|1st||4:38||UNH||1-0||EV||Tyler Kelleher (15)||Dan Correale/12, Brett Pesce/11|
|1st||5:48||UNH||2-0||PP||Grayson Downing (16)||Matt Willows/13, Casey Thrush/18|
|2nd||8:12||UNH||3-0||PP GW||Matt Willows (19)||Grayson Downing/15, Brett Pesce/12|
|2nd||8:32||UNH||4-0||PP||Tyler Kelleher (16)||Dan Correale/13, Cameron Marks/10|
|2nd||13:32||CON||1-4||EV||Spencer Naas (13)||Shawn Pauly/15, Brent Norris/8|
|3rd||9:39||CON||2-4||EV||Joey Ferriss (2)||Cody Sharib/1, Ryan Tyson/9|
|3rd||19:15||UNH||5-2||EV EN||Grayson Downing (17)||Matias Cleland/11|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|New Hampshire (16-17-2)||3/4||5/10||0|
|Rob Nichols (L, 9-18-7)||58:35||4||7||11||10||28|
|New Hampshire Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Daniel Tirone (W, 11-4-0)||59:36||2||6||5||9||20|
DURHAM, N.H. - Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) recorded two goals and an assist to lead the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Friday night's 5-2 victory against the University of Connecticut at the Whittemore Center. UNH leads the Hockey East best-of-three first round series 1-0.
UNH, the tournament's No. 8 seed by virtue of a 10-11-1 league record, improved to 16-17-2 with its third win of the season against UConn. The ninth-seeded Huskies, who went 7-11-4 in league play, move to 10-18-8 overall. Game 2 is March 7 (7 p.m.) and Game 3, if necessary, is March 8 (4:30 p.m.); both games will be played at the Whittemore Center. Tickets to both games are still available with chairback seats costing $17 and general admission tickets costing $15.
In addition to Downing, Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.), Brett Pesce (Tarrytown, N.Y.) and Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) recorded multiple points for the Wildcats. Kelleher netted two goals while both Pesce and Willows finished with a goal and an assist. Danny Tirone (Trumbull, Conn.) was credited with 20 saves.
UConn's goals were scored by Spencer Naas and Joey Ferriss. Rob Nichols stopped 28 shots.
UNH led 2-0 at the first intermission with a 9-6 shot advantage. Kelleher struck first at 4:38 when he rushed through the right circle and fired a close-range shot that hit off Nichols and continued into the net. Pesce initiated the sequence with a pass from the defensive zone to Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) at mid-ice, and Correale advanced the puck to Kelleher at the blue line.
The Wildcats immediately went on the first power play of the game with a hooking call against UConn and capitalized on the skater advantage to extend the advantage to 2-0 70 seconds later. Pesce kept the puck in the offensive zone at the right point and pass the puck to Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.) in the right corner. He slipped a pass behind the net to Willows, who found Downing in front for the goal at 5:48.
In the 16th minute with the teams skating 4-on-4, Pesce carried the puck down the right wing to behind the net before circling back toward the right corner. He snapped a pass to the low slot and Thrush ripped a one-timer that was blocked away by Nichols.
New Hampshire generated a shorthanded bid in the second minute of the second period when Correale skated with speed down the right circle and cut in front of a defender to the right doorstep before lifting a shot wide of the near post.
In the fourth minute, John Salvaggio (Hanson, Mass.) led a rush down the slot and was denied twice by Nichols. Three minutes later, Jay Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) led a 2-on-1 rush into the left circle. His shot from the faceoff dot was stopped by Nichols, who also denied Warren Foegele (Unionville, Ontario) off the rebound in the low slot.
UConn was whistled for tripping at 7:25 and hooking at 7:54 to give the Wildcats a two-skater advantage for 92 seconds, and the home team made the most of the opportunity by netting a 5-on-3 goal and a power-play tally to extend the advantage to 4-0.
Willows made it 3-0 at 8:12 when he one-times Downing's centering pass from the right circle to the low slot into the net. Pesce was also credited with an assist. Kelleher scored his second of the game 20 seconds later with the helpers going to Correale and Cameron Marks (North Vancouver, British Columbia).
The Huskies closed within 4-1 at 13:32 of the second stanza when Naas circled from behind the net to the right faceoff dot before firing a shot that deflected off a UNH defenseman's stick over Tirone into the net. Shawn Pauly and Brent Norris set up the tally.
UConn trimmed the deficit to 4-2 at 9:39 of the final frame. Tirone stopped Cody Sharib's initial shot from the low slot, but Ferriss corralled the rebound at the left post and shoveled the puck into the open side of the net. Ryan Tyson was credited with the secondary assist.
With 5:45 left in regulation, Nichols stopped Foegele's bid at the right doorstep and slid across the crease to stone Camper.
Nichols exited in favor of an extra skater with 2:10 to play. Thrush shot wide of the cage with 1:10 on the clock and at the other end of the ice, Tirone kept it a two-goal lead by denying Ryan Seggalla's bid from the slot.
The rebound went to the left half-boards, where Segalla's attempted pass deflected off Mattias Cleland (Longmont, Colo.). Downing corralled the loose puck and made a circuitous route through the faceoff circle at center ice to the left circle of the offensive zone before snapping a shot past a UConn skater into the empty net at 19:15 for the 5-2 final.