DURHAM, N.H.– It’s tough to shut down the best of the best in any given situation, team or contest, but when it happens, the character of that team can be tested, but truly shine at the same time. The Northeastern Huskies managed to stunt the red hot first line of the Wildcats, not allowing them a single point in Friday night’s matchup.
In fact, Sebastian LaPlante’s team didn’t allow them to do much at all during the course of the game.
But, fortunately for UNH, the last couple of games, it seems like every one of its lines has found a way to contribute, making the depth of the bench even more frustrating for opposing coaches to deal with.
Friday night, it came in the form of the second line, as freshman Kevin Goumas found the back of the net for his second goal in three games. Goumas was named Hockey East rookie of the week last week, and continued to shine with linemates Stevie Moses and Mike Borisenok.
“It’s important that we are playing good,” Goumas said. “But it’s also important for the other lines to keep playing. First line has done most of the scoring the whole year, but it’s nice to help contribute to the scoring for once. We just have to keep going. I think the best thing for us is we are moving our feet, spending more time in the offensive zone instead of the defensive zone.”
That second line contributed not only an important game-tying goal, but also eight of 35 shots on the night–five from Goumas himself. Those five shots tied John Henrion for the team’s high shot count for the night.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats first line of Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone finished the night with a minus-1 and had ten shots on net between the three of them. And if things weren’t wacky enough, combine that with defenseman Connor Hardowa scoring UNH’s first goal, and playing up as a forward.
“Honestly, [last year in the NCAA tournament] was the first time I’ve played up there,” Hardowa said. “I played maybe when i was six years old, I played center, but that was the last time.”
But that didn’t stop UNH head coach Dick Umile from putting him out there for a shift, and he was pleased with the results.
“He played well,” Umile said. “That shift that they went out there, I thought it helped us get going to be honest with you. I think everyone else followed suit after that.”
UNH only gained one point on the night, while BC took a 4-3 win against UMass, closing the gap slightly in the rankings. The Eagles now sit just one point below the Wildcats with three games left to go in the regular season–including a home-and-home between the two teams next weekend.
“Obviously you want to get the two points tomorrow,” Hardowa said. “It’s huge. It’s big for standings, big for the league, big for everything for us really going into the last few games here. I don’t think there’s more pressure, but there’s more urgency and more desperation out there.”