ORONO, Maine -- New Hampshire's Mike Radja scored three goals to lead the fifth-ranked Wildcats to a 3-2 win over the University of Maine in men's ice hockey action on Friday night at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. The Black Bears got goals from Simon Danis-Pepin (Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec) and Andrew Sweetland (Bonavista, Newfoundland) in the game.
After dominating play in the first period, the Black Bears finally got on the board at 16:01. Wes Clark (Oakville, Ontario) found Sweetland who circled the net and found Danis-Pepin on the blueline. Danis-Pepin beat UNH netminder Kevin Regan with a quick wrist shot, giving Maine a 1-0 lead. For Danis-Pepin, it was his fourth goal of the season.
Maine held the lead until the final seconds of the first period. Radja picked off a Maine clearing pass and beat Maine's Ben Bishop (Des Peres, Mo.) five hole with a shot at 19:40 of the first period. The Wildcats made it a 2-1 lead with just four seconds remaining in the period. Danny Dries and Joe Charlebois teamed up to find Radja who beat Bishop with a that just found the inside of the far post. The Wildcats took the 2-1 lead into the first period, despite being outshot 15-8.
Leading 2-1 and on the power play, UNH's Bobby Butler had a breakaway midway through the second period. Bishop was able to stop Butler and the follow-up shot by Jerry Pollastrone to keep the game 2-1.
The Black Bears got the lone goal of the second period to knot the game at 2-2. Bret Tyler (Maynard, Mass.) picked off a UNH clearing pass and found Sweetland who was to the right of UNH goalie Regan. Sweetland beat Regan for his sixth goal of the season. The Wildcats held a 16-7 edge in shots in the second period.
Midway through the third period, UNH's Paul Thompson was whistled for a tripping penalty. Maine went on the power play and was generating several scoring chances. With the puck against the boards, and Maine defender and New Hampshire forward were both battling for the puck. The UNH player was able to poke the puck free to Radja who skated in alone, beating Bishop for the go ahead goal and his third of the game.
Maine had several chances late, but was unable to beat Regan. Keenan Hopson (Prince George British Columbia) led Maine with six shots, including four in the third period alone. UNH finished with a slim 35-34 advantage in shots in the game.
Maine falls to 8-14-3 on the season and 4-11-3 in Hockey East play. New Hampshire improves to 17-7-1 on the season and 13-4-1 in conference play.
Bishop made 32 saves in goal for the Black Bears, including several of the spectacular variety. He falls to 8-14-3 on the season. Regan made 32 saves as well and improves to 15-5-0.
The Black Bears and Wildcats will finish their Hockey East season series on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.