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Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Fourth line proves to be first-rate
University of New Hampshire hockey coach Dick Umile swapped in a new fourth line for Monday's consolation game against Bemidji State in the Ledyard National Bank Classic at Dartmouth.
The move paid off nicely.
The unit of sophomore Jay Camper centering for sophomore right wing Matt Willows and freshman left wing Dan Correale figured in a pair of goals, including the game-winner in overtime in a 3-2 triumph.
"They played well all night," Umile said. "They definitely bring a lot of energy and they play hard and they're all quick, but they did more than that. They managed the puck well."
It's not every night that a fourth line gets to play a regular shift as a close game winds down, and particularly gets to play in overtime.
They earned their time.
"You play well, you play," Umile said. "We stayed with them and they came up with a big play. We went right through the rotation. They were an important line for us."
The halfway mark of the five-minute overtime was approaching and UNH was trying to salvage something from the tournament.
Camper took a faceoff in the Bemidji end and got the puck to Willows, who passed it back to sophomore defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. Van Riemsdyk scored with a slap shot and UNH had its win, 2:08 into overtime, and snapped its first two-game losing streak of the season.
Camper, playing in his sixth game of the season, had scored his first goal of the year and second of his career in the second period to give UNH a 2-1 lead. Junior defenseman Justin Agosta and Willows assisted on that one.
Bemidji tied the game in the third period.
The Wildcats improved to 12-3-2 with the win.
UNH went into the tournament ranked No. 2 in the country, but lost to No. 10 Dartmouth in its first-round game on Sunday night, 4-1. The Wildcats slipped to No. 4 and Dartmouth moved up to No. 8 in this week's rankings that were announced on Monday.
Dartmouth lost to Massachusetts, 3-2, on Monday night in the tournament's championship game. The Big Green, who are now 8-3-2 overall, lost in the title game for the third straight season.
Umile said he planned to switch in the new group as the fourth line as the team prepared for the tournament.
"We came back from the break and had a good week of practice going into the tournament and I kind of made up my mind I would use both groups and stayed with it," he said.
It worked well.
UNH plays Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at home on Saturday night at 7 in its last nonconference game.
The Engineers have rallied to a 6-7-4 record. They started the season 1-5-2 and have gone 5-2-2 in their last nine games.
Dartmouth gets back into ECAC play with a game at Quinnipiac, which is one of the hottest teams around, on Friday and is at Princeton on Saturday.
Quinnipiac is 14-3-2 overall and 8-0-0 in the ECAC and is unbeaten in its last 12 games at 11-0-1.
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THE UNH men's and women's basketball teams open the America East portion of their schedule tonight at 7.
The men are home against Vermont and the women are at Vermont.
The men were 4-8 in their nonconference schedule.
"I still think we've got a good basketball team," said coach Bill Herrion. "I like the team. I think we've got a lot of weapons. At the end of the day, it comes down to conference play. Now it's a two-month race."
The Wildcats have a tough challenge ahead. After the opener against Vermont, the Wildcats play at Stony Brook on Saturday. Stony Brook won the regular season championship last year and Vermont beat Stony Brook for the tournament title and the league's NCAA berth.
Vermont takes a 7-5 record into league play.
Stony Brook improved to 9-4 with a 50-44 win over Manhattan on Tuesday. Scott King, a 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman out of Derry and the Holderness School, had a career-high eight points against Manhattan. King averages 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.6 minutes of play a game.
The UNH women are 5-7 and Vermont is 3-10.
The Wildcats follow Vermont with home games against Stony Brook on Saturday at 4 and UMBC next Wednesday.
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Allen Lessels covers college sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He may be reached at email@example.com.