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UNH answers the call, beats Dartmouth, 4-2

  • UNH's Kevin Goumas celebrates after scoring UNH's fourth goal in the last minutes of the third period during River Stone Cup XIII against Dartmouth at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    UNH's Kevin Goumas celebrates after scoring UNH's fourth goal in the last minutes of the third period during River Stone Cup XIII against Dartmouth at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • UNH's Dylan Maller and Dartmouth's Grant Opperman collide as they both go for the puck during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    UNH's Dylan Maller and Dartmouth's Grant Opperman collide as they both go for the puck during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • UNH goalie Casey DeSmith watches puck fly into the next scored by Dartmouth's Brad Schierhorn during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    UNH goalie Casey DeSmith watches puck fly into the next scored by Dartmouth's Brad Schierhorn during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Dartmouth's Eric Neiley skates after the puck during River Stone Cup XIII against UNH at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Dartmouth's Eric Neiley skates after the puck during River Stone Cup XIII against UNH at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • UNH's Collin Bourque and Dartmouth's Charlie Mosey collide as they go for the puck during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    UNH's Collin Bourque and Dartmouth's Charlie Mosey collide as they go for the puck during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Dartmouth's Josh Hartley slides while attempting to control the puck as UNH's Grayson Downing nears him during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Dartmouth's Josh Hartley slides while attempting to control the puck as UNH's Grayson Downing nears him during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant stops the puck during an attempt on goal by UNH during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant stops the puck during an attempt on goal by UNH during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014. UNH won 4-2.

    (ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • UNH's Kevin Goumas celebrates after scoring UNH's fourth goal in the last minutes of the third period during River Stone Cup XIII against Dartmouth at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • UNH's Dylan Maller and Dartmouth's Grant Opperman collide as they both go for the puck during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • UNH goalie Casey DeSmith watches puck fly into the next scored by Dartmouth's Brad Schierhorn during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Dartmouth's Eric Neiley skates after the puck during River Stone Cup XIII against UNH at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • UNH's Collin Bourque and Dartmouth's Charlie Mosey collide as they go for the puck during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Dartmouth's Josh Hartley slides while attempting to control the puck as UNH's Grayson Downing nears him during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant stops the puck during an attempt on goal by UNH during River Stone Cup XIII at Verizon arena in Manchester on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  UNH won 4-2.<br/> <br/>(ARIANA VAN DEN AKKER / Monitor staff)

MANCHESTER – Dick Umile trumped the message throughout the week to players, media and anyone else who would listen. And with 3:20 to play in the RiverStone Cup matchup between Dartmouth and New Hampshire, the Wildcats coach’s words were proven true when the Big Green’s Charlie Mosey stood celebrating the goal that had tied the game at two goals apiece.

“I said in the press conference Wednesday, you can forget about records because it’s always a good hockey game, and some crazy things happen here,” Umile said. “When they tied it up at the end, I said ‘here we go.’ ”

While the hard-fought nature of the game to that point mirrored the previous encounters between the teams, the Wildcats’ play from then on matched how they had gone about winning their previous three games. Dalton Speelman scored the game-winning goal just over a minute after UNH surrendered the lead, and Kevin Goumas had a key insurance tally as the Wildcats earned a 4-2 victory over the Big Green at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

“They stayed focused, positive, and then obviously a big-time play there at the end for the winning goal,” Umile said. “The Dartmouth game is always up for grabs. The games, when we play them, they’re a battle. … It’s always a hard-fought game.”

The Wildcats (13-10-1) nursed a 2-1 lead throughout the second period and most of the third, but appeared to see missed chances on great scoring looks catch up to them late in the third when Jesse Beamish’s shot ricocheted off of goalie Casey DeSmith’s pads and right to an open Mosey, who quickly wristed a shot by DeSmith (32 saves) to draw the Big Green even.

It had the makings of a tough blow, but overcoming setbacks has been second nature recently for the Wildcats, who trailed in each of the previous three games.

“I think we felt all right,” Goumas said. “Most of the guys were feeling pretty confident, picking each other up, keeping our heads up.”

UNH didn’t need long to answer. Grayson Downing corralled a puck deep in the Dartmouth end and passed it along the boards to the right point to defenseman Justin Agosta, who immediately sent it back toward the net. The shot was offline, but Speelman, standing in the back of the right faceoff circle, was in position to deflect it back toward the net and by goalie Charles Grant to put the Wildcats back on top with 2:15 to play.

“I just saw the shot coming, tried to deflect it, luckily it hit my stick and I actually saw it fluttering into the net,” Speelman said. “Pretty cool.”

Following the goal, UNH didn’t even allow Dartmouth to turn to desperate measures. Dartmouth started to bring the puck up, but Nick Sorkin stole it near the blue line, forcing the Big Green to keep Grant in net. He stopped Sorkin’s breakaway attempt, but couldn’t come up with another save as Matt Willows took control of the rebound near the boards and sent it by the crease to a charging Goumas, who one-timed it in for his second goal of the game with 33.3 seconds to play.

“You don’t want to give the other team a man advantage, because you never know what happens,” Goumas said. “We established a good forecheck there … good overall play from everyone out there.”

The quick-strike ability also helped the Wildcats in the first period after an ominous start to the game. The Big Green’s first shot on goal went into it, as Brad Schierhorn scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 1:07 into the game, but UNH drew even 1:25 later when defenseman Dylan Maller’s shot rebounded to Goumas, who was able to squeeze his follow-up shot through a tight window.

After going on the power play 9:51 into the game, UNH went up 2-1 just 10 seconds into the man advantage. Eric Knodel fired a shot from the left point that Willows, standing on the doorstep, was able to redirect past Grant for the lead, and the Wildcats’ seventh power-play goal in four games.

“Overall this season, we’ve been struggling scoring,” Umile said. “So it’s nice to see that happening in the second half here. And it’s going to be important for us if we’re going to go anywhere.”

The Wildcats had several chances to break open the game open in the second period, but were consistently denied by a sharp Grant, who finished with 28 saves. Speelman and Downing both had looks on a 2-on-1 5:30 in, Sorkin was stopped on a wide-open shot from the slot nine minutes in and Goumas missed on a rebound try 13:30 into the frame.

It was tough luck, but the Wildcats knew their break was coming – even after it appeared Dartmouth had fortune on its side late in the game.

“We’re feeling good about it. They’re getting good looks. … They made some good plays, and I thought their goalie made some key, we call those ‘win saves,’ ” Umile said. “But the bottom line is we got the winner when we needed it.”

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or abonifant@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @dbonifant.)

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