DURHAM, N.H. -- As New Hampshire Wildcats (6-5-1, 4-2-0 Hockey East) head coach Dick Umile said, getting points during each Hockey East weekend is a challenge.
But this weekend against the No. 18 Northeastern Huskies (6-5-0, 1-4-0), that challenge was certainly accepted as his team completed a weekend sweep with a 4-1 victory on Saturday night on the Towse Rink at the Whittemore Center Arena.
Following a 1-5-1 start to the season, which included a home-and-home sweep at the hands of UMass Lowell, the Wildcats have rattled off five straight wins to jump back above the .500 mark on the season.
"The score was not indicative of the game," UNH head coach Dick Umile said. "It was a well-fought game by both teams and we're excited with the win. ... We kept our command (through the losing streak). We've just stuck with it and now the team is playing with a lot of confidence."
The Huskies played a fantastic first period on enemy ice, holding a 12-6 advantage in shots on goal, but could not find the back of the net against UNH junior Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.), who was coming off his second consecutive shutout with 22 saves on Friday night at Matthews Arena in Boston.
"I liked our effort in the game," NU head coach Jim Madigan said. "From last night to tonight, it was night and day. We played with energy and effort. We competed and battled. ... We have to get back to the drawing board in Monday and realize that we don't reward efforts. We reward results."
UNH ceased the scoring drought in the game, scoring twice in a 40-second span just after the midway mark of the second period, taking a 2-0 lead over the visiting Huskies. NU, like many teams has struggled in the building, as it is without a win in Durham since Dec. 2007.
Senior Nick Sorkin continued his torrid scoring pace, scoring his seventh goal of the season at the 12:59 mark of the stanza. Junior alternate captain Trevor van Riemsdyk took the initial shot from the center point which bounced off the lively end board and onto the stick of the Marylander, who smacked one home from the side of NU redshirt freshman Derick Roy's net.
At 13:39, junior Casey Thrush collected a loose puck off the pads of Roy and tucked it five-hole off a primary assist from senior Justin Agosta, propelling the home team ahead by a 2-0 score. The two-goal start midway through the middle stanza was really all UNH would need as it has enjoyed a 6-0-0 record when leading after 40 minutes this season.
That rapid fire scoring would prove to be vital as the Huskies did find the back of the net 2:31 into the third period as sophomore Kevin Roy fired a rebound home on DeSmith from the center of the left circle off a first shot from rookie Mike Szmatula, who returned to the scoresheet after a one-night absence.
The goal was Roy's team-leading ninth of the season and ended DeSmith's shutout streak, which had spanned more than three complete games, at 199:17.
Junior Matt Willows and freshman Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.) slammed the door shut with two more power-play tallies in the final nine-plus minutes of the third. Willows' goal at 10:38 was a pretty one as he fired a wrister from the left circle high on Roy's stick side.
DeSmith struggled at the outset of the season during the team's slow start, but made 31 saves for his fourth win. His closing comment in the post-game press conference put things quite simply: "When we're winning, it's a lot more fun."
Merrimack 2, Notre Dame 2 (OT)
The Warriors (3-6-1, 0-3-1 Hockey East) finished off a hard-fought weekend by fighting back from a 0-2 deficit to earn their first HEA league point of the season with a stalemate against the third-ranked Fighting Irish (8-3-1, 2-1-1) at Compton Family Ice Arena. Second-year forward Vinny Scotti scored the equalizer with an extra attacker on the ice in the final 70 seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Providence 3, Vermont 0
Sophomore Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) became the Friars' (9-1-1, 5-1-0 Hockey East) leader in career shutouts with eight, leading the way with 23 saves in a 3-0 victory over the host Catamounts (3-5-0, 2-4-0) at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Junior Ross Mauermann and sophomores Nick Saracino and Kevin Rooney (Canton, Mass.) scored goals for the Friars as they jumped to the top of the HEA standings with the win.
Quinnipiac 3, Dartmouth 1
The Bobcats are on a roll. No. 6 QU (11-1-1, 5-0-1 ECAC Hockey) extended its NCAA-best unbeaten streak to 11 games, sliding past the still-winless Big Green (0-8-0, 0-6-0) at High Point Solutions Arena. S enior Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.) netted the winner midway through regulation for the 'Cats, while freshman Alex Barron dished out an assist on each goal. Second-year Tim O'Brien broke up Michael Garteig's shutout bid late in the second period, but it was not enough for DC to get off the schneid.
Harvard 5, Princeton 3
A four-goal explosion in the third period, including one of stellar freshman Sean Malone's two on the night, axed the Crimson's (3-4-1, 2-4-1 ECAC) four-game losing streak at Hobey Baker Rink. Junior Steve Michalek made 32 saves on 35 shots in the outing for his first win of the season.
Yale 5, Sacred Heart 1
The Elis (5-1-2) stepped away from ECAC play and handed in-state rival Sacred Heart (2-8-0) a hard loss at Ingalls Rink. Senior Jesse Root found the back of the net twice in support of rookie Alex Lyon's 22-save effort for the home team. Junior Ben Lake scored SHU's lone goal less than two minutes into the first period, following up a game-opening goal by Root shorthanded.
Bentley 3, Holy Cross 2 (OT)
Sophomore Andrew Gladiuk scored the game-winning goal 2:21 into overtime to lift the Falcons (4-7-0, 3-2-0 Atlantic Hockey) to a back-to-back sweep in Atlantic Hockey action this weekend, defeating their I-90 rival Holy Cross Crusaders (2-8-0, 2-3-0) at Ryan Skating Arena. Senior New Yorker Branden Komm's 23-save effort was enough on the defensive end to lead BU to a perfect weekend in AHA play.