By: Eli Canfield, Staff Writer
The Huskies found their game after a slow start, but costly penalties late hurt them, as they dropped a preseason game to the University of New England 3-1 Tuesday night at the USM Ice Arena in Gorham.
The first period had some sloppy play for both sides, with the Huskies recording two penalties in the first nine minutes of the contest. The Nor’easters held the puck in the Huskies zone for much of the period, outshooting USM 5-1 in the first few minutes of the game and 10-6 in the period.
Starting goalie Anthony D’Aloisio (Junior, General Management) made some great saves and kept the Huskies in it during the first.
The best scoring opportunity for either team, however, came on a breakaway opportunity for
Adam Withers (Sophomore, Accounting), but he was denied by UNE goalie Tate Sproxton, who had six saves in the first period. The period was fast moving with few stoppages of play. After the first period the score was knotted at zero, and both teams made noticeable adjustments and line changes.
The Huskies came out to the ice in the second period with more speed and better passing, but multiple offside violations killed multiple scoring opportunities. Another great scoring opportunity came on a great play by the Huskies four minutes into the period, resulting in a wrist shot by Brock Padgham (Senior, General Management) that rung the post and caused the goal to fall off its hinges.
Halfway through the game, the Huskies were being outshot 17-8. After multiple great saves by D’Aloisio, robbing UNE defensemen Collin Heinold twice with great glove saves, UNE found the back of the net when Chad Merrill slapped a pass across the crease and Jared Christy wristed it top shelf.
The Huskies responded just a few minutes later when Nick Ritmo (Freshman, History) stole the puck from a UNE defender and rifled a wrist shot past the outstretched stick of Sproxton. With two minutes remaining in the second and the score still knotted at one, UNE defended Alex Vokota was assessed a five-minute major penalty, but the Huskies couldn’t take advantage, and at the end of the second the game was tied at one, with UNE outshooting the Huskies 24-13.
The Huskies started the first 2 minutes and 59 seconds of the third period on the power play from the major penalty at the end of the second, but still couldn’t find the back of the net. UNE dominated the third period, taking advantage of Huskie mistakes.
Peter Ciccareli (Sophomore, Undeclared) came on in relief for D’Aloisio and started the third period in goal. Despite Ciccareli’s multiple saves to start the third, UNE captain Ryan Bloom wristed a pretty pass from freshman Jake Fuss about eight and a half minutes into the period for UNE to take the lead.
A few minutes later the Huskies recorded multiple penalties that were costly. Padgham was charged with a minor penalty with 11 minutes remaining in the game, then minutes later Derek Tillotson (Sophomore, Engineering) was given a five-minute major for boarding, giving the Nor’easters a 5-on-3 power play. They took advantage, as Bloom struck again for his second goal of the night, over the shoulder of Ciccarelli. After this goal, things got pretty chippy with the referees having to get in the middle of minor scrums after several plays. The Huskies had chances at the end of the game, but UNE’s backup goalie Bryan McGrath lived up to the challenge, stopping all five shots on goal that he faced.
The Huskies played well in multiple instances of the game, but will have to clean up their penalties. Assistant captain Cody Braga (Senior, Recreation and Leisure Studies) had multiple shots on goal and was robbed multiple times. After he led the team in scoring last year, it was good to see him getting the puck on net. D’Aloisio looked very good in net, allowing just the one goal on 24 shots faced over two periods. Besides the penalties and the rusty start, the Huskies looked good and sharp for the upcoming season.
The Huskies open the regular season next Friday, when they travel to Vermont to take on the Castleton Spartans on the road.