AMHERST, Mass. - With six minutes remaining in regulation and the score tied at one, No. 4 New Hampshire scored two goals in 45 seconds to defeat the UMass hockey team (3-11-3, 2-6-3 HEA) on Saturday night at the Mullins Center, 3-1. Adam Phillips scored the lone goal for the Mass Attack, while the Wildcats (12-3-4, 10-1-2 HEA) received a goal and an assist from Paul Thompson and Phil DeSimone. Paul Dainton made 32 saves in goal for the Minutemen and Matt DiGirolamo made 33 stops. Massachusetts will be back in action next weekend for a home-and-home series with UMass-Lowell, beginning on Friday night at 7 PM from the Tsongas Center.
New Hampshire held a slight 35-34 advantage in shots for the game while each team won 26 faceoffs. UMass went 1-for-6 on the power play, scoring a power play tally for the third straight game. The Wildcats were 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
The Minutemen had their chances to take an early lead during the first period, but it was the Wildcats who got on the board first near the end of the frame. Michael Pereira thought he had his eighth goal of the year in the sixth minute of play when he took a pass from the opposite side of the ice and tried to bury a one-timer from atop the crease. DiGirolamo, however went post-to-post to rob Pereira with a huge glove save. Conor Sheary also had an opportunity four minutes later when he skated the puck through the neutral zone and fired a hard wrist shot that went just wide.
New Hampshire went up 1-0 with 1:04 to play in the frame when Paul Thompson scored his 15th goal of the season off a feed from Phil DeSimone. Blake Kessel fed DeSimone with a pass just below the faceoff dot, where DeSimone then spotted Thompson stationed near the left post for a shot that beat Dainton low.
Massachusetts held a 12-7 shot advantage during the second period, and knotted the score at one five minutes into the stanza on a goal from Phillips. With the Minutemen on a power play, Michael Lecomte appeared to have scored his second goal of the weekend when he tucked the puck inside the right post, but the goal was overturned following a lengthy review.
The Mass Attack got redemption, however, 31 seconds later with the Minutemen on a five-on-three skating advantage. The UMass power play squad looked to set up Phillips for one-timers from inside the blue line, and finally connected with a rocket off a pass from Joel Hanley that got through traffic and past DiGirolamo for his fourth goal of the season.
Both teams traded scoring chances through the first half of the third period, but the Wildcats netted two goals in under a minute to take a 3-1 lead with less than five minutes left in regulation. T.J. Syner had a couple opportunities midway through the frame with two shots on goal, but DiGirolamo was there to steer them aside. DeSimone scored his fifth goal of the year when Thompson threw a behind the back pass across the crease to DeSimone, who finished the play with a low shot past Dainton.
New Hampshire continued the attack when Blake Kessel added an insurance goal 45 seconds after the DeSimone tally. Kessel received the puck from Jeff Silengo, and let a wrist shot go from the slot that got over Dainton's shoulder for his fifth goal of the season.