UNH earns spot in playoffs
';We got outplayed badly in the second period,'; Umile said referring to the fact UMass out-shot UNH by a 25-5 margin. ';Casey (DeSmith), obviously, won the game for us.
';We made a couple of huge plays to get the third and fourth goals (by Nick Sorkin and Kevin Goumas in the third period). We didn';t break in the third period but in the second period, Casey kept us in there. We turned the puck over and they came after us. We were fortunate to win.';
In retrospect, the Wildcats (14-15-3, 11-12-2) are fortunate to have DeSmith in net given the fact he stepped on the ice ranked ninth in the nation in save percentage and 10th in goals-against average.
';All'; DeSmith, a freshman from Rochester, did against the Minutemen was make a career-high 47 saves.
In the process, UNH clinched a spot in the Hockey East Tournament and vaulted into sixth place because Providence College was blanked, 3-0, by Boston College.
Trevor van Riemsdyk scored the first two goals for UNH but if it wasn';t for DeSmith';s 24-save performance in the second, the Wildcats might not have gone into intermission leading 2-1.
';He stands right in there,'; Umile said of DeSmith. ';He has good position. He covers a lot of the net and has an awful lot of confidence.
';I really think he anticipates the next play and puts himself in a great spot. He knows where it';s going across and he';s there. He';s got good push and he';ll challenge and come out to the top of the crease. And he';s very athletic on top of it.
';We knew he was going to be a good goaltender,'; Umile added. ';That';s why we recruited him. He';s just getting better with confidence and playing at this level.';
Just like a baseball player who';s on a hitting streak when the ball seems like it resembles a beach ball, DeSmith is seeing the puck as well as player can at his position.
';I saw it well the whole game,'; DeSmith said. ';They came hard from the drop of the puck and, thankfully, I saw it well. They got a lot of chances from the slot and I got a few of them.
';A few got past me but all in all I saw the puck well the whole game.';
Van Riemsdyk gave UNH a 1-0 lead at 6:30 of the first when he gunned home a slap shot from the right point.
The freshman defenseman made it 2-0 at 4:44 of the second with another slap shot, this time from just inside the blue line.
UMass, 11-15-5, 7-13-4, finally beat DeSmith, on a power play, at 11:14, when Conor Sheary scored on a wrist shot from the slot.
Joel Hanely tied it at 4:47 of the third on a snap shot from the left circle. But seemingly in an eyeblink UNH scored twice — Sorkin finishing off a 2-on-1 with Goumas at 7:15 and Goumas following suit 17 seconds later on a fast-break pass from Connor Hardowa.
The Minutemen sliced their deficit to 4-3 on Danny Hobbs'; backhander at 12:25. But DeSmith slammed the door to ensure the victory.
';As a goaltender you always have to adjust to shots and anticipate plays,'; DeSmith said. ';Every game is an adjustment. Every game I see different looks and different things players do. I always have to adjust to give myself the best chance to make saves.';