By Alejandro Zúñiga, Daily Sports Editor
Published October 18, 2013
DURHAM, N.H. — The ice is a little bigger at the Whittemore Center — an extra 15 feet wide to meet Olympic regulations. But on Friday night, freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort sized up just fine as the No. 5 Michigan hockey team held on to tie No. 13 New Hampshire after overtime, 1-1.
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Freshman forward Tyler Motte scored the lone goal for the Wolverines and Nagelvoort stopped a penalty shot late in the game to grab a point on the road.
Less than two minutes into the third period, with the teams tied at one apiece, sophomore netminder Steve Racine left after he was injured making a save. Nagelvoort was forced into an unexpected debut with the Wildcats’ student section roaring behind him, and he made 13 saves — including stonewalling sophomore Dan Correale’s penalty shot with his left leg pad in the last six minutes — to send the contest to a five-minute overtime.
In the extra frame, Nagelvoort remained equally unbeatable as the Wolverines earned the tie.
“I knew (Nagelvoort) would enjoy the moment, and he played his ass off,” said sophomore forward Andrew Copp. “Good for him. We’ll line him up tomorrow too, maybe.”
After the game, Michigan coach Red Berenson said he didn’t know the extent of Racine’s injury, or if he would play when the Wolverines and Wildcats meet again Saturday night.
During a first period littered with penalties, Michigan (2-0-1 overall) drew first blood. New Hampshire survived 90 seconds of a 5-on-3 after senior Dalton Speelman was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit to freshman defenseman Nolan de Jong’s head, but the Wolverines didn’t relent. Still on the man advantage, freshman forward JT Compher and Motte connected on a shot-and-redirect to give their team the lead at the first intermission.
“Motte was right off the post,” Compher said of his assist. “He was in a good position and I picked my head up and saw him.”
New Hampshire (1-1-1) equalized less than two minutes into the second frame. The Wildcats began the period with the man advantage and couldn’t score. But after a rebound that Michigan failed to clear — and before the Wolverines could get their fifth skater back on the ice — senior Nick Sorkin poked the puck in to pull the home side even.
"We were lucky to come out of the first period alive," Berenson said. “Racine played really well. That went unnoticed, but he kept us in the game.”
Michigan was on the penalty kill five times in the opening 20 minutes alone and was penalized 11 times in all as New Hampshire out-shot the Wolverines 35-18.
“It’s tough trying to get flow when it seems like every time you touch a guy with a stick, there’s a penalty,” said senior defender Mac Bennett.
Despite Racine’s best efforts — he stood on his head several times until the injury — he was slow to react as junior Trevor van Riemsdyk slapped a laser off the post during the Wildcats’ second power play of the game. The rebound was lifted across the crease as Racine scrambled to recover, but it somehow stayed out.
Late in the first period, Wildcat junior Grayson Downing was denied twice on one-on-one breaks at Michigan's net. The first time, Racine stuffed him as Downing broke away shorthanded. With less than two minutes remaining before the intermission, the junior lifted a shot that pinged off the pipe.
But it was Nagelvoort who made big saves down the stretch as the Wolverines earned the tie.
“We’ve got to give our goalies something more than one goal,” Berenson said. “We’re not going to win any games scoring one goal.”