LOWELL, Mass. - Junior F Dalton Speelman scored two goals as No. 2 University of New Hampshire defeated UMass Lowell, 5-2, Saturday night in a Hockey East clash in front of 5,376 at the Tsongas Center.
With the loss, UMass Lowell slipped to 4-7-1 overall and 2-6-1 in Hockey East and hosts Northeastern next Saturday at the Tsongas Center (7:05).
Six of UMass Lowell's losses have come against teams ranked among the top five in the country: three to the No. 2 Wildcats (0-3, 2-5 and 2-5), two to No. 1 Boston College (0-1, 3-6) and No. 5 Denver (1-5).
UNH improved to 11-1-2 overall and 8-1-1 in Hockey East.
The loss spoiled a stellar effort by junior F Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.), who scored both of his goals in his first action since the Nov. 16 home loss to UNH (0-3). Additionally, sophomore F Scott Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) assisted on both goals and has compiled one goal and nine assists in UMass Lowell's last four games.
Speelman broke a 2-2 draw 11:41 into the second period when he took a pass from senior D Brett Kostolansky, settled with his foot and rifled home. The Wildcats nearly went 4-2 ahead at 5:58 when senior F Austin Block broke free for a one-on-one with junior G Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.), but Carr snuffed Block's backhand.
UMass Lowell nearly leveled at 4:53 when freshman D Christian Folin (Gothenberg, Sweden) picked up his own rebound and flicked to Buco in the point, only for sophomore G Casey DeSmith to thwart his attempt.
The Wildcats would get a fourth, however, 10:56 into the third period, when he possessed a rebounded shot by junior F Nick Sorkin and snapped a wrist shot from the right point inside the far post.
Speelman completed his double with an empty-net goal at 19:03.
Buco opened the scoring 8:55 into the first period as a result of a solid forecheck by his line. He earned possession when Wilson put the puck off the skate of a UNH defender and finished nicely from the left side of the slot.
Junior D Eric Knodel equalized for UNH 11 seconds before the end of the period when he put back the rebound of a shot by senior F John Henrion. The Wildcats went ahead 2-1 when junior F Justin Agosta converted from the right point off a pass from junior F Kevin Goumas.
Buco, however, knotted the score 22 seconds later when Wilson raced in on DeSmith, but was unable to get off an attempt. He did, however, find Buco in the slot who tucked home past DeSmith.
UNH outshot UMass Lowell, 35-24. DeSmith stopped 22 shots while Carr had 30 saves.