DURHAM – Angus Crookshank had two goals in his first 15 games with the University of New Hampshire hockey team. The freshman forward scored two in a little more than four minutes Saturday night.
They were part of a three-goal outburst early in the first period as the Wildcats skated to a 4-0 win over Dartmouth at the Whittemore Center to complete a two-game sweep of their intra-state rival.
“I live for scoring goals,” Crookshank said. “I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world. Even in practice I try score as much as I can even if it’s a warm-up drill for the goalies.”
UNH improved to 4-7-5 overall and 3-1-2 in its last six games heading into the Christmas break. The Wildcats don’t play again until Dec. 30 when they host Bentley.
Dartmouth fell to 4-5-1. UNH led 3-0 after the first period and 4-0 at the end of two. The Wildcats scored twice in the first period Friday night.
“We got off to a great start both nights,” said UNH coach Mike Souza. “It’s nice to not have to chase a game. We’ve had to chase a lot of games this year.”
Crookshank had three points in the first and linemate Liam Blackburn added three assists to extend his point streak to six games. Blackburn scored the Wildcats’ fourth goal 57 seconds into the second period.
“I think with this weekend being our last weekend before the break we wanted to start out strong and finish strong as well,” Blackburn said.
Bedford’s Mike Robinson finished with 30 saves for his first career shutout. Max Gildon had a goal and an assist, and Justin Fregona had two assists.
Crookshank scored the first two goals of the game to make it 2-0 in the first 4:06 and set up Gildon, who was streaking down the middle, with a nifty centering pass from the right wing for the strike 1:20 later.
“We were just playing on our toes,” Crookshank said. “We were really good down low. We were possessing pucks … and not just throwing them away and I thought collectively we did a good job with that.”
The third goal prompted a Dartmouth timeout and a switch in goaltenders as junior Adrian Clark replaced freshman Justin Ferguson of Hudson, who was making his second college start.
Robinson stopped all 12 shots in the first period, including a sprawling paddle save on Dartmouth’s Jeff Losurdo with 5:12 left in the first.
Crookshank converted a feed by Fregona from behind the cage to put the Wildcats ahead to stay at the 1:43 mark and struck again at 4:08, both goals coming with the teams skating four aside.
“Angus is a kid who loves to score goals,” Souza said. “He loves to score goals in practice. He’s got a high motor. … As his game away from the puck continues to get better he’s rewarded with more opportunities.”
UNH made it 4-0 in the first minute of the second period when Blackburn tipped in Will MacKinnon’s drive from the left point. Although he didn’t get an assist, Crookshank started the play when he kicked the puck to Fregona in the slot. Fregona passed it to MacKinnon, who ended up with his third assist of the season.
“(UNH) played well,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet. “Give them credit. Their kids played with a lot of jump the past couple of nights.”
UNH scored three goals on 16 shots Friday night and four on its first 11 shots Saturday night.
The Wildcats played the game without junior defenseman Anthony Wyse, who suffered an upper body injury in Friday’3-2 victory at Dartmouth. They had three freshmen and converted forward Kohei Sato on defense for Saturday night’s contest.
“One of the things we really talked about was possessing the puck down low and try to take more pucks to the net from below the goal line,” Souza said, “and I thought the guys got rewarded for doing that tonight.”