Durham, NH- The game was as evenly played as possible and the weekend was as a whole as well. On Friday night, UNH dominated long stretches of play in route to a 1-1 tie. On this night, despite the 35-24 shot advantage to Michigan, stalemate was the best adjective one could find to describe this game.
UNH opened the scoring at six minutes, 18 seconds of the first period when Trevor van Riemsdyk sent an innocent looking point shot towards the net, which Kevin Goumas tipped into the net to give UNH the early lead. The goal was the first of the season for Goumas, who saw limited action last weekend because of an oblique injury. Alex Guptill answered about three minutes later on the power-play when he was left untouched of Casey Desmith and put it past him to send it into the first intermission tied at 1.
The second period was much of the same, as the teams each had 12 shots on net. Michigan took the lead, on the power-play four minutes into the period as Luke Moffatt found a puck at Desmith’s feet that he put behind him for the 2-1 lead. UNH answered later in the period to send it into the second intermission tied at two. It stayed that way through another stalemate period and the team’s entered the overtime tied, for the second night in a row.
Unlike last night this one would have a winner. Freshman, JT Compher went around the back of the net found a trailing Derek Deblois in the slot who took a shot. Casey Desmith left a rebound to his stick side which Tyler Motte found and was true to give Michigan the 3-2 overtime victory over UNH. Michigan improves to 3-0-1 on the season, while UNH falls to 1-2-1.
What I Saw
- If UNH wants to find its fault on the weekend it doesn’t have to look much further than its finishing ability. UNH had many glorious chances to put this game away, but it either slipped off its stick at the last moment or they just missed the net on the shot. Grayson Downing had a particularly rough weekend. On both Friday and Saturday night’s, he had many opportunities miss high or wide.
- Michigan played a much better game on this night. Passes were crisper, the defense looked solid and it did a great job containing UNH on the big rink. It was a game that was played between the trenches and Michigan passed the test on this night. Holding a usually potent control team to just 24 shots on goal, and few grade A’s.
What I Thought
- Offensively, UNH should not be struggling as bad as it has in the last two weekends. The amount of scoring chances was in its favor but it still has guys that can find the back of the net. Forwards such as Kevin Goumas, Grayson Downing and even the freshman Tyler Kelleher looked lost on the its top line. For large stretches, the second and third lines seemed to be the lines that generated the best opportunities. UNH’s usual powerful power-play that generates a ton of chances was very quiet, it went 1-12 on the weekend.
- Michigan had the better of the special team’s this weekend and tonight was no different. Holding UNH 1-12 on the power-play on the big sheet is a pretty good accomplishment. Michigan also went 3-9 on its own power-play on the weekend. The special teams advantage was marked in favor of the Wolverines the whole weekend. It was the biggest difference maker.
- Zach Nagelvoort was put into a tough situation, as Steve Racine was injured in Friday night’s game. The freshman netminder looked great for most of the game and in all honesty he saved the Wolverines in the third period of Friday night’s game. The only bad moment was when a Kevin Goumas pass from the back of the net ended up going for a goal that caromed off his feet. Other than that he had a quick glove and did everything that his teammates needed him to do, not bad for a freshman that was probably not expecting to play this weekend.
What They Said
Michigan coach Red Berenson said,
“Those were two great games. We felt last night we didn’t put our best foot forward, but we survived the tide. Every category we were outplayed. Tonight we played a much better game. Maybe the penalties in the first period took their momentum hurt the momentum of the game, like the penalties in the third period last night hurt our momentum. Nevertheless the game was on the line and both teams had their chances to win it.”
“Tonight we were a little more comfortable with the puck than we were last night, especially in the offensive zone and we made more plays. It was just a close, hard-fought game by both teams.”
Michigan captain Mac Bennett said,
“The first thing you look at is shots and we were able to keep them down from last night. We kind of took it to them in all three periods and we were able to stay out of our zone which made it easier on everybody.”
UNH coach Dick Umile said,
“I just got down telling the team that it was disappointing that we lost that game because of the opportunities that we had to finish the game. They played better tonight and it was a good series hockey. We played hard all weekend, but just had a tie to show for it.”
“Casey made some key saves but we just left the guy uncovered on the overtime goal.”
“They are a real good team but it is a team we feel we can beat them. We competed hard all weekend but with that all said you have to win hockey games. We had to put ourselves in the position to win, but all we could talk about tonight is finishing. We need to put good opportunities into the net when we have them.”
What They Didn’t Say
Red Berenson didn’t give any new information on goaltender Steve Racine, who was injured in last night’s game. Michigan’s SID did tell me though that he would be reevaluated this week with a lower body injury.
What Else You Should Know
UNH will travel to Rensselaer next weekend for a lone game against the Engineers. The Engineers are coming off a weekend sweep of Boston University and Sacred Heart. RPI will enter the game with a record of 3-1-0, while UNH enters at 1-2-1. It is an early season must win for UNH.
Michigan heads home to host two more Hockey East teams next weekend at Yost Ice Arena. UMass-Lowell will enter with 1-3-0 record, while BU will enter off a win against Wisconsin. Michigan is off to an impressive early start and will look to continue it next weekend.