Sophomore defenseman Blake Kessel scores twice for Wildcats

Blake Kessel scored two goals for the Wildcats

DURHAM, N.H. - Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) and Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) recorded three points apiece to lift the University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team to Saturday night's 5-5 tie against top-ranked Miami University at the Whittemore Center.

UNH is now 0-2-1 this season and Miami moves to 3-0-1.

Kessel tallied a two goals and an assist while Butler had one goal and two assists and LeBlanc finished with three assists, all matching or surpassing career bests. Mike Borisenok (Watervliet, N.Y.) and Nick Krates (Palos Park, Ill.) scored UNH's other two goals; it was Krates' first career goal. UNH goaltender Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) made 22 saves, including three in overtime.

Miami's Cody Reichard entered the game in goal with the RedHawks trailing 5-3 at 10:08 of the second period. He stopped nine shots, including one in OT, the rest of the way to keep the Wildcats at bay the rest of the way. Connor Knapp surrendered five goals on 21 shots in 30:08 of action. Jarod Palmer led the MU attack with three assists.

Miami scored an early goal and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Matt Tomassoni's slap shot from the high slot was blocked by a UNH defenseman, but the puck continued to flutter through traffic in the slot and into the net at 1:52. Jarod Palmer, with the pass to Tomassoni, and Joe Hartman were credited with assists.

Miami had a power-play goal disallowed at 7:17 when the play was reviewed by instant replay and it was ruled that Curtis McKenzie redirected the puck into the net with a skate.

Midway through the period, the RedHawks generated a pair of dangerous scoring opportunities as Andy Miele's shot from the slot ricocheted off the left post and, just moments later, Reilly Smith maneuvered from the left circle to the front of the net and saucered a shot wide right of the net.

One of UNH's more dangerous chances in the opening stanza occurred with 5:30 on the clock, when a low shot from the right point by Mike Beck (Long Beach, Calif.) sailed through a screen of two Wildcats but was stopped by Knapp.

On Miami's third power play of the opening stanza, Foster denied the RedHawks when he stopped McKenzie's one-timer from the slot. One minute later, with the teams at full strength, Gary Steffes' shot from the left point caromed off the far post.

The teams combined for nine goals and eight penalties in the second period. UNH tied the score, 1-1, at 2:10 when Butler scored off a rebound in front. Miami regained the lead, 2-1, 46 seconds later on McKenzie's goal but the 'Cats responded 12 seconds later with Krates' tally on a shot from the left circle. Freshman Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) won the faceoff back to Krates, earning his first career point with the helper. Joe Hartman scored at 4:49 – marking the fourth goal in a span of 2:39 – to put the RedHawks back in front, 3-2.

The visitors were whistled for a minor penalty at 4:41, two more at 5:21 and another at 6:46. The Wildcats capitalized to take a 4-3 lead when Kessel scored a 5x3 power-play goal at 7:56 and Borsienok netted an extra-skater goal at 9:04.

UNH built off that momentum to extend the advantage to 5-3 with Kessel's second goal of the night – with assists to LeBlanc and Butler on both goals – at 10:08.

The RedHawks stormed back to level the score, 5-5, on goals by Andy Miele (at 14:55) and Pat Cannone (17:40).

Miami recorded a 7-3 shot advantage in the scoreless third period, then generated a 3-1 edge in the extra session.

New Hampshire returns to action next weekend for home games against Northeastern (Oct. 23) and Maine (Oct. 24). Both games at the Whittemore Center begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at and at the arena’s box office.