DURHAM, N.H. – One goal thwarted whatever momentum the University of Maine men’s hockey team created. Specifically, Paul Thompson’s second goal of the game that gave New Hampshire some much-needed separation in a 6-3 Hockey East victory Friday night.

The Black Bears, ranked 15th in both national polls, matched the No. 6/8 Wildcats for each of their first two goals, then cut UNH’s lead to 4-3 late in the second period.

Thompson’s second goal on a four-on-three power play at 7:06 of the third period turned the game in favor of the Wildcats and ultimately overshadowed Gustav Nyquist’s hat trick.

“We won the second period and we played great team defense,” said Nyquist, whose third goal cut UNH’s lead to 4-3 with 1:51 left in the second.

“We felt good about the third period and they get a four-on-three situation and that gave them momentum, obviously. We took the crowd out of the game for them in the second, but that was a big goal for them.”

Thompson said his second goal, a shot that slid between the near post and the left skate of goalie Martin Ouellette (19 saves), lifted UNH’s confidence.

“It was huge for us,” Thompson said. “We were kind of playing a little back, especially in the second period.

“Once we got out in the third and got that two-goal lead (5-3), it was huge for us. We got our confidence back because they were kind of taking it to us.”

Maine (11-8-6, 8-6-4 Hockey East) and New Hampshire (16-5-4, 14-2-2) combined for four goals in the first 10 minutes: Thompson at 4:31, Nyquist’s first power-play goal at 6:39, Austin Block at 8:04 and Nyquist’s second power-play goal at 8:38. But Dalton Speelman’s power-play goal at 11:39 and Kevin Goumas’ score with 3:56 left in the first gave the Wildcats a 4-2 lead.

“We were kind of trading chance for chance there,” Nyquist said. “I don’t think we protected (Ouellette) enough. The goals that were scored on him, those would have been crazy saves if he’d stopped them, any of them.

“We’ve got to do a better job of protecting him, and obviously we left him out to dry a little bit. And that’s not how we want to come out and play.”

With 5:01 left in the second, UNH goalie Matt DiGirolamo (37 saves) fell backwards to stop a loose puck that skidded toward the goal line, and he covered the puck before Brian Flynn could put a stick on it as he dived toward the crease.

“(DiGirolamo) made a couple great saves at the end of the second period when they really outplayed us,” UNH Coach Dick Umile said.

After Thompson converted the four-on-three chance, Mike Beck added an insurance goal.

“We did what we had to do in the third period,” Umile said.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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