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DURHAM, N.H. - Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) scored the game-tying goal in the third period to lift the University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team to Friday night's 2-2 overtime tie against 14th-ranked University of Massachusetts-Lowell at the Whittemore Center.
The tie moves the Wildcats to 8-7-4 overall and 8-2-3 in Hockey East action, extending their unbeaten streak in conference play to eight games (6-0-2) dating back to Nov. 14. As for the River Hawks, they move to 11-7-2 overall and 5-4-2 in conference play.
New Hampshire drew first blood in the contest, connecting on its first shot attempt of the evening, as Matt Campanale (Chester Springs, Pa.) notched his second goal of his career in as many games.
Mike Borisenok (Watervliet, N.Y.) ignited the play, chipping a pass out of the boards behind the goal line over to Greg Burke (Lee, N.H.) at the right circle, who shifted the puck over to Campanale who fired a one-timer from the left circle off the pad of a screened Nevin Hamilton and into the left side of the net at 1:47.
After nearly 14 minutes of scoreless action, UMass-Lowell would rebuttal with a goal of its own, as Scott Campbell forwarded a pass to Ryan Blair, who fired a shot just in front of the net but was turned away by UNH goalkeeper Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.), however, Kory Falite was quick to scoop up the puck and punched it into the right-hand side of the net just in front of the right circle at 15:38, to knot the action at 1-1. Campbell and Blair were both credited with assists on the play.
Moments later, the River Hawks would add to their lead, as Campbell won a faceoff against DeSimone and shoveled the puck back to open Blair, who fired a one-timer that was tipped in by Colin Wright.
The 'Cats would fire back in the second frame outshooting the River Hawks 12 to 10 in the period. New Hampshire's biggest chance of the stanza came at the 14-minute mark, as Damon Kipp (Salmon Arm, B.C.) fired an open shot from between the circles but was turned away by Hamilton. DeSimone would be quick to the draw, snatching the rebound and then drilling a clear shot at the net but Hamilton made the diving stop and shoveled the puck away from the net.
UNH would get a second shot at scoring the equalizing goal when the 'Cats went on a 3-on-5 power-play at 9:48, posting 10 shots during the stretch, but could not find the back of the net. Hamilton stood strong in net for the River Hawks in the period, compiling 12 of his 24 saves in the frame.
However, the Wildcats would manage to draw even with the River Hawks in the third period when Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) muscled a puck out from behind the goal line over to Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) at the left circle who crossed it to the right circle to DeSimone who finished off the play, putting the puck past Hamilton to even the score at 2-2 at 4:16.
In a five-minute scoreless overtime frame, the River Hawks outshot UNH 4-1.
Foster finished the contest with 27 saves, including 20 stops in the final three frames. The goalkeeper is now 7-7-4 on the season. As for Hamilton he moves to 5-2-2 on the year.
UMass-Lowell finished the contest with 29 shots, while New Hampshire tallied 26. The River Hawks were 0-5 in power-play opportunities and the 'Cats were 1-6.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Jan. 9 (7 p.m.) against No. 16 Massachusetts at the Whittemore Center. For more information including tickets, live stats and live audio log on to www.UNHWildcats.com.