Men's Hockey: UNH edges Maine
Led by senior defenseman captain Eric Knodel and junior goalie Casey DeSmith, the Wildcats did just that on Friday night and knocked off No. 20 Maine, 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd of 6,501 at the Whittemore Center.
DeSmith, a junior from Rochester, made 32 saves.
Maine's Mark Anthoine scored an extra attacker goal with 54.7 seconds remaining to cut UNH's lead to a goal and make things interesting.
The Wildcats improved to 14-12-1 overall and 6-5-0 in Hockey East.
UNH jumped over UMass-Lowell in the standings and into a fourth-place tie with Maine.
UMass-Lowell dropped a 5-4 game at Providence College on Friday night when the Friars scored three goals in the last seven and a half minutes.
Knodel gave UNH a 2-1 lead with a one-timer from the left point that beat Ouellette to the glove side at 7:23 of the second period.
It was Knodel's sixth goal of the season and second at even strength.
"Eric Knodel's had a fabulous season," said UNH coach Dick Umile earlier in the week. "He's done it all over the ice, on the penalty kill, blocking shots, scoring goals, getting into the rush. He's played very well. He's done yeoman work for us."
Ouellette stopped a bid by Tyler Kelleher, who deflected a shot by Knodel. Casey Thrush made a nice move to get in close and beat Ouellette with a backhander, but the puck bounced off the inside of the left post and away.
Junior Jay Camper finished off a nifty bit of passing with his first goal of the season. The play went Thrush to Kelleher to Camper in tight.
The Wildcats finally scored a first goal of the game. Opponents had scored first in each of UNH's last six games and eight of the last nine.
Will Merchant answered for Maine just over two minutes later and it stayed 1-1 through the end of the period. Maine took the play to UNH late in the period and ended up with a 16-6 advantage in shots through the first 20 minutes.
Defenseman Brice O'Connor, a senior from Londonderry, is the Maine captain. Brian Morgan, a freshman from Windham, was left wing on the third line for the Black Bears ... UNH played its first full game without junior defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (broken ankle) and junior center Grayson Downing (sprained shoulder) who left Saturday's game against Union after being injured.