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New Hampshire Athletics | December 31, 2014

Kelleher paces UNH in rout of No. 12 UNO

  Sophomore Tyler Kelleher had a goal and four assists in New Hampshire's 6-2 win against No. 12 Omaha.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Sophomore forward Tyler Kelleher recorded four points on a goal and three assists as New Hampshire took down No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha 6-2 at CenturyLink Center Wednesday.

The Wildcats wrap up 2014 with an overall record of 6-11-1 while the Mavericks fall to 12-5-3.

Senior Matt Willows had two points on a goal and an assist as did classmate Grayson Downing. Senior Casey Thrush had a pair of assists. Junior Brett Pesce and Andrew Poturalski had one goal apiece.

Poturalski gave UNH a 1-0 lead just 3:56 into the first period as he lit the lamp for the fifth time this season. The play started when Matias Cleland passed the puck along the boards and behind the Omaha net to Willows. Willows passed the puck to Casey Thrush behind the net and then got it back. Willows then fired a pass to Poturalski in the slot to Poturalski who then fired a wrister that beat UNO goaltender Kirk Thompson on his glove side.

With 9:09 remaining in the first period, UNO's Dominic Zombo went to the penalty box for a hooking call to give the Wildcats the first power play of the game. During the advantage, Pesce ripped a wrist shot through traffic and into the goal to give UNH a 2-0 lead with 8:02 left in the period. Freshman defenseman John Furgele sent a shot in on net and Kelleher grabbed the rebound. He skated around the net and fed the puck to Pesce to setup the goal. 

On the defensive end, freshman netminder Daniel Tirone made eight saves on all eight shots faced in his collegiate debut.

Downing extended the lead for UNH to 3-0 at with 12:47 remaining in the second period as he netted his eighth goal of the season. Kelleher earned his second assist of the game on the play as he sent a pass across ice to Downing on the right side. Downing skated in and deked Thompson to find the back of the net.

The Wildcats struck again with 7:59 remaining in the second period on Kelleher's first goal and third point of the night. After a shot at the other end of the ice by UNO's Lane that bounced off the crossbar and post, UNH gained possession and moved the puck up the ice. Thrush sent a pass to Downing along the boards in the Omaha zone. Downing played a pass with laser precision to Kelleher streaking in who then found the back of the net with a one-time shot.

Tirone remained a wall in net for UNH as he saved all six Omaha shots in the second period, bringing his total to 14 saves.

The Mavericks broke onto the board with 12:37 left in the third period as David Pope found the back of the net. Joel Messner started the play as he made a pass to Avery Peterson in the slot. Peterson forced a pass to Pope who was able to jam the puck past Tirone and into the goal.

Omaha cut UNH's lead in half with 10:29 left in the second period on a goal by Luc Snuggerud. Austin Ortega found Jake Guentzel on the play who then passed it to Snuggerud just inside the blueline. Snuggerud fired a wrist shot on net that found the back of the net.

With 3:46 left in the third period, the Mavericks pulled Thompson in favor of an extra skater. Back in the UNH zone, Kelleher recorded his third assist of the night as he sent a pass to Cleland who fired a shot from deep in the UNH zone down the ice and into the net to make it 5-2.

At 19:01 of the third with Thompson back in net, Willows notched his ninth goal of the season on a breakaway play. Freshman Shane Eiserman backhanded a pass to Willows in the neutral zone and skated in with it. After some fancy stick work, Willows lit the lamp to give UNH a 6-2 lead and ultimately finalize the score.

Tirone made 24 saves with 10 in the third period to earn his first collegiate win. Thompson made 18 saves on 23 shots faced as he recorded the loss for UNO. The Wildcats took advantage of their only power play in the game while the Mavericks were 1-for-3.

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