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February 16. 2014 7:22PM

Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Wildcats reach critical stage of Hockey East schedule

DURHAM -- The University of New Hampshire men's hockey team sits in fifth place in the Hockey East standings this morning.

The Wildcats hope to jump into a tie for third by the time the day ends. And then they must wait things out for a bit.

UNH looks to improve its status in the league in a game against Boston University in Agganis Arena this afternoon at 4. The game was postponed from Saturday night by a snowstorm.

"It's a huge game," said senior forward Kevin Goumas. "Especially with where we happen to be with only three games left."

That's the thing with the Wildcats and the league.

They are fifth in the league, a point behind fourth-place Northeastern and two behind third-place Maine. UNH can climb over Northeastern and into a tie with Maine with a win today.

But the Wildcats will have only two games remaining after BU and most of the teams in the league have four to go.

UNH has a bye next weekend while the other 10 teams play league games.

The Wildcats then close out the regular season with games at Merrimack on Feb. 28 and March 1. The Warriors are in last place in the league.

The top five teams in Hockey East earn byes for the first round of the league tournament. The top four earn home ice for the quarterfinals.

Teams seeded in spots six through eight play host to teams nine through 11 in a single game playoff to determine which teams advance to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 14-16.

Goumas had an assist in Friday night's 4-3 win over BU at the Whittemore Center and continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring.

He has 13 goals and 25 assists for 38 points and is closing in on the 100-assist mark for his career. Goumas has 38 goals and 94 assists for 132 points in 138 career games.Darren Haydar was the last Wildcat with 100 career assists. The third leading scorer overall in UNH history, Haydar had 102 goals and 117 assists for 219 points in 158 games from 1998-2002.

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The women's basketball team rallied behind the late-game heroics of Nashua's Kelsey Hogan for a 76-71 overtime win over Hartford on Sunday at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The win was UNH's sixth straight at home and improved the team's record to 16-9 overall and solidified its hold on second place in America East at 10-2.

Hogan grabbed a rebound off a missed foul shot with 14.9 seconds in regulation and went coast-to-coast for a layup to tie the game at 62-62.

Hogan, a senior guard, scored five points in overtime. She had 17 points in the game.

"It was one of those games where I felt like we had a run coming and fortunately we found a way to get a run going late," said UNH coach Maureen Magarity. "A lot of people stepped up."

The Wildcats play at Vermont on Wednesday night and then close out the regular season with three straight home games. They play UMass-Lowell on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the opener of a women's-men's doubleheader.

"These are real important games right now," Magarity said. "The way the league is, if you take a night off and lose, it can mess you up.

You can go from second to fourth or fifth in a hurry."

The UNH and UMass-Lowell men play on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The Wildcat men fell to 6-19 overall and 4-8 in America East with a 61-59 loss at Hartford on Saturday night. It was the second straight close loss for the Wildcats, who also dropped a 72-71 overtime decision at home to Binghamton the game before.

The Wildcats play league-leading Vermont at home on Wednesday night.

The Catamounts are 17-9 overall and 11-1 in America East.

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The women's lacrosse team opened the season with a 9-5 home win over Hofstra in the snow on Saturday.

The Wildcats play at Boston College on Saturday and have Dartmouth at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Cowell Stadium.

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The men's and women's track teams compete in the America East championships next Sunday and Monday at the New York Armory in New York City.

Albany won the men's and women's championships last season. The UNH men and women each finished fifth.

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Chris Van Horn, an assistant on Sean McDonnell's football coaching staff the past three seasons, has moved on.

He's taken a job at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Tex., where he will coach defensive tackles.

"He did a heckuva job here and a real nice job with the defensive line this year," McDonnell said. "He got a fulltime position down there and it's a big step for him. He's excited about it."

McDonnell's players are lifting, running and doing agility work now and begin spring football the first week of April.

The Blue-White spring game is scheduled for Saturday, May 3.

alessels@unionleader.com


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