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NCAA Hockey Tournament 2011: New Hampshire Wins, Merrimack Loses In First Round Games

Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 3 (OT)

Merrimack's program best season came to a rather flukey end Saturday night, as they lost in overtime to Notre Dame on a goal that took advantage of the Warriors being off-guard.

Merrimack took a two goal lead in the first period, with offense provided by who else but playoff prolific Ryan Flangian. Flangian had the first helper on defenseman Kyle Bigos power play goal at the 13:23 mark of the opening frame, and then added a shorthanded tally two and a half minutes later. Notre Dame's Calle Ridderwall got his team on the board with a power play goal 27 seconds later.

Rhett Bly entered the second period determined to make up for the tripping call that allowed for the first Notre Dame goal by scoring Merrimack's third goal two minutes into the period. Merrimack then got a bit too complacent game wise, letting Notre Dame notch it up in the third period. 

In overtime, Merrimack started very strong, putting six shots on Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson, but Fighting Irish left wing Anders Lee caught Merrimack attempting a clearing pass and snuck it past a startled Joe Cannata to win the game. It was Lee's second goal of the evening, giving him two goals and two assists. 

Notre Dame will face New Hampshire in the Manchester regional final Sunday night.

New Hampshire 3, Miami 1

Hockey East Player of the Year Paul Thompson was neutralized once again, but New Hampshire got a two goal game out of freshman left winger Kevin Goumas to lead them past number one seed Miami (OH.)

Both teams came onto the ice high-powered, scoring within the game's first two minutes. Bryon Paulazzo nestled himself in place by the UNH net and took advantage of a pass by Carter Camper to get Miami on the board just 57 seconds into the game. It would turn out to be Miami's only goal of the game. Goumas then equalized the score for New Hampshire with assistance from Matt Campanale exactly a minute later. 

The game remained scoreless until the third, with tallies by senior Mike Sislo and Goumas's second to keep the game away from Miami. New Hampshire kept Miami's nation leading scorers (Camper, Andy Miele, and Reilly Smith) from being a factor as time ticked away. Miami only put 22 shots on goal the entire game - low for a team that averaged 31.2 shots per game this season.

New Hampshire will face Notre Dame Sunday night for the right to advance to the Frozen Four.

Denver 3, Western Michigan 2 (2 OT)

Denver went to double overtime for the second straight game, but unlike last week's WCHA Championship game against North Dakota they came out with the win. Western Michigan, a surprising team this playoff season, kept Denver off the scoreboard until the third period. Both teams were scoreless until Western Michigan's Derek Roehl scored at the thirteen minute mark of the second period. In the third, Trevor Eilas added another for Western Michigan before Denver's Kyle Ostrow finally got his team on the board.

Jason Zucker had his second assist on the night helping Matt Donovan score the game tying goal with just 2:36 remaining in the game. The first overtime provided no winner, and so did the first half of the second overtime. Finally, Zucker took advantage of Western Michigan goalie Jerry Kuhn being out of place and shot in the game winner at the 11:14 mark .

Denver now faces a NCAA regional final against North Dakota on Sunday - the same team that took them to extra frames last Saturday.

North Dakota 6, RPI 0

North Dakota took great advantage of RPI's three week layoff and lackluster performance as of late to decimate RPI, 6-0. RPI played evenly with the Fighting Sioux early, but lost focus as the game went on and couldn't convert any of the eight power plays they had on the night. North Dakota's starting center Brad Malone scored two goals (the team's first two goals of the game), while his linemate Evan Trupp had three assists. The Fighting Sioux had five different goal scorers against RPI, including Hobey Baker candidate Matt Frattin, whose 36 goal of the season put him as the highest goal scorer in Division I's men's hockey since 2005-06.

North Dakota will face Denver, who they defeated last weekend in double overtime. 3-2.