DURHAM, N.H. - New Hampshire senior Matt Willows scored a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the Wildcats to a 5-1 win over the UConn Huskies at the Whittemore Center to earn the Hockey East series sweep. The Huskies dropped their fourth-straight game and were swept for the second-consecutive weekend as they fall to 9-17-7 overall and 6-11-4 in Hockey East.
UConn senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) scored the Huskies lone goal Saturday night while sophomore Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 39 saves in net. The Huskies were outshot 44-25 in the loss with both teams finishing 0-for-2 on the power play.
The loss drops the Huskies to 10th place in the Hockey East standings with one game left in the regular season. UConn sits at 16 points, trailing UNH who has 17 points in ninth and Maine in eighth place with 18 points.
UNH put plenty of offensive pressure on the Huskies early and it paid off at 6:18 with the first goal of the night. John Furgele got a shot on net that Nichols stopped but the Huskies failed to clear and the puck went into the right corner. Warren Foegele collected and fed a pass into the slot where Jay Camper buried a one-timer for his second on the season and a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats made it 2-0 at 9:12 in the second period as Tyler Kelleher snuck one in front before a scrum piled on Nichols, his 14th of the season. The Huskies got on the scoreboard late in the period as Gerling picked-up his 10th goal of the season. Gerling just missed on burying a one-timer at the right post but stayed in the play and found a loose puck rebound off a Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) shot in front and put it home to cut the score to 2-1 at 17:13.
The momentum shift was short lived as the Wildcats took just 42 seconds to answer the Gerling goal. Willows carried into the UConn zone and fed Matias Cleland in the left circle who lofted a wrist shot into the top-right corner for a 3-1 lead heading into the locker room at the second intermission.
New Hampshire put the game away in the third period as Willows scored back-to-back goals at 4:58 and 8:10. Willows first goal came from the right circle, throwing the puck toward the left post and through some traffic to beat Nichols. His second came from close to the same spot as he took a feed from behind the net from Grayson Downing and blasted a slap shot past Nichols for a 5-1 UNH lead.
UConn will close out the regular season next Friday night, February 27th when they play host to UMass on "Senior Night" at the XL Center in Hartford. Opening face-off is slated for 7:05 pm.
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