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DURHAM, N.H. - Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.), the reigning Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week, recorded 38 saves to lead the third-ranked University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey team to Friday night's 1-1 tie in Hockey East action against the University of Massachusetts at the Whittemore Center.
UNH remains unbeaten on the season at 3-0-1 overall and 1-0-1 in Hockey East. UMass is now 2-1-1, 0-0-1.
Foster made 16 saves in the first and 13 in the third. He was not required to make a stop in overtime. UMass counterpart Dan Meyers was credited with three saves in OT to finish with 31. He stopped 10 shots in the middle stanza and 12 in the third.
The teams skated to a 1-1 tie in the first period. UMass opened the period strong and generated a 7-0 shot advantage in the opening five minutes. The Wildcats began to build momentum midway through the stanza, when Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) broke down the slot following a faceoff in the neutral zone and fired a shot that went behind Meyers that caromed off a leg pad wide left of the net. The Minutemen responded immediately with a dangerous scoring opportunity when Michael Lecomte picked up a loose puck, drove down the slot and took aim at the left post. Foster extended his right leg pad, however, to send the puck wide.
UNH was whistled for a major penalty at 12:11 and UMass gained a 5-on-3 power play when a second Wildcat was sent to the penalty box at 13:26. The visitors needed just 15 seconds to capitalize on the two-skater advantage. Foster skated behind the net to play the puck, but his pass was intercepted by Chase Langeraap deep in the left circle. He then shifted towards the slot and slid the puck into the net with Foster sprawling towards the goal mouth.
UMass had 3:30 remaining on its power play, but the Wildcats would tie the score with a shorthanded tally at 16:55. James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) picked up a loose puck at the inner part of the right circle and wristed a high shot inside the near post for his team-leading third goal of the year.
Both teams generated a plethora of dangerous scoring chances in the second period, but the strong play of both goalies kept the game deadlocked at 1. In the fourth minute, with UMass on the power play, Danny Hobbs corralled a deflected pass at the right doorstep but he was stoned by Foster. Midway through the stanza, UNHs Joe Charlebois (Potsdam, N.Y.) threw the puck in front from the right dashers. Greg Manz (Wayne, Pa.) redirected a shot that caromed off Meyers over the crossbar.
Minutes later, UNH's Butler nearly potted a shorthanded goal when he intercepted a pass in the slot and fired a shot from between the circles off Meyers' blocker. With the 'Cats back at full strength in the 14th minute, Kevin Kapstad (Boxboro, Mass.) sent a shot from the left point that sailed through traffic and was blocked down by Meyers' left shoulder.
UMass went on its fifth power play of the night at 14:58 and the Minutemen executed a backdoor play to Alex Berry at the left post, but Foster slid across the crease for the save. In the closing minute of the second period, Berry’s pass from behind the net was redirected at the top of the crease by Cory Quirk, but Foster once again turned aside the shot.
The Minutemen again came out strong at the start of the third period. Foster made a quality save against Lecomte at the right doorstep, then midway through the frame he stopped a flurry of shots that included John Wessbecker from the right point and Berry in front off the rebound.
UNH called time out at the start of its power play at 18:22. Meyers stopped one perimeter shot before teammate Brett Watson iced the puck with one minute remaining in regulation. The 'Cats dumped the puck back in the offensive zone with 46 seconds on the clock, but UMass once again was able to send the puck away with 30 seconds to play. UNH reentered the zone 10 seconds later and Meyers denied van Riemsdyk's shot from the right circle in the closing seconds.
The Wildcats began the five-minute overtime session with 38 seconds remaining on the power play, but were unable to sustain pressure. UNH had a 3-0 shot advantage in the extra frame.
UNH finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play and 5 of 6 on the penalty kill. The 'Cats have now surrendered just two power-play goals in 32 shorthanded situations this season.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 26 (7:30 p.m.) at St. Lawrence University. The game is broadcast live on ESPNU. The Wildcats' next home game is Oct. 31 against Northeastern. That game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast by CN8 television.