Goumas Hat Trick Advances UNH; Lowell Will Defend Title
by Joshua Seguin/Staff Writer
Highlights of New Hampshire's Game 3 win
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Lowell defeated Vermont, 2-1, to win Game 3
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DURHAM, N.H. Entering the night, New Hampshire had not advanced to the Hockey East semifinals since 2011, when the current seniors were freshmen. Kevin Goumas, though, had different plans for this year. It shouldn't have been a surprise given his play since January 31st.
"Thinking back, I was sitting there and it felt like I was a freshman," Goumas said when asked what he was thinking after the second period. "That was four years ago and the seniors then said it went it goes by so quick. I didn't believe it but now I believe it. It really did go by fast, sitting there with one period to go that was what I was thinking and how I could help this team get to Boston.
"When I was a freshman, it was probably one of the best experiences ever. I tell the younger guys you have to make the best of each chance you get. It was nice as a freshman but will be even nicer as a senior."
Goumas entered Sunday night against Northeastern with 18 points in his last 10 games. He left with 22 in his last 11, thanks to his three goals and an assist in Game 3 of the Hockey East quarterfinal.
It added up to a 5-4 win over the Huskies in the decisive game, and a meeting with Providence in the semifinals next weekend.
"I can't really put tonight in perspective," Goumas said. "I just tried to go out there and do the best I can. It was my last home game here as a senior. I tried to do whatever it takes to help this team get to the Garden, that's all I can say about it."
His performance in a deciding game of a playoff series will go down as one of the better playoff performances for UNH. He knows that making it to the Garden means a lot to its coach, who hails from the Boston area.
"We are absolutely thrilled to being to Boston," coach Dick Umile, a native of Melrose, Mass., said. "Being a kid from Boston, I love taking UNH to Boston and playing at the Garden.
"Kevin Goumas was like possessed tonight, the way he played. He played great. He played hard defensively, he was all over the puck and he was tenacious forechecker."
Matt Willows and Nick Sorkin, join Goumas on a line. They were put together late in the first half. They have done nothing but score since. In 18 games together, the three have combined for 29 goals, 41 assists and 70 points.
"We are all roommates and I think it starts in the house. The three of us are best friends," Goumas said. "Matt Willows is a small kid but he is probably one the tougher kids on the team. Nick is a big guy who likes getting to the front of the net. I more of a playmaker and I try to do my part. Tonight I guess they fed me the puck."
Umile said, "The Goumas line is very important. How much do you see them on the Ice? They are very important. We put them out in key situations if we have an offensive faceoff. Every time they are on the ice they are a threat."
New Hampshire as a whole was pretty inconsistent in the second half and its trip to the Hockey East semifinals hasn't come without bumps in the road. Its best defensemen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, went down with an ankle injury against Union in January. Grayson Downing, its second-line center, also missed most of the second half with multiple shoulder injuries.
For UNH, its one constant in the second half has been the line of Goumas, Sorkin and Willows.
Massachusetts-Lowell jumped out to a 2-0 lead, then held off Vermont for a 2-1 win and a trip to Boston, where it will try to defend its Hockey East tournament championship.
“It was a close game, special teams was a big part of it. I want to compliment Vermont on a terrific regular-season and playoff," Lowell coach Norm Bazin said. "I thought they were a great opponent and they gave us everything we could handle.
"We are very thankful to come out on top and I thought this was our best game of the three in many different respects. We won the special teams battle, they did get a power-play goal, but we got a shorty and a power-play goal. I thought our penalty kill was good tonight, we had a lot of urgency on the penalty kill and some good shot blocks.”
Vermont still has a better-than-even chance of making the NCAAs.
"I'm very proud of our hockey team. They've had a great season," UVM coach Kevin Sneddon said. "I know there's probably still an outside shot we can still be playing so we'll keep our fingers crossed. Especially for the seniors, I really hope they have an opportunity to play another hockey game or more."