UNH Tops UConn 5-2: Goal-by-Goal
DURHAM, NH - The UNH Wildcats carried its 5-game win streak into the opening round of the 2015 Hockey East Playoffs and continued its winning ways. UNH defeated the UConn Huskies for the third time in two weeks. UNH built what turned out to be an insurmountable 4-goal lead midway through the second period. After UNH's leading scorer Tyler Kelleher opened the scoring on an even strength goal early in the first period, the UNH power play clicked for three consecutive goals.
Overall, UNH outshot UConn 33-22, converted on 3 out of 4 power plays, and successfully killed off 4 UConn power plays. Tyler Kelleher added 2 goals to his season totals. His 16 goals and 23 assists place him in a tie for fifth place in scoring in Hockey East. With at least two games remaining in his sophomore season, Kelleher is more than half-way to the Century Club. So far, he's scored 21 goals and 34 assists.
In the five games since senior Grayson Downing's return from a severe ankle injury, he has scored 3 goals and 5 assists. Senior Captain Matt Willows, who scored the game-winner early in the second period, upped his scoring totals to 19 goals and 13 assists. Both he and Downing are tied for 8th in scoring among all Hockey East players.
UNH's top defenseman Brett Pesce, a third-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, continued to contribute in the offensive zone. Over the last 8 games, Pesce has scored a goal and added 9 assists. Over the course of UNH six-game win streak, freshman goalie Danny Tirone has only allowed 8 goals. Game 2 of the UNH-UConn series is Saturday night at the Whittemore Center. If UNH wins, it will advance to the Hockey East Quarterfinals. If UConn wins, Game 3 will be held Sunday afternoon in Durham.
Goal-by-Goal BreakdownPERIOD 1
Tyler Kelleher-15 (Assisted by Dan Correale-12 & Brett Pesce-11)
4:38 of 1st Period - UNH 1, UConn 0 ~ Dan Correale and UNH's leading scorer Tyler Kelleher entered the UConn zone on a 2-on-2 rush. Kelleher gained a half-step on the UConn defender as he skated down the slot. ~ Correale connected with Kelleher on a tape-to-tape pass and Kelleher was hauled down just as he one-timed the puck at UConn goalie Rob Nichols. ~ Nichols made the initial save but the rebound bounced off a UConn defenseman and into the net.
Grayson Downing-16 PP (Assisted by Matt Willows-13 & Casey Thrush-18)
5:48 of 1st Period - UNH 2, UConn 0 ~ Immediately after Kelleher's goal, UNH went on their first power play of the game because Kelleher had been tripped on the scoring play. ~ Thrush passed to Willows behind the UConn net and he fed Downing positioned to Nichols right. Downing saw an opening over Nichols' shoulder and sniped it top corner.
Matt Willows-19 PP (Assisted by Grayson Downing-15 & Brett Pesce-12)
8:12 of 2nd Period - UNH 3, UConn 0 ~ Within a 30-second period 7 minutes into the second period, UConn was called for tripping and then hooking. UNH quickly took advantage of the two-man advantage. ~ On a nifty passing play, Kelleher fed Pesce at the top of the slot, he passed down to Downing positioned to Nichols left, and he centered it to Willows parked at the top of the crease. ~ Willows backhanded the puck past Nichols.
Tyler Kelleher-16 PP (Assisted by Dan Correale-13 & Cameron Marks-10)
8:32 of 2nd Period - UNH 4, UConn 0 ~ After Willows' goal, UNH still had a one-man advantage. UNH worked the puck around the umbrella and Marks passed down to Correale at the top of the circle to Nichols' left. ~ Correale flipped a shot that Kelleher redirected past Nichols.
Spenser Naas (From Pauly & Norris)
13:32 of Period 2 - UNH 4, UConn 1
Joey Ferriss (From Sharib & Tyson)
9:39 of Period 3 - UNH 4, UConn 2
Grayson Downing-17 ENG (Assisted by Matias Cleland-11)
19:15 of 3rd Period - UNH 5, UConn 2 ~ With 2:10 remaining in regulation, UConn pulled its goalie. Casey Thrush made a couple long-distance attempts at the empty net but barely missed. ~ Finally, Downing gathered a loose puck deep in the UNH end, skated the length of the ice, faked the one last UConn defenseman, and wristed it into the middle of the net.