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Men's Hockey: Wildcats finish weekend sweep of Irish
University of New Hampshire's Dalton Speelman looks to tip the puck in front of Notre Dame goalie Steven Summerhays during the first period of their game at the Whittemore Center in Durham Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
"It was awesome" sad UNH coach Dick Umile. "The whole weekend was great. They took it to another level tonight."
"He's playing with an awful lot of confidence right now," Umile said. "He's running with it."
They will at worst be in fourth place in the league when the weekend ends and could be in third depending on the outcome of the UMass-Lowell vs. Merrimack game on Saturday night.
"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times," said Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson. "We gave up too many odd man rushes."
Willows broke around a Notre Dame defender with a burst of speed and made a nice move to get goalie Steven Summerhays to commit and drop to the ice. Willows then beat him for a short-handed goal with 3:53 left in the second period to put UNH up for good at 3-2.
It was UNH's third shortie of the season and first since Nov. 15.
Senior forward Kevin Goumas and senior defenseman Eric Knodel had assists.
In the first minute of the period, Goumas stole the puck and had a shorthanded breakaway bid, but never got a shot off. A few minutes later, Tyler Kelleher got in close and hit a post with his shot off his own rebound.
Collin Bourque, a freshman from Goffstown, had an assist.
Goumas added an empty net goal to close out the scoring with 53.2 seconds to go.
Senior forward Dalton Speelman gave UNH a 2-1 lead 3:33 into the second period when he took a pass from Willows on a two-on-one break and put the puck behind Summerhays for a goal similar to one scored by Maxim Gaudreault in the first period.
The teams swapped first period goals.
Gaudreault finished off a nice two-on-one with Kelleher to open the scoring with 9:39 left in the first period. Sophomore Dan Correale also assisted.Mario Lucia collected a drop pass from Vince Hinostroza and blasted a bigtime shot over DeSmith's left shoulder for 1-1 with 2:33 left in the period.
Senior forward Jeff Silengo and junior forward Grayson Downing, who is out with a shoulder injury, have the other two short-handed goals for UNH. ... The Wildcats have six games remaining, the first three at home and the final three on the road. After Vermont, they play Boston University at home on Feb. 14 and face the Terriers the next night in Boston. They are off the weekend of Feb. 21 and 22 and close out with two games at Merrimack on Feb. 28 and March 1.