DURHAM -- THE University of New Hampshire hockey team had Maine right where it wanted it with a period left to play in the weekend on Saturday night in Orono, Maine.
Then the Black Bears escaped. They came up with three third-period goals, the last one into an empty net after UNH pulled its goalie, to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 win and a split of the home-and-home series between the teams.
So now UNH is pretty much back where it started the weekend.
If the postseason started today, the Wildcats would be the No. 6 seed in the Hockey East tournament and be assigned to play a single game, at home, against Merrimack in the first round of the league tournament. The winner would advance to a two-game quarterfinal series at No. 3 Providence.
UNH would need to advance deep into the league tournament, if not win it, to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats still have plenty of time to improve their post-season lot.
They have eight regular-season games remaining, the first five at the Whittemore Center starting with a series against league newcomer Notre Dame on Friday night.
UNH plays two games at home against Notre Dame, two against Vermont the following weekend and then has a home-and-home series against Boston University. UNH is off the weekend of Feb. 21-22 and closes out with games at Merrimack on Feb. 28 and March 1.
The Wildcats were at No. 17 in the PairWise rankings on Saturday morning after beating Maine at home, 3-2, on Friday night. The PairWise simulates the system the NCAA uses to pick its at-large teams for the 16-team national tournament. The Black Bears got away on Saturday night and UNH slipped back to a tie for No 22.
Notre Dame is at No. 12 in the PairWise and Vermont No. 19. Both teams are just behind UNH in the Hockey East standings, Vermont by two points and Notre Dame by three.
The Fighting Irish are 15-9-1 overall and 4-6-1 in the league.
They split a pair of shutouts with Northeastern at home over the weekend.
The Huskies stopped Notre Dame, 4-0, on Friday night and the Fighting Irish won, 3-0, on Saturday night.
Notre Dame senior goalie Steve Summerhays stopped 36 shots on Saturday night for his fifth shutout. He leads the nation in that category and has a .923 save percentage and 2.01 goals against average.
FOOTBALL recruiting season continues in Durham. The Wildcats just completed their second official recruiting weekend with a third scheduled for next weekend in advance of the start of the national signing period on Feb. 5.
Two of the latest players to make verbal commitments to accept scholarships to the school are a running back out of Florida and a running back out of Amherst, Mass., according to various reports.
Trevon Bryant is a 5-foot-8, 180-pounder who carried 205 times for 1,772 yards and 25 touchdowns to help Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, Fla., to an 8-3 record last fall, according to The St. Augustine Record.
Kieran Presley of Amherst, 6-foot and 180 pounds, spent a postgraduate year at Loomis-Chaffee in Windsor, Conn., last fall. As a senior at Amherst Regional, Presley ran for 1,009 yards and 13 touchdowns and finished strong, according to the Springfield Republican. He ran for 359 yards and three touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and had an interception in an early November game against Chicopee.
THE men’s and women’s basketball teams took on their newest league rivals in a doubleheader at UMass-Lowell on Sunday. The River Hawks are in their first year in America East and their first year as a Division I program across the board.
The Wildcat teams face one of their oldest league rivals on Wednesday night.
The men play Maine at 7, while the women are at Maine at the same time.
The women’s game will feature the first matchup between the Anderson sisters, guards out of Greene, Maine. Courtney is a junior who plays at Maine. Kristen is a UNH freshman.
Courtney averages 2.9 points a game in 12.9 minutes and Kristen is at 5.2 points in 21.7 minutes. Kristen had 30 points in a 77-74 win at Brown on Jan. 3.
MARYLAND comes to town to take on UNH in gymnastics on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Wildcats lost a dual meet at Pittsburgh on Saturday. Maryland will return to Durham for the EAGL championships, which will be hosted by UNH on March 22.
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