UNH Falls in Close Contest to Notre Dame
DURHAM, NH - UNH battled back in the second period, but would fall one goal short against #13 Notre Dame. It was the Wildcats' sixth loss in a row.
The start of this game for UNH was much stronger than the previous night. The Wildcats looked competitive throughout the first period and played closely with the Fighting Irish.
Senior goalie Jamie Regan saw his first collegiate start for the Wildcats after coming in for almost half the game Friday night in relief of Danny Tirone.
Despite Notre Dame having much more offensive possession in the first period, UNH still hung tight and looked much better than their poor performance last night.
Watching the Fighting Irish, it’s easy to tell why they are a top 15 team in the nation. They dominate in size and speed and they gave the Wildcats fits all weekend.
Notre Dame again struck first Saturday night, for the 21st time in their 25 games, to give them a 1-0 lead on the power play at 11:46. Thomas DiPauli tucked a backhanded shot past the glove of Regan after coming off the goal line and gave Notre Dame the lead.
Through the first four periods of the weekend, UNH’s power play was held scoreless through five opportunities.
UNH would see the deficit grow further, just 25 seconds into the second period, when Jake Evans scored on the power play and brought the Fighting Irish lead to 2-0. Despite playing more competitive, it looked like a similar result was inevitable for the struggling Wildcats.
At 13:43 of the second period, many Wildcat prayers were answered. Sophomore Andrew Poturalski ended his four game scoreless streak on a breakaway while on the power play and cut the lead in half, 2-1. Poturalski continues to lead the nation in goals (19) and points (39).
The Wildcats' offense struck again at 19:01 of the second on a wrist shot from the point by Harry Quast. The game-tying goal was Quast's first goal of the season and second of his career.
A good deal of the credit for the goal goes to the man who got the assist. Jason Salvaggio dove to poke the puck toward Quast before a Notre Dame player could clear the zone. It was a perfect example of great effort the Wildcats had been lacking in recent games. The teams headed to the third period tied at two.
A highly contested third went back and forth and the teams looked as evenly matched as they had all weekend long.
At 11:45 Mario Lucia was able to get his own rebound off an incredible save by Regan and get the game winner to make it 3-2.
Late pushes by UNH were unsuccessful, but all around it was a better effort for the Wildcats.
Here are the game highlights courtesy of UNH Athletics:
UNH's record fell to 8-12-4 overall and 2-6-4 in Hockey East. Notre Dame improved to 14-4-7 overall and now holds a 10-1-2 record in conference play. They are currently tied for 2nd place in Hockey East with Boston College. Both are 1 point behind 1st place UMass Lowell.
It doesn’t get easier from here on out as UNH is in the midst of facing seven nationally-ranked opponents in nine games. The Wildcats travel to #3 Providence for two games next weekend.