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January 19. 2013 8:31PM

Hockey East standings tightening

DURHAM - Boston College and Boston University each lost home games on Friday night, tightening things up a bit in the middle of the Hockey East standings heading into Saturday night's games.

No. 3-ranked New Hampshire took on Providence for the first time this season on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center.

The Wildcats were 14-4-2 overall and the Friars 9-9-3 going into the game.

UNH was 9-3-1 and in second place in Hockey East, trailing first-place BC by a couple of points. BC played at Northeastern on Saturday.

BU was in third place, a point behind UNH, and Providence, at 7-5-2, was three points behind the Wildcats.

Northeastern and Massachusetts, looking to get into the discussion for home ice in the league tournament, pulled off the Friday night upsets.

Northeastern won at BU, 6-5, and UMass topped BC, 5-2.

UNH was to play Providence and Merrimack in six of its next seven games starting on Saturday night.

The Wildcats face Merrimack for a pair next weekend. The teams play at Merrimack in No. Andover, Mass., on Friday and then meet at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Saturday at 5 p.m.



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Junior forward Nick Sorkin, who missed the last three games with a hand injury, was back in the UNH lineup on Saturday night. He was the left wing on a line centered by senior Scott Pavelski. Sophomore Casey Thrush was the right wing.

Sorkin has two goals and eight assists in his 16 games.

Greg Burke, a senior forward from Lee, missed his second straight game. Burke left UNH's game against BC last Friday night with a head injury. He sat out Saturday's rematch with BC in Durham.


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Sophomore Jay Camper again centered the third line for freshman Dan Correale and sophomore Matt Willows. The group has been UNH's most productive over the last couple of weeks.

Each of the linemates has five points of the season: 12 of the 15 total points have come in the last four weeks.



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Saturday night's game featured two of the top goalies in Hockey East.

Jon Gillies, a 6-foot-5 Providence freshman out of South Portland, Maine, took league-leading numbers in save percentage (.933) and goals against average (1.96) into the game.

In his last two games, Gillies had 48 saves in a 2-1 loss at UMass-Lowell on Thursday night and 44 in a 2-0 win over Massachusetts last Saturday.

Bruce Gillies, Jon's father, was a standout goalie at Bishop Brady High School in Concord and then played at UNH in the mid-1980s.

UNH's Casey DeSmith, the sophomore out of Rochester, took a .928 save percentage and 2.05 gaa into the game. Both numbers were third-best in the league.

Gillies and DeSmith shared the goaltending duties with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League two years ago.



alessels@unionleader.com


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