Saturday, October 17, 2015

UNH Suffers Another Devastating Loss Late; Clarkson Wins 4-3

Freshman Defenseman Matt Dawson
Scored Game-Tying Goal

For the second night in a row, the Wildcat fans were sent home with a heartbreaking defeat. A 4-3 loss to the Golden Knights of Clarkson with a last minute goal by Jeff DiNallo sent UNH’s record to 1-2 on the season.

“I just told my staff and I told my team that was awful. Absolutely pathetic.” UNH’s head coach Dick Umile said. “It was a terrible display of hockey,” he added.

The game started with UNH and Clarkson looking like evenly matched opponents. Chances for both sides early on resulted in some fantastic saves by both UNH goalie Danny Tirone and Clarkson goalie Steve Perry.

Nearing the end of the first period Tirone made a fantastic save on a rebound as he went into a split and kept the score 0-0. However, Tirone took a second or two extra to get up and was visibly hurt after making the save. After skating around for a few, he appeared to be ready to play. The Wildcats took a penalty on the play and went shorthanded.

Clarkson struck on the power play just moments later as A.J. Fossen was left alone on the side of the post and received a perfect tape to tape pass from Sam Vigneault to make it 1-0.

Although the goal wasn’t Tirone’s fault, there was a bit of concern that he wasn’t feeling at his best. He seemed to recover and play well after that point, but there was certainly some concern.

As though you’ve heard this story before, UNH fell behind 2-0 in the second period.
“It was going to be important for us to get out of the gate quickly” Clarkson head coach Casey Jones said after the game. Troy Josephs got a breakaway opportunity shorthanded and was hooked from behind by Matt Dawson and he was rewarded with a penalty shot. He was just able to sneak a shot past Tirone in goal as it dribbled across the line to make it 2-0 at 4:09 of the second period.

It was the same song and dance as the night before, and Umile wasn’t afraid to share his feelings. “I’m getting tired of that act,” he said about playing from behind.

Just 18 seconds later the comeback kids were at it again. Kyle Smith scored his first of the season on the power play to cut the lead in half to 2-1. Cameron Marks took a shot from the point that found its way off the leg of Smith and into the back of the net for the Wildcats first goal.

Maxim Gaudreault added a goal at the 8:48 mark of the second to tie it at 2-2, and the comeback was officially on once again for a UNH team that just can’t seem to find a lead.

At 4:11 of the third Clarkson went back on top. A goal by Jordan Boucher put Clarkson up 3-2 and the Wildcats again found themselves playing catch-up.

In the midst of consistent pressure after another UNH power play, freshman Matt Dawson took a puck and riffled it top shelf for his second goal of the season to tie it 3-3. In my opinion, Dawson looked like one of the best defenseman on the ice for the Wildcats this weekend. He played strong on his stick and isn’t afraid to step up into plays when necessary.

Back and forth the teams went for the remainder of the third period, including a terrific save by Tirone on Fossen to keep it 3-3 that sent the fans at the Whittemore Center into a frenzy.

Then the dagger was put in the coffin of the Wildcats comeback. Just when it looked like the teams were playing into overtime with 42 seconds left to play, DiNallo found a loose puck sitting in front of the net after a shot that was knocked down by UNH defenders and he had a yawning net to shoot at, and he didn’t miss.

Wildcat fans flooded to the exits as they watched their team fall late in a game for the second night in a row.

If Dick Umile’s comments above don’t say it all, it was a disappointing weekend at home for UNH and there is a lot to figure out for this team.

Here are the video highlights courtesy of UNH Athletics:


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