Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kelleher Leads UNH to 1-0 Win Over Northeastern

Freshman Tyler Kelleher
Scores Game-Winning Goal

DURHAM, NH - As an 18-year-old, "true freshman", Tyler Kelleher began the 2013-14 season on UNH's first line with junior Grayson Downing at center and senior Kevin Goumas at left wing. He achieved some early success scoring the game-winning goal against Clarkson in the season-opener and posting a goal and 2 assists in a 9-0 rout of UMass. The on-ice chemistry between Kelleher and Downing was evident from the start.

Midseason, Kelleher was shifted to other forward lines and also battled a persistent flu. Grayson Downing missed games late in the season due to a left shoulder injury. Last night, Kelleher and Downing were reunited on the second line with Dalton Speelman on left wing. They clicked, each posting 2 shots on goal and combining for the only goal of the game.

The game-winner came just under 5 minutes into the final period. After Kelleher and Downing lead a rush into the Northeastern zone, freshman defenseman Dylan Maller intercepted a clearing attempt along the sidewall just inside the blueline. Maller, who only joined the team at the end of December, snapped a wrist shot on goal. NU defenseman Jake Schechter blocked the shot but Downing dug the puck out and tapped a cross-crease pass to Kelleher. Kelleher buried the puck for his 4th goal of the season.

One key to UNH's win in the first of the best-of-three quarterfinal series was persistent, effective forechecking. These four videos show all four UNH forward lines maintaining puck possession in the Northeastern zone while the Huskies, at times, seemed in disarray:

In the end, it was only a matter of time before UNH would get one past Northeastern goalie Clay Witt. Matt Willows hit the post in the first period:

Nick Sorkin hit the crossbar in the second period and rang the post in the third period:

Junior Casey DeSmith was outstanding in goal for the Wildcats. He made 27 saves and earned a coveted, playoff shutout. Game 2 of the Hockey East Quarterfinals is tonight at 7:00 at the Whittemore Center. The game will be broadcast by WBIN-TV.


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