MANCHESTER, N.H. - Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) dished out four assist earning most valuable player honors as the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team captured a convincing 6-2 win over Hockey East foe Merrimack College on Saturday night in the annual Battle for the RiverStone Cup XII at Verizon Wireless Arena.
UNH improves to 15-6-2 overall with a 10-5-1 mark in Hockey East. The Warriors even out at 10-10-5, 8-6-2 in league play. The Wildcats match their 2011-12 win total with the victory.
In addition to van Riemsdyk, ten different Wildcats factored in the scoring with four players with multi-point efforts and two netting their first collegiate goals: Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; 1g, 1a), Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta; 1g, 1a), van Riemsdky (4a), Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia; 1g, 2a), Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia; first collegiate goal) and Collin MacDonald (West Milford, N.J.; first collegiate goal).
With UNH leading 1-0 entering the second period, Merrimack evened the score 4:32 into the stanza with a goal from Ben Bahe. Rhett Bly and Kyle Singleton assisted on the equalizer. The 'Cats responded with three goals in the final 7:37 of the second period including you in the final 1:02 of the frame to take control of the game. Hardowa scored the first of those three tallies, a power play goal, on a one-timer from the left circle. Downing and van Riemsdyk assisted on the go-ahead goal. A pair of freshmen netted the third and fourth goals for the Wildcats as Correale and MacDonald scored at 18:58 and 19:59.8 respectively. Correale's goal, which was assisted by Downing and Block, came on the rebound of an Austin Block shot. MacDonald's was a fast-paced transition goal setup in the whining seconds by van Riemsdyk and John Henrion (Holden, Mass.).
UNH added to its lead with as Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) scored on a breakout goal at 8:51 with assists from Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) and Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) to make it 5-1. The Warriors responded to cut it to 5-2 as Dan Kolomatis scored with assists from Vinny Scotti and Connor Toomey at the 10:07 mark of the frame. Downing closed out scored with a goal from the right slot at 18:21 of the period. Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) and van Riemsdyk.
Sophomore netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 35 saves including 16 in the second period. He improves to 14-4-2 on the season. His counterpart from MC, Sam Marotta made 22 saves and falls to 7-5-3.
Merrimack held a 37-28 shot advantage for the game, powered by a 17-11 edge in the second period.
UNH went 2-3 on the power play, while the Warriors were 0-4 on their extra-man opportunities.
UNH returns to action Friday, Feb. 1 at Northeastern University (7 p.m.). The Wildcats next home game is Saturday, Feb. 2 against Merrimack College. Puck drops at 7 p.m. with television coverage on WBIN-TV and FOX College Sports Atlantic. Tickets for the Merrimack game and all UNH home games are available online at UNHWildcats.com.