By Jill Saftel, News Staff
A three-game winless streak continued for the Northeastern men’s hockey team Friday night with a 3-1 loss to University of New Hampshire (16-6-2 overall, 11-5-1 Hockey East). Despite 48 shots from the Huskies (7-13-3 overall, 4-11-3 Hockey East) and 24 saves from senior goaltender Chris Rawlings, it wasn’t enough to overthrow the nationally ranked No. 3 Wildcats.
“I thought from the last fourteen or fifteen minutes of the second period and third period we played well,” Madigan said. “We had energy, we attacked, we obviously had a lot of chances … We couldn’t convert.”
The Huskies got off to a strong offensive start, with sustained puck possession and pressure for the first four minutes of ice time. But from there, it was all UNH as the Wildcats began to pepper Rawlings around the seven-minute mark.
Following some rebound opportunities, Rawlings was able to get on top of the puck to close out the Wildcats’ push, but UNH continued to put pressure on Rawlings and the Northeastern defense throughout the first period.
With Rawlings and UNH goaltender Casey DeSmith turning away 11 and 16 shots respectively, the Huskies and Wildcats headed into the first intermission scoreless, but it didn’t stay that way for long once the second period got underway.
Sophomore forward Grayson Downing opened up the scoring, knocking a rebound from fellow forward freshman Dan Correale past Rawlings to make it 1-0 UNH at 4:01.
The Wildcats struck again 44 seconds later when junior defenseman Eric Knodel beat Rawlings with a shot from back by the blue line to give UNH the 2-0 advantage.
Senior captain Vinny Saponari answered for the Huskies at 7:25 in the same period, with assists from freshman forward Kevin Roy and freshman defenseman Colton Saucerman following great play from senior forward Garrett Vermeersch to set up the scoring opportunity.
UNH nearly increased its lead following Saponari’s goal when senior forward Austin Block went on a breakaway, but Rawlings was able to read the play and adjust quickly to deny Block.
Taking a 2-1 lead into the final period, the Wildcats capitalized on a power play chance left over from the final seconds of the second period when senior forward John Henrion beat Rawlings off a cross-ice pass from junior forward Kevin Goumas at 1:36 in the third.
Senior forward Steve Morra created what looked like a promising scoring chance for the Huskies halfway through the final period, setting up linemate Zak Stone with a pass across the crease, but Stone shot the puck wide. The 3-1 score would stick throughout the final period.
The Huskies return to the ice at the TD Garden on Monday at 5 p.m. against Boston University in the first round of the Beanpot Tournament. They’ll return to Hockey East play Feb. 8 at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.