DURHAM, N.H. - John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) scored his 10th goal of the season with under four seconds remaining in regulation to help the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team claim a 2-2 tie with the University of Massachusetts in Friday night's Hockey East matchup at the Whittemore Center.
UNH moves to 17-8-6 with a 12-7-5 mark in Hockey East play for 29 points, which is one point behind HEA co-leaders Boston College and UMass-Lowell with three games remaining in the regular season. UMass improves to 11-17-3 and 8-14-2 in HEA for 18 points, which is tied with Maine for the league's eighth and final playoff spot.
The Minutemen grabbed a 2-1 lead at 18:55 of the third period when Eddie Olczyk deposited a rebound past Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) for his third goal of the season. Zack LaRue and Darren Rowe tallied the assists.
The Wildcats pulled DeSmith in favor of an extra attacker, and the move paid off when Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) rifled a slap shot from the high slot that was stopped by Steve Mastalerz. Henrion extended for the rebound, and his put-back from the left side at 19:56 sent the Towse Rink crowd of 4,805 into a state of delirium and forced the Wildcats' fourth overtime game in the last six contests. Knodel and Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) assisted on Henrion's heroic goal.
The Minutemen seized a 1-0 lead at 12:19 of the first when Michael Pereira collected a carom off the end wall and beat DeSmith from the right of the crease for his 13th goal of the season. Conor Allen and Conor Sheary had the assists. UNH outshot UMass 15-11 in the opening period.
The 'Cats tied the score, 1-1, at 10:44 of the second period when Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) tipped Knodel's slap shot from the high point into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season. Knodel and Goumas assisted on the lone power-play goal of the game. The Minutemen held a 15-7 shot advantage in the middle stanza.
The Wildcats held an 8-6 third-period shot advantage, while UMass posted a 5-4 shot edge in overtime for a total shot advantage of 37-34.
DeSmith made 35 saves, and Mastalerz turned aside 32 shots. UNH went 1-for-4 on the power play, and UMass went scoreless on four power-play opportunities.
The Wildcats square off with the Minutemen again Saturday night, March 2 (7 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center. The game will be televised live on WBIN-TV and FOX College Sports Atlantic. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.