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UNH Wildcats see home ice hopes fade with 4-2 loss to Merrimack

The University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team saw its chances for home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals receive a potentially crippling blow, as the Wildcats dropped their second-to-last game of the year to Merrimack, 4-2, last night.

The defeat puts UNH (18-16-1, 10-9-0) in sixth place in the conference, one point behind Maine and two behind Providence and Northeastern. The top five teams receive a bye out of the first round of the Hockey East tournament, a one-game playoff, while the top four teams host their quarterfinal series.

The Wildcats fell behind 2-0, then evened the score with third-period goals from Brett Pesce (on a 5-on-3 advantage) and Dalton Speelman. The momentum was short-lived, however, as Merrimack’s Quinn Gould scored 59 seconds later to give the Warriors the lead for good, and Connor Toomey iced it with an empty-net goal.

Casey DeSmith stopped 24 of 27 shots for UNH.

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