DeSmith besieged, UNH falls in OT
AMHERST, Mass. - Goaltender Casey DeSmith and the No. 9-ranked University New Hampshire hockey team came up just short of a second straight low-scoring tie on the road.
Instead, they lost their first game of the year when Massachusetts defenseman Darren Rowe sneaked in from the right point and took a pass from Conor Sheary from the behind the net to beat DeSmith for a power play goal with 1:52 left in overtime, giving his team a 2-1 win at the Mullins Center.
The Minutemen took control of the game from the midway point of the third period. DeSmith, who had 34 saves, nearly held them off.
"The only reason we had a chance to win the game was because of our goalie," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "I told my team that at the end of the game. We didn't deserve to win."
UNH fell to 4-1-1 overall and 2-1-1 in Hockey East. The Wildcats move on to a game at Maine on Sunday at 4. The Black Bears lost to Boston College at home on Friday night, 4-2, and are 1-7-0 overall and 0-3-0 in Hockey East.
UMass, which had played Boston College and Boston University tough, picked up its first league win for first-year coach John Micheletto and improved to 2-3-0 and 1-3-0.
The Minutemen poured it on in the third period, but could not beat DeSmith.
UMass outshot UNH 13-8 in the period and had a handful of excellent scoring chances in the second half of the period especially.
"We were a little back on our heels," said forward Greg Burke, a senior from Lee. "They play an up-tempo game and there were stretches where we didn't match that and that can't happen. It kind of builds on itself. They put together a few good shifts and all of a sudden momentum's in their favor."
DeSmith got it into overtime and the Minutemen kept coming.
With 2:51 left in OT, UNH forward Kevin Goumas was penalized for interference and UMass went on the power play.
With 1:59 left, the Minutemen earned a face-off to DeSmith's left and Micheletto called a timeout.
Seven seconds later, it was over.
"Just a nice play, a good pass back door," DeSmith said.
"They executed the face-off play," Umile said. "We didn't cover very well, but you've got to give them credit. They won the game. They deserved to win."
The teams traded goals in the first two periods.
Burke opened the scoring with his second goal of the season with 34 seconds left in the first period. Kevin Goumas intercepted a UMass clearing pass on the left boards and took a shot that UMass goalie Kevin Boyle stopped. The puck deflected to Burke on the right side and he fired it into the net.
Sheary got that one back for the Minutemen at 12:21 of the second period, Sheary stole the puck from UNH defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and charged down the right side and beat DeSmith to the far side.
The goal ended DeSmith's shutout streak at 147 minutes and 36 seconds.
After giving up three goals in the first period against Northeastern a week ago, DeSmith had blanked the Huskies the rest of that game while the Wildcats came back from 3-0 down for a 4-3 win. He had 34 saves the next night in a 0-0 tie in the rematch.
Now the Wildcats will try to put their first loss behind them and bounce back from a rough third period and OT.
"I think we got outworked, to be honest with you," Umile said. "The shots they got in the first two periods were from the outside and we were comfortable with that."
UMass made things uncomfortable from there.