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On to Maine
Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Once more, with even more feeling
New Hampshire needed to beat Maine, the Colonial Athletic Association champ and its bitter rival, nine days ago to keep its season alive.
They play at Maine in the second round of the FCS tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Maine earned a first-round bye, the No. 5 seed for the tournament and a home game for the second round with its 10-2 overall record and CAA title.
“The kids played pretty hard,” said UNH coach Sean McDonnell at mid-afternoon on Sunday. “We were very efficient on offense and getting 10 sacks on defense doesn’t happen very often. We did some good things, but like I’m going to tell the team in about 45 minutes, that doesn’t matter. You’ve got to have a short memory and erase all this stuff. This team (Maine) had a week to prepare for you. It’s good to win it and it’s good to be in it, but now we go on to the next thing.”
Southeastern and Sam Houston are Southland Conference rivals and Southeastern won a home game between the two, 34-21, on Nov. 16.
The Wildcat defense punished the Leopards with those 10 sacks, three by senior defensive end Jay Colbert, and was consistently able to turn the ball over to the offense with third- and fourth-down stops.
Maine had been averaging 32 points a game behind by senior Marcus Wasilewski, the all-CAA, first-team quarterback.
Wasilewki complimented the Wildcats on their game plan and execution after the game and said their coverage made it difficult to find places to throw the ball.
McDonnell agreed. “The biggest thing was, we had a lot more to gain from winning than they did,” he said.
Maine will be looking for a little payback and a victory in its first home playoff game ever.
New Hampshire will be looking for a second win in the playoffs for the first time and for its first win against a conference rival in the playoffs.
UMass had won the regular-season game, 28-20, at UMass on Nov. 4.
Villanova eliminated the Wildcats, 46-7, in 2009. UNH beat Villanova, 28-24, on Oct. 10.
Those games were all quarterfinals and UMass and Delaware each advanced to the championship game and lost.
Villanova went on to beat Montana, 23-21, for the 2009 title and finished with a 14-1 record. The only loss came at UNH.
THE men’s hockey team picked up a couple of wins at Colorado College — 6-2 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday behind Casey DeSmith’s 32-save shutout — over the weekend to get back above .500 at 9-7-1 and now takes aim at a couple of Hockey East games against Boston College.
UNH plays at BC on Friday night at 7 and the teams meet at the Whittemore Center on Saturday at the same time.
The line of senior Kevin Goumas centering for classmate Nick Sorkin and junior Matt Willows accounted for all three goals on Saturday and five goals total at CC.
Goumas leads the Wildcats with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points. Sorkin at 11-7-18 and junior defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, 3-15-18, are right behind.
DeSmith, a junior from Rochester, lowered his goals-against average to 1.84 and improved his save percentage to .934.
Boston College is a point behind UNH, but has played two fewer games than UNH or Providence.
The Eagles are 8-4-2 overall and 4-1-1 in the league and have lost their last two games. They dropped a 5-1 decision at Maine on Nov. 23 and fell at home, 5-4, to Holy Cross of the Atlantic Hockey Association on Friday.
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