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November 03. 2012 11:24PM

Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: UNH skaters hope to break even

DURHAM -- The University of New Hampshire's long weekend of hockey and bus rides likely seemed a bit longer on Friday night after Dick Umile's team dropped a 2-1 overtime game to Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.

The Wildcats headed back to Durham after the game and on Saturday were on their way to Orono where they will take on a desperate and hungry University of Maine today at 4.

UNH will look to salvage something out of the Hockey East weekend, but won't change how it goes about things this afternoon.

"It puts our back up against the wall a little bit for the weekend, but it doesn't change our approach to the game," said senior forward Greg Burke of Lee, who scored UNH's goal on Friday night. "Every game we play is a must win game and we expect to win and that attitude is not going to change."

UNH is 4-1-1 overall and 2-1-1 in Hockey East and was ranked No. 9 in the country last week.

The Wildcats, who scored 17 goals in their first four games and not fewer than four in a contest, have now scored just one goal total in their last two games.

Casey DeSmith, the sophomore goaltender out of Rochester, had another good outing against UMass.

Coming off a 34-save effort in a 0-0 shutout against Northeastern last Saturday, DeSmith had another 34 stops on Friday and helped get the game to overtime.

"The only reason we had a chance to win was because of our goalie," said Umile. "They outplayed us and deserved to win. We didn't, that's for sure, especially in the last 10 minutes of the third period. We got outcompeted."

In overtime, Kevin Goumas picked up a penalty for tripping and UMass made the Wildcats pay. Darren Rowe scored on the power play with 1:52 left in OT.

"It's a tough situation to kill a penalty in overtime," Burke said. "But you've got to get the job done and we didn't."

DeSmith, the Hockey East Goalie of the Month for has a save percentage of .934 and goals against average of 1.79.

Now come the Black Bears.

Maine fell to 1-7-0 overall and 0-3-0 in Hockey East with a 4-2 loss at home to Boston College on Friday night. The game was tied 2-2 going into the third period and BC had an empty net goal with 11 seconds left.

The Black Bears have been outscored 26-10 thus far and have one power play goal in 39 attempts.

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FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 1 seed New Hampshire takes on No. 2 Albany at noon today on Memorial Field in Durham for the America East field hockey championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats advanced to the title game with a 3-2 overtime win over Fairfield in a semifinal on Friday afternoon. Albany earned its spot by stopping Maine, 4-1, in its semi.

Senior Mary Quill of Greenland scored UNH's first goal against Fairfield. Megan Bozek had the second goal and Meg Flatley had the game-winner.

Hannah Richard, a junior forward from Hopkinton, leads UNH in scoring with 14 goals and 4 assists. Emma Erler, a senior from New Hampton and Newfound Regional in Bristol, is the Wildcat captain and has three goals and six assists.

UNH is hosting the championships for the third straight yeart. The Wildcats beat Boston University, 4-2, for the title last year.

The game is a rematch of the 2010 finale when Albany, also No. 2 at the time, knocked off No. 1 UNH, 3-2, in double overtime.

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Allen Lessels may be reached at alessels@unionleader.com.

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