The UNH Wildcats' Offense Came Up Big Once Again In Win Over Bentley
DURHAM, NH - At this point in the season, it looks like we can all agree that UNH’s offense is one of the best in the league. However, the difference between winning and losing comes down to whether their team defense is good enough. In this contest, it was.
Bentley University struck first at the Whittemore Center as senior Derek Bacon cut in front of the UNH net from along the goal line and placed a backhanded shot past sophomore goalie Danny Tirone. The Bentley goal came just 5:03 into the first period.
Dan Correale answered back at 8:47 after a tic-tac-toe passing sequence from Tyler Kelleher and Dylan Chanter. Chanter's pass found Correale left alone at the side of the net and he banged it home to tie the game 1-1.
Correale scored his second goal of the game, and eighth of the season, at 10:37 of the first period on a UNH power play. Andrew Poturalski stepped in from the top of the faceoff circle and snapped a wrister at Bentley goaltender Gabe Antoni. Correale tipped the shot home. UNH’s power play looked top notch tonight converting on two out of four opportunities. The ‘Cats' power play was clicking on all cylinders when the top line of Kelleher, Poturalski and Correale was on the ice.
Bentley’s Drew Callin scored before the end of the period on a backhanded shot that Tirone struggled to see from the slot. In the first period, Tirone was still struggling as he has been all season. It didn’t look like he was comfortable or confident with most of his reactions and positioning.
Tirone did settle down in the second period after having a shot that rang his bell and caused the strap of his helmet to pop off. He suddenly began to play at the top of his crease and each of his movements had purpose. He was dictating the game instead of letting it come to him.
Junior defenseman Matias Cleland broke the tie at 8:16 of the second period with a quick one-timer off a pass from Poturalski. Cleland recognized Antoni was out of position and quickly fired the shot into the back of the net before he could react to the shot. It was UNH's second power play goal of the game and they took the lead 3-2.
Early in the third period, three goals were scored - two by Bentley and one by UNH - in a minute and a half. Freshman Marcus Vela scored his first collegiate goal off a nice feed from fellow freshman Ara Nazarian. The score was all knotted up 4-4 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
UNH alternate captain Maxim Gaudreault scored the game winner 8:31 into the third period. Sophomore Shane Eiserman fed Gaudreault with a backhand pass from below the goal line.
The Wildcats were able to lock down defensively for the rest of the game and Tirone settled down late to secure the victory.
The special teams carried UNH through the game. UNH killed off both Bentley power plays and the high-powered offense continued as Andrew Poturalski and Tyler Kelleher maintained their positions as the #1 and #2 scorers in the nation. Poturalski has compiled 25 points on 11 goals and 14 assists while Kelleher has 23 points on 6 goals and 17 assists.
UNH improved its overall record to 4-6-3 while Bentley dropped to 5-6-1. Next up for UNH is a home-and-home series against the University of Maine next weekend. Friday's game will be in Orono while Saturday night is the annual "White Out the Whitt" contest.
Here are the video highlights of the 5-4 victory over Bentley University courtesy of UNH Athletics: