BOSTON - New Hampshire netted a goal in each period and held the No. 18 Northeastern men's ice hockey team (6-4-0, 1-3-0) to a season-low 22 shots on goal to blank the Huskies on Friday night at Matthews Arena, 3-0.
UNH held a 39-22 edge in shots on goal during the game and was 0-of-3 on the power play while NU went 0-of-2 on the man advantage and won 36-of-70 face-offs. Junior goaltender Clay Witt made 36 saves in goal for the Huskies while Casey DeSmith pitched a shutout with 22 saves for the Wildcats.
The teams traded scoring opportunities during a fast paced first period, with the Wildcats outshooting NU 13-9 and taking a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest. The Huskies controlled the tempo of the game in the opening minutes, setting the tone physically and generating shots on goal, but DeSmith was there to steer them aside.
UNH went up 1-0 with 15:34 to play in the first when Nick Sorkin knocked home his sixth goal of the season on a put-back following an initial wide shot from Kevin Goumas.
Northeastern had a few near misses following the New Hampshire marker, including a deflection from John Stevens off a pass from Kevin Roy. Later in the frame, Torin Snydeman fired a shot from the right save that was stopped by DeSmith, leaving a rebound in front of the crease, but Mike Szmatula's momentum sent him crashing into the goal, resulting in a neutral zone face-off.
At the other end of the ice, Witt did his part to keep the deficit at one, including a big glove save off a wrist shot from Casey Thrush at the left side late in the period.
The Huskies had two opportunities on the power play during a second period that saw UNH outshoot Northeastern 10-6, but the Wildcats would extend their lead to two with a shorthanded marker from Jeff Silengo 6:45 into the stanza.
After New Hampshire killed off an early penalty to Sorkin, Jay Camper was assessed a two-minute minor for hitting from behind, and that's when the Wildcats took a two-goal lead as Silengo took a feed from Dan Correale and ripped a shot over the glove of Witt for his third goal of the season.
Northeastern began to turn the tide and gain momentum after the UNH tally, including a backhand chance from Snydeman that was saved by DeSmith before Szmatula sent the rebound off the left post with less than five minutes left in the frame.
New Hampshire continued to cause problems for the Husky offense throughout the third period, and took a commanding three-goal advantage with 11:45 to play in regulation when Kyle Smith took a cross-ice feed from Trevor van Riemsdyk and fired a shot through a screen that beat Witt five-hole for Smith's second goal of the season.
The teams will meet again on Saturday night in the back end of the home-and-home set at the Whittemore Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- Northeastern is now 58-92-15 all-time against New Hampshire, and has not defeated the Wildcats since Oct. 14, 2011.
- The Huskies were shut out for the first time this season, and first time since the 2012-13 season finale against Boston University (5-0).
- Szmatula's nine-game point streak (four goals, 11 assists) was snapped on Friday. It was the longest active streak in the nation.
- Colton Saucerman's three-game point streak (one goal, three assists) was also snapped.