Sunday, October 23, 2016

Colorado College Beats UNH for First Time Since '97

Freshman Patrick Grasso
4th Goal in 4 Games
Junior Jason Salvaggio
Short-Handed Goal
Junior Michael McNicholas
1st Goal of 2016-17

[Durham, NH]-- The University of New Hampshire Wildcats hockey team fell to the Colorado College Tigers on Saturday night by a score of 4-3. Led by their special teams unit and that of freshman right-winger Nick Halloran, who scored two power-play goals, the Tigers upended the Wildcats for the first time in 19 years. The last time they beat the Wildcats was on March 21, 1997. This was also the first time they won in Durham since January 4th, 1986. 

The Wildcats (1-3) were returning home after a big, come-from-behind win against Clarkson last Saturday in New York. The underlying theme early in the season still exists. UNH has been falling behind early and playing catch-up hockey which is hard at this level. The Wildcats got a quick taste of that once again in this one.

At the start of the first period, the Wildcats went on the power-play and had multiple chances that goalie Derek Shatzer saved, but quickly the tide turned when a 2-on-1 broke out and sophomore Gregg Burmaster carried the puck down the left side of the ice and wristed one over Danny Tirone's stick and glove to make it 1-0.

"We have to get the first one, no more excuses," junior Jason Salvaggio said. 

The Tigers (2-4) pounced not once, but twice on shorthanded opportunities and converted only three minutes later to make it 2-0. Senior captain Sam Rothstein followed Burmaster's suit by carrying the puck down the right side of the ice, misdirecting the Wildcat defense, and fired a wrist shot from the top right circle past Tirone's glove. It went from promising to sketchy very quickly at the Whittemore Center. 

"Two short handers. Two shots. We are getting tired of that show and we did not convert on the power play," head coach Dick Umile said. 

One bright spot was freshman Patrick Grasso registering his fourth goal of the season at 15:59 of the first period. Grasso rang the door bell at the near side of Shatzer and poked in a juicy rebound to cut the lead in half. At the beginning of the game, Umile noted that Grasso had been stepping up and it is great to see. The Whit had regained the atmosphere and the comeback 'Cats were refueling for an exciting second period. 

Yet, the Tigers answered quickly to start the second period and stalled the positive energy once again. Halloran finally helped a struggling power play convert to make it 3-1 when he wristed one over Tirone's glove and roofed it top shelf where the cookies are. 

Adversity looked the Wildcats right in the face again, but two goals in the second period made the Whit deafening for the first time in a while. Salvaggio gave the Tigers a taste of their own medicine when he converted on a shorthanded goal for his first of the season. Waiting patiently down the left side he retrieved a pass from Dylan Maller and Anthony Wyse and shot it past Shatzer. 

"Everyone was all aboard and ready to take the lead. [We] had the momentum. Our powerplay needs a dirty goal or something to get us going," Salvaggio said. 

Popping back into the lineup for the first time this season, junior forward Michael McNicholas received a tape-to-tape pass from Maller through traffic and shot past Shatzer from the far circle to knot it up 3-3. The Whit was loud and ready for the third period. 

"We had some momentum for sure. We showed some strides today, but we came out weak in the first and could not bury it down in the third. We have to get better at practice especially with conference games coming next week," McNicholas said. 

Four minutes into the third, the Wildcats could not contain themselves and made a bad penalty that lead to the second power play goal by the Tigers. Halloran recorded his second of the game when he waited at the near side circle and took a trip upstairs shooting one over Tirone's blocker. It was 4-3 and the Tigers never looked back. 

The Wildcats ended up going 0-7 on the powerplay and it hurt them in this one. They now fall 0-2 at home on the young season. 

"This is getting old for us. No excuses. The game was on the line with 20 minutes left and we did not get it done. I was really disappointed with the third period. We got outplayed in the third, no excuses. Playing from behind, it is pathetic to be quite honest with you," Umile said. 

Check out the highlights here, courtesy of UNH Wildcat Productions:

The Wildcats will head on the road Friday, Oct. 28th to take on Massachusetts and then return home Saturday, Oct. 29th to take on Merrimack.


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