UNH Notebook: Home ice, sweet home ice for 'Cats
Going into a regular season-ending series at Merrimack, the University of New Hampshire hockey team appeared to have a decent shot of securing a bye for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs and home ice for the quarterfinals.
"It was wild, for sure, after a Friday night loss and then that first period on Saturday night," said UNH coach Dick Umile on Sunday.
First, the Wildcats dropped that 4-2 decision to Merrimack on Friday night, squandering a chance to move up in the standings when Providence College beat Maine and Boston University upset Northeastern.
The Warriors, in part taking advantage of power plays, kept pouring on the shots in the second period and when the game hit the halfway point, Merrimack still had its 1-0 lead and now owned a 33-7 advantage in shots.
Just like that, UNH had turned the game and its fortunes around.
Umile had changed the Wildcat forecheck to be less aggressive and give Merrimack fewer opportunities and UNH began to take control.
Sorkin scored in the last minute of the period for 3-1 and after Merrimack got that one back in the third, Goumas answered to make it a two-goal game again and soon UNH closed things out.
That opened the way for UNH to finish in a tie for fourth place with Northeastern. The Wildcats get the No. 4 seed in a tiebreaker because they swept their two games from the Huskies in November.Casey DeSmith, a junior goalie from Rochester, kept the Wildcats in the game early especially on Saturday and finished with 49 saves.
Goumas had the goal and three assists. The last assist came on Sorkin's empty netter and was the 100th of his career.
"The kid's a very smart hockey player," Umile said. "He touches the puck a lot and makes a lot of plays."
Northeastern is 18-12-4 and was 10-8-2 in Hockey East.(Hockey East tourney pairings, Scoreboard, Page B8.)
PROGRESS is apparently being made toward a $25 million athletic facility that will replace Cowell Stadium and be a new home to the UNH football team.
School president Mark Huddleston announced at the team's annual banquet on Sunday that administrators had, "blown through" the $5 million fundraising goal.
At the time, school officials said the project would move forward only after they had raised $5 million in donations. The university said it will seek internal borrowing to cover the rest of the cost of the facility.
Officials have said they intend to have the new stadium — which is being called West Stadium and features the home stands on the opposite side of the field from where they are now located — completed and in use for at least part of the 2015 season.
THE women's basketball team plays Vermont in an America East tournament quarterfinal game on Friday at Albany. No. 3 seed New Hampshire and No. 6 Vermont play at 2 p.m.
The league men's tournament will have its quarterfinals and semifinals at Albany on Saturday and Sunday. The men's championship game is at the home of the highest seed remaining on Saturday, March 15.
The Wildcats beat Vermont twice during the regular season: 60-45, at home on Jan. 20 and 71-50 in Burlington on Feb. 19.
The winner of the UNH-Vermont game advances to a Sunday semifinal to play the winner of a game between No. 2 seed Stony Brook and No. 7 UMBC. Stony Brook snapped No. 1 Albany's 38-game winning streak against league competition on Saturday.