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February 14. 2013 8:20PM

Allen Lessels' College Hockey: No. 47 gets his day at practice


Former Gov. John Lynch, left, looks on as UNH head coach Dick Umile presents a hockey jersey to Manchester police officer Dan Doherty. 
DURHAM -- The player in University of New Hampshire blue hockey jersey No. 47 moved in and fired a shot that beat the goalie high to the glove side.

UNH coach Dick Umile laughed about the play a little later.

"I saw that shot," Umile said. "He's got a great shot. I could have used that shot last night."

Umile's Wildcats lost a tough one on Tuesday night in Rhode Island, 1-0 to Providence College when the Friars scored the only goal of the game with less than three minutes to play.

As for No. 47, he's getting his game back in shape for the sixth CHaD Battle of the Badges game at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on March 16.

Umile presented Manchester police officer Dan Doherty with his jersey - No. 47 is his badge number - in the UNH locker room at the Whittemore Center before a light team practice on Thursday afternoon.

Doherty wore the jersey onto the ice and skated in some drills with the Wildcats before they scrimmaged.

Doherty, who returned to work last week and is still recovering from wounds he received after being shot last March by Myles Webster, is an avid hockey player.

He was set to play in his third CHaD game last year and said one of the most difficult things to deal with after being shot was that he had to miss the game.

"We fundraise for the kids and our reward is getting to play in the game," Doherty said. "The game means a lot to me. I made a promise I'd be playing this year. I may not be playing great, but I'll be playing."

Former Gov. John Lynch, also a hockey lover and a visitor to UNH practices over the years, had told Doherty, 26, when he saw him in the hospital last year that he would bring him to a practice when he was able to skate again.

Thursday was the day.




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NOW the Wildcats must wait.

They are 16-8-3 overall and 11-7-2 in Hockey East and are tied for second place in the league with Merrimack this morning. By the time they finish their next game at Boston College on Sunday, they could be anywhere from first to fifth.

Merrimack plays BC at home tonight and can take over first place. BC holds a one-point lead over UNH and Merrimack at the moment.

"There's a long way to go," said UNH goalie Casey DeSmith, a sophomore from Rochester. "There's a few games left. If we win most of our remaining games, we're going to give ourselves a good shot at being pretty high in the standings."

The Wildcats, ranked No. 5 this week, are down to seven games to go.

After BC, UNH goes to Vermont for a pair of games next weekend and then closes out the regular season with home series against Massachusetts and Maine.

DeSmith made 33 saves, including one on a penalty shot, in the loss to Providence on Wednesday. He improved his goals-against average to 2.16 and his save percentage to .928.

PC freshman Jon Gillies had 37 saves for the win.




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THE DARTMOUTH MEN, 11-8-4 overall and 7-6-3 in the ECAC, are down to six regular-season games remaining and four of them are at home. They play Cornell, 8-13-2 and 5-8-3, at Thompson Rink tonight at 7 and Colgate, 13-11-4 and 6-7-3, on Saturday night.

The Big Green are on the upper end of an ECAC logjam.

Quinnipiac, the No. 1-ranked team in the country, is running away with the league and Yale is a distant second with 19 points to Quinnipiac's 30.

Dartmouth, Princeton and Rensselaer are all tied for third with 17 points. St. Lawrence and Union are another point back and Brown and Clarkson one more behind that.

Dartmouth lost to Colgate, 5-4, and tied Cornell, 1-1, on the road in the middle of November.

The Big Green are at Clarkson and St. Lawrence next weekend and then close out with home games against Princeton and Quinnipiac.




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THE ST. ANSELM MEN and women are both home this weekend.

The men, 11-8-3 and 0-3-1 in their last four, play Southern Maine tonight at 7 and the University of New England on Saturday at 4. They close out the regular season with a home game against Stonehill on Tuesday at 7.

The women are 15-4-4 and 4-0-1 in their last five. They have two games left, against Plymouth State today at 4 and against Southern Maine on Saturday at 1.




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THE UNH WOMEN, 12-14-2 overall and 8-7-1 in Hockey East, are at Providence tonight and play the Friars at home on Sunday at 2.

The Wildcat are tied for fourth place in the league with Northeastern, a point behind Providence.

The Dartmouth women, 14-7-4 overall and 9-6-3 in the ECAC, are at Colgate, 9-17-3 and 4-11-3, tonight and at Cornell, 20-5-0 and 15-3-0 on Saturday.

The Big Green are sixth in the league.

Cornell goalie Lauren Slebodnick, a junior out of Manchester and Cushing Academy, has the third-best goals-against average in the league at 1.50 and the fourth-best save percentage at .927.



alessels@unionleader.com

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