Henrion scores game-winner as UNH men’s hockey beats Northeastern, 4-3
DURHAM – One by one, the Boston-based Hockey East teams are finding out just how hard it is to keep the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team down.
The Wildcats won their fourth straight game to start the season, as John Henrion’s goal with 52.1 seconds left lifted No. 11 UNH to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over No. 15 Northeastern at the Whittemore Center last night.
The comeback came in the Wildcats’ first game since beating Boston University last Saturday, 4-1, after giving up a goal only 43 seconds into the game. Yesterday’s win was more impressive from a rally standpoint – the Wildcats (4-0, 2-0 Hockey East) gave up another first-minute goal and were down two goals by the first intermission – which only made Coach Dick Umile more proud of his group.
“If we’re going to be a hockey team, you’ve got to battle back in games you’re down 3-1,” he said. “The guys stayed with it, came back, got the game tied and it was a good third period, back and forth, both teams.”
Northeastern (2-2, 2-2) scored only 33 seconds in and was up 3-1 following the first – giving UNH its first deficit after a period this year - but the Wildcats responded with a dominant second period in which they netted two goals to tie the score.
That set the stage for the third period, which was quiet until the final minute. Casey Thrush and Jeff Silengo broke free on an odd-man rush and bore in toward Huskies goalie Bryan Mountain, who stopped the shots of the two Wildcat forwards. Henrion was trailing behind, however, and when the loose puck fell in front of him, the senior winger was able to get enough of it to find the net for the winner and send the fans into a frenzy.
“It was chaos in front of the net,” Henrion said. “Casey and Jeff did a great job just battling. I guess I was Johnny on the spot on that one, it came right to me. I said ‘Oh boy, I’ve got to put this one away.’ “
Umile said there was a degree of justice to seeing his senior have his moment.
“I was happy to see John Henrion score the winning goal,” he said. “I just told him he’s playing so well right now. … I’m glad he got rewarded because of the way he’s playing for us. He’s played as well as anybody for us.”
Northeastern came out on fire in the first period, as Braden Pimm scored on an odd-man rush in the opening minute and, after Trevor van Riemsdyk’s slap shot on a power play tied the score, the Huskies took a 3-1 lead on goals by Joseph Manno and Ben Oskroba.
UNH again turned to the power play to take back momentum in the second period. Kevin Goumas was stationed near the right faceoff circle, while Austin Block skated to the opposite side. Goumas’s pass across the ice was on target, and Block was able to roof the bad-angle shot over Huskies goalie Chris Rawlings’s shoulder only 2:51 in.
The Wildcats used a miscommunication by the Northeastern defense to tie the game 6:40 into the period. Greg Burke was near the net and he flipped the puck back to Goumas, a move apparently undetected by Rawlings and the Huskies defenseman. Goumas picked up on it and shot a backhander from the shallow angle, getting it to slip through Rawlings’s legs to knot the score at three.
Mountain came on in relief and stopped the next nine shots before the final goal. Casey DeSmith made 18 saves for UNH.
(Drew Bonifant can be reached at email@example.com or 369-3340.)