DURHAM, N.H.-- Up until the end of last semester, UNH had it going pretty well. They were winning, they were clicking, and perhaps most importantly, they were scoring–out of their minds.
Coming off one of the best momentum-driven games against Maine back in December, Sunday night’s matchup against St. Lawrence couldn’t have looked more different. The passes weren’t connecting, the flow was often interrupted, and the power play went 0-6 with only six total shots on net during that time.
The Wildcats came into Sunday night’s game ranked second in Hockey East for scoring, averaging 3.41 goals per game, but couldn’t find a way past St. Lawrence’s goaltender, Matt Weninger until late in the third period.
“We didn’t finish,” UNH head coach Dick Umile said. “We missed scoring opportunities, we missed opportunities on two-on-ones. We played like we had been on break for a couple of weeks, so I’m just disappointed with our game tonight. We battled back in the third and just threw it away at the end. It was awful.”
As Umile mentioned, UNH didn’t lose without having scoring chances. There were a number of opportunities where the Wildcats found themselves just inches from scoring, or just a second away from connecting with a one-timer. UNH forward John Henrion said sometimes bounces dictate the scores instead of execution.
“Go back to the drawing board, everything was executed correctly,” Henrion said. “It’s just sometimes you catch bad bounces, and sometimes the goalies catch good breaks, so it’s nothing we’re worrying about.”
But to say Weninger had a couple good breaks, doesn’t do justice to the way he played. He stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced and a number of them, shorthanded. SLU head coach Joe Marsh was sure to mention that Weninger was a huge reason his team was able to overcome the six penalties they were called for during the game — including a 5-on-3 advantage.
“This is without a doubt the best game we’ve played this year and the best team we’ve played,” Marsh said. “The first star for me would be our goaltender no doubt about that. He made some outstanding saves. He gave the guys a lot of confidence to just keep playing.
Tonight I was pleased with the mindset of the team. They didn’t seem to get rattled a lot and just kept playing.”
On the other side of the ice, UNH goalie Matt DiGirolamo had his own game to worry about. He faced 30 shots, and, while only giving up two goals, found himself on the losing side for only the third time this season.
UNH now sits at 10-3-4 overall, and will continue this weekend with a pair of league games against UMass-Lowell and UMass.
“Everyone’s pretty disappointed,” UNH captain Mike Sislo said. “And everyone knows we weren’t ready to play. We have to be ready to play on Friday against Lowell.”