MANCHESTER, N.H. — Casey Thrush scored twice and New Hampshire rallied to beat Denver 5-2 on Friday night in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals.
The Wildcats (20-11-7) will play Hockey East rival UMass-Lowell on Saturday for a spot in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh. Top-seeded Lowell beat Wisconsin 6-1 in the first semifinal.
Trevor van Riemsdyk, Dalton Speelman John Henrion also scored for New Hampshire, which was outshot 19-14 in the first period then played stifling defense over the next 40 minutes.
Casey DeSmith finished with 31 saves for New Hampshire.
Daniel Doremus and Quentin Shore scored for the Pioneers (20-14-5), who had only 14 shots in the final two periods.
New Hampshire tied it at 2 on van Riemsdyk's power-play goal 5:26 into the second period, then took the lead on Speelman' goal with 22 seconds left in the period.
It was a chippy game full of shoving and a few punches after he whistle, then got ugly early when Denver's Nick Shore received a game misconduct and was ejected 50 seconds into the third for a hit to the head on Kevin Goumas, who took several minutes before wearily making his way across the ice to the bench.
The Pioneers held the Wildcats to two shots during the long penalty, but New Hampshire added to its lead a few minutes after the power play ended when Henrion scored with 11:11 left to play.
Denver had an opening to get back in it with a 34-second 5-on-3 advantage, but DeSmith got a piece of one shot with his glove then another with his stick and the Wildcats easily killed the remaining 1:26 of the second penalty.
Denver pulled goalie Juho Olkinuora with a few minutes still left and Thrush scored into the empty net with 2:20 left.