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March 16. 2014 8:29PM

Goumas leads UNH into Hockey East semifinals

DURHAM — Kevin Goumas took matters into his own hands.

The University of New Hampshire senior forward stared down the end of his collegiate hockey career and the Northeastern Huskies and led his team to a 5-4 win in front of 2,765 at the Whittemore Center on Sunday and into the Hockey East semifinals.

Goumas, known mostly for his playmaking and assists, scored three goals — the first short-handed, the next even strength and the final one on the power play — and also had an assist for the Wildcats.

“He was like possessed tonight,” said UNH coach Dick Umile. “He played great. He played hard defensively. He was all over the puck. He’s just a tenacious forechecker. But the most important thing about him is he’s a very smart hockey player.”

Goumas and the Wildcats, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, play No. 3 seed Providence College on Friday night at 8 p.m. in at TD Garden.

No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 2 UMass-Lowell play in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The championship game is at 7 on Saturday.

“We’re just absolutely thrilled to be going to Boston,” Umile said.

The Wildcats last made it to Boston in the 2010-11 season. They had lost in three games in the quarterfinals each of the last two seasons.

UNH improved to 21-16-1 and Northeastern fell to 18-14-4.

The Wildcats survived a wild third period to win it.

Goumas blasted a power play goal past Witt to complete his second career hat trick and give UNH a 4-3 lead 4:40 into the third period.

Goumas kept the puck in the Northeastern zone at the right point and moved in and shot from the top of the right faceoff circle.

Three minutes later, Northeastern’s Mike McMurtry deflected a Mike Szmatula shot into the net. It was ruled no goal on the ice because McMurtry’s stick was too high. The ruling held after a lengthy video review.

Sophomore defenseman Brett Pesce put UNH up 5-3 with 6:19 to play.

The goal came in handy after Szmatula scored with 3:50 to go to make it 5-4.

The Wildcats held on from there.

On UNH’s first goal, Goumas picked up a loose puck at center ice and moved it ahead to Nick Sorkin as he crossed the blueline. Sorkin shot from the top of the left faceoff circle and beat Witt to the far side 3:29 into the game.

Goumas made it 2-0 with a pretty short-handed goal at 5:12. It was UNH’s sixth shortie of the season and his first since his freshman season. He took a pass from Pesce and raced up the right side on a two-on-one. Goumas got the puck on his forehand and beat Witt to the stick side.

Torin Snyderman shot the puck toward the net from behind the UNH goalline and it deflected off defenseman Matias Cleland and in for 2-1 with 6:51 left in the period.

Goumas crossed in front of the net and deflected in a Pesce shot to make it 3-1 with 2:47 to go in the period.

As on Saturday night, the Wildcats were unable to hold onto the two-goal lead in the second period.

Szmatula, who scored the game-winner in overtime on Saturday, put a rebound over DeSmith at 4:28 to make it 3-2.

Mike McMurtry tipped in a pass from Braden Pimm to tie it with 5:33 left in the period.

Things got a little crazy with reviews and goals called back in the third. UNH survived it all, though, and is going to Boston.

alessels@unionleader.com


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