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Black Bear Men’s Hockey Swept by UNH

On Friday night, the University of Maine Black Bears Hockey team faced a tough battle against their conference and border rivals, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, in a ranked contest, ultimately falling 6-2. Fourth-year forward Liam Devlin scored a hat trick, and third-year goalie Jakob Hellsten made 18 saves, leading UNH to victory. 

UMaine’s overall record now stands at 18-7-2, with a 10-6-1 standing in Hockey East. Despite this respectable standing, they have struggled recently, losing three of their last five games after an impressive 10-1-1 run in their previous 12 contests

UNH now has a 15-11-1 overall record and an 8-8-1 standing in Hockey East. They moved to 10-3-1 at home. The Wildcats had been floundering, losing three of their last four games and five of their last seven before this win. 

Fourth-year forward Harrison Blaisdell put New Hampshire on the board first with just over five minutes remaining in the period. Maine tied the game two minutes into the second period with a goal by third-year forward Cole Hanson off a great pass from fifth-year forward Ben Poisson.

The Wildcats responded quickly with back-to-back goals. Devlin found himself in a one-on-one situation with the Maine goalie and slotted it to retake the lead. Shortly after, first-year forward Ryan Conmy scored to further extend UNH’s lead to 3-1.

UMaine had a chance to get back in the game with a five-minute power play but couldn’t capitalize on it. Midway through the third period, first-year wing Anthony Calafiore scored his second goal of his young career to narrow the New Hampshire lead to one.

Unfortunately for the Black Bears, Devlin continued to shine. The second-year forward scored his second goal of the game with just over three minutes remaining, securing a comfortable lead for UNH. Devlin then completed his hat trick by scoring an empty-net goal, sealing the deal for the Wildcats. 

Second-year forward Stiven Sardarian added the final goal of the game with just seconds remaining, solidifying UNH’s victory and leaving UMaine with a disappointing loss.

The following night presented similar problems for the Black Bears. After a goal in the early minutes of the first period by fourth-year forward Donovan Villenuve-Houle, the Black Bears took control. After an overall strong first period, the mistakes for Maine started to add up.

Villenuve-Houle began the second period by committing a contact to the head penalty that sent the Wildcats on a five-minute power play and Villenuve-Houle packing for the evening. Blaisdell knotted up the game at one when he got the Wildcats on the board as the major penalty was expiring. New Hampshire would add to their lead at the end of the second period when second-year forward Morgan Winters gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately, the third period was the same story. Another major penalty was committed by the Black Bears to start the third period and tilted the ice towards the Wildcats. They would capitalize immediately and jump out to a two-goal lead when third-year defenseman Colton Huard buried the power play goal. 

Third-year forward Harrison Scott brought the Black Bears within one after a mad scrum in front of the net. Scott gave the momentum back to the Black Bears before it was instantly taken away just 23 seconds later by second-year forward Cy Leclerc to push the Wildcats lead back to two. The two teams would trade physical play and scoring chances before Devlin left no doubt, scoring New Hampshire’s fifth goal of the night and solidifying their sweep of the weekend, 5-2. 

Maine will turn to their home crowd to rebound next week against the red-hot Northeastern Huskies with six crucial Hockey East points up for grabs.

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