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ORONO, Maine — With 60 teams playing Division I hockey in the United States, the University of Maine came into this one ranked sixth in penalty minutes, averaging 17.75 minutes per game. This game against bitter rival New Hampshire would see no improvement on that ranking.

With thirty-three minutes on eleven penalties, the University of Maine now holds an average of over 18.5 minutes in the penalty box per game. While New Hampshire managed to contain their penalties to just 14 minutes on seven trips to the box, this disparity ended up being the difference in the Wildcats 4-3 victory.

Of the four goals scored by the Wildcats, three were on the power play, as they capitalized on the mistakes made by Maine.

“We got the power play going in the first.”  New Hampshire coach Dick Umile said after the game. “It proved to be crucial, and Danny (Tirone) kept us in it.”

The Wildcats scored in the first on a pair of power-play goals to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, after Rob Michel of Maine started the scoring on a power-play goal of his own 13:22 into the game.

“Penalties are keeping us from taking the next step,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. ”Other than some ill-advised penalties, our team followed the game plan. The truth is, we took some penalties we shouldn’t have, and it cost us. Our team did a million good things. We defended well all game. We took some penalties, and they took advantage. We generated a ton of offense on 5 on 5, but they capitalized.”

Maine made an attempt to come back with a goal from Chase Pearson, but it proved to be too little too late, coming at the 19:35 mark of the third period, as he slapped the puck past UNH goalie Danny Tirone and breaking his stick on the ice in the process.

The Wildcats were led by super-senior Tyler Kelleher, who added to his climb up the 100-point list, with a pair of goals (his 11th and 12th of the season) and an assist. He now sits at 134, and moves into sole possession of 41st on the Wildcats all-time points list.  Kelleher has also fared well against Maine, with 19 career points against the Black Bears.

“We’re always trying to stay disciplined, but especially in this environment,” Kelleher said. “Tirone kept us in the game. We are always excited to play here, it’s a great atmosphere.”

The Wildcats (8-6-2) leave Maine with the series sweep and will travel to Dartmouth next Saturday for a non-conference showdown with the Big Green.

The Black Bears (5-9-3) will try to snap out of the loss column with a set of games against the Yellow Jackets of American International College at the Alfond, starting on Friday night.

Hockey East results

Providence 2, No. 6 Boston University 2 (OT)

With two goals in the first, Providence College led going into the third with a pair of assists from Josh Monk, and a goal and assist from Jake Walman. The third saw BU’s Patrick Curry add two assists of his own on Brandon Hickey and Nikolas Olsson goals, with the game ending in a 2-2 tie.

No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell 2, Connecticut 2 (OT)

With two goals apiece in the second period, the Huskies of UConn and the Riverhawks of UMass-Lowell played to a 2-2 tie. Joe Gambardella grabbed two assists in the period for UML, while Karl El-Mir scored what proved to be the final goal of the night for the Huskies.

No. 12  Notre Dame 3, Massachusetts 0

Notre Dame rode into William D. Mullins Center in Amherst and came away with a 3-0 victory against the UMass Minutemen. Jake Evans put up two goals and an assist to lead the Fighting Irish, scoring a point in each period. Minutemen goalie Ryan Wischow grabbed 33 saves in the losing effort.

No. 9 North Dakota 4, No. 3 Boston College 3

The 9th ranked North Dakota Fighting Hawks left Madison Square Garden in NYC with a hard fought win over the Boston College Eagles. Tyson Jost led the Fighting Hawks with a pair of second period goals. BC’s Matthew Gaudreau scored with 9 seconds remaining in game, but it was too little, too late.