game with a shoulder injury. Despite playing without a top defenseman and center for the bulk of the game, the outcome was in the balance up until the final minute of play.
1st Period17:27 - UNH's 4th Line Applies Early Pressure - UNH 0, Union 0 ~ The higher level of UNH energy was exemplified by the Collin Bourque-Maxim Gaudreault-Jay Camper line on their first shift of the game. ~ In this sequence, Gaudreault intercepts the puck in the high slot, fires it on goal, and both Camper and Bourque get point blank shots on goal off rebounds.
7:54 - Effective Backchecking and Transition Offense by 2nd Line - UNH 0, Union 0 ~ Senior Jeff Silengo, who had missed 2 recent games with a hand injury, moved up to right wing on UNH's second line with Downing at center and sophomore Dan Correale on left wing. ~ Here all three backcheck tenaciously, create turnovers, and break the puck out toward the Union end. ~ Freshman Tyler Kelleher, who came off the bench to replace Silengo, fires a shot on goal and both Downing and Correale poke at the puck in the crease.
4:55 - Junior Mark Bennett Gets Union on the Board - UNH 0, Union 1 ~ Union showed its ability to score off a transition as the UNH forward line got caught deep in the Union end. ~ The individual effort by Bennett to beat the UNH forwards, get behind the defenseman, and redirect a pass to beat UNH goalie Casey DeSmith in a tight space was outstanding.
2:56 - TvR Goes Down - UNH 0, Union 1 ~ The leading scorer among all Hockey East defensemen specializes in joining the rush and generating offense. That's what Trevor van Riemsdyk was doing when he was injured. ~ It happened just after TvR carried the puck through center ice, eluding sophomore Matt Wilkins, and entered the Union zone. ~ Wilkins checked TvR into the boards and van Riemsdyk awkwardly fell backward onto the ice. He tried to get up but went back down to the ice in obvious pain. ~ After being attended to by the UNH trainer, TvR was helped off the ice by two teammates, one on each side. He was not applying any weight on his left leg. ~ TvR did not return to the game and UNH fans are left hoping the All-American defenseman heals quickly.
2:34 - Tyler Kelleher Quickly Ties It Up - UNH 1, Union 1 ~ On the very next shift after TvR was helped into the locker room, freshman Tyler Kelleher put UNH on the board. ~ Kelleher collected a blocked shot in the UNH end and head-manned the puck to Kyle Smith at the redline. The Thrush-Smith-Kelleher line raced into the Union zone on a 3-on-2 break. ~ Smith flipped a backhand pass to Thrush on the left wing who, in turn, sent a backhand pass to Kelleher across the slot on the right wing. Kelleher buried it high over goalie Stevens' glove.
2nd Period12:47 - Union Goalie Goes Down - UNH 1, Union 1 ~ Colin Stevens, who had stopped 40 out 41 UNH shots on Friday night, had his legs taken out from underneath him by a sliding Kyle Smith. Smith had been knocked down near the faceoff circle and slid helplessly toward Stevens. ~ Stevens spent several minutes shaking off the injury which appeared to effect his left side. To his credit, he remained in net and ended up matching his save total from the previous night.
12:32 - Grayson Downing Injured at Center Ice - UNH 1, Union 1 ~ The life of a center as he maneuvers through the most open spaces on the ice can be treacherous. 15 seconds after the incident involving goalie Stevens, Grayson Downing started a rush out of the UNH zone. ~ A millisecond after flipping a backhand pass, Downing was hit, shoulder to shoulder, by a Union player approaching from his blindside. Grayson appeared to have injured his right shoulder and did not return to the game.
4:55 - Junior Max Novak Tallies Game-Winner - UNH 1, Union 2 ~ Three Union players entered the UNH zone and were defended by Eric Knodel, Justin Agosta, and Collin Bourque. Novak suddenly changed direction slightly and gained the inside position on Bourque. ~ Novak redirected a centering pass between DeSmith's legs. It was his 5th goal of the year.
3rd Period2:34 - Matt Willows Stoned by Goalie Stevens - UNH 1, Union 2 ~ Both teams had quality scoring opportunities in the third period - none more so than Matt Willows' effort with time running out. ~ Kevin Goumas swiped a shot at Stevens and the rebound went right to Willows parked to his right. Willows first shot was stopped by Stevens' right pad as he dropped down into the butterfly position. The rebound went right back to Willows and he swatted it again. This time, Stevens made a left pad save.
1:03 - Union Clear Trickles into Empty Net - UNH 1, Union 3 ~ With 1:21 left in regulation, UNH pulled DeSmith or an extra skater. UNH advanced the puck deep into the Union end. ~ Max Bodie made an innocent looking clear from the faceoff circle that slowly made it's way the length of the ice into the empty UNH net.
The loss to Union drops UNH's overall record to 13-12-1. Union improves to an impressive 15-4-3 record. UNH has 10 games remaining in the regular season - all against Hockey East opponents. Next weekend, UNH faces Maine in a home-and-home series. Friday night will be at the Whittemore Center and Saturday night the teams journey to the Alfond Arena in Orono.