Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UPDATE: Young UNH Defensemen Face Challenges Without Brett Pesce

UNH Defensive Stalwart
Brett Pesce Out of Lineup

UPDATE - November 26, 2014

Prior to last night's game between UNH and RPI, play-by-play announcer Dan Parkhurst reported more information on Brett Pesce's sprained knee:
"More on Pesce injury for UNH: Occurred after clean hip check in last game. Injury was caused by awkward landing after check. So probably 3-4 weeks out for Pesce, but with Holiday break, he will get extra time to heal before game action."
According to Justin Loring, sports editor of The New Hampshire, Head Coach Dick Umile said "Thank god it wasn't a tear."

A recovery time of 3-4 weeks would allow Pesce to return to competition when UNH travels to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for two games on December 30th and 31st. Three of the games Pesce will miss - RPI, Maine at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester (Dec 13) and at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland (Dec 14) - are nonconference games which do not count in the Hockey East standings. He will also miss the home-and-home series against Boston College the first weekend in December.

Last night, UNH dropped a 2-1 decision to RPI at the Whittemore Center. Freshman defenseman Rich Boyd was in the lineup in place of Brett Pesce. Boyd was paired with senior Ryan Randall on the third defensive pairing and finished the game with a +/- rating of 0. As a team, UNH allowed 31 shots on goal. As a group, the UNH defensemen generated 5 shots on goal with freshman John Furgele accounting for 3 of them. Furgele also assisted on UNH's lone goal.

ORIGINAL POST - November 24, 2014

Last season, UNH was fortunate to have one of the best core of offensive defensemen in Division I hockey. Eric Knodel (7G, 22A), Justin Agosta (6G, 20A), Trevor van Riemsdyk (4 goals, 19 assists), and Brett Pesce (7G, 14A) were UNH's 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th leading scorers, respectively. All four were also known for their 1-on-1 defensive skills. TvR and Knodel have moved on to professional hockey and Agosta elected to use his 5th year of NCAA eligibility playing closer to home at Quinnipiac University.

The departure of Knodel, van Riemsdyk, and Agosta plus the enrollment of four freshmen has resulted in one of the most youthful group of UNH defensemen in recent memory. As this table shows, the 9 defensemen are young in age and/or inexperienced at the NCAA level. Cameron Marks, Rich Boyd and Dylan Chanter are 19 years old and junior Brett Pesce just turned 20 a couple weeks ago. Five of the 9 have played in fewer than a dozen NCAA games.

UNH Defensemen 2014-15

Player DOB Age Class Career Games '14-'15 Games +/- Goals
Brett Pesce 11/15/94 20 yr/0 mn JR 90 11 +4 1
Matias Cleland 1/28/94 20 yr/10 mn SO 51 10 +0 0
Dylan Maller 4/15/94 20 yr/7 mn SO 31 11 +2 0
Cameron Marks 4/9/95 19 yr/7 mn FR 11 11 -2 0
John Furgele 1/15/93 21 yr/10 mn FR 7 7 +0 1
Ryan Randall 2/20/92 22 yr/9 mn SR 5 4 +3 0
Rich Boyd 6/7/95 19 yr/5 mn FR 8 8 +0 0
Dylan Chanter 9/19/95 19 yr/2 mn FR 1 1 +0 0
Harry Quast 3/26/91 23 yr/8 mn JR 41 3 -5 0


Brett Pesce, a third-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, is by far the most experienced defenseman on the 2014-15 UNH roster. Since the first game of his freshman season, Pesce has played in every game (91 games) but one. Over the first 11 games of this season, Pesce leads all UNH defensemen in goals (1), points (3), and +/- rating (+3).

Unfortunately, UNH will need to find a way to compensate for Pesce's absence after the injury he suffered Saturday night against Providence. With just under 8 minutes left in the second period, Pesce rushed the puck through center ice and into the Providence zone. As he streaked across the mid-slot, Providence defenseman Jake Walman bent low to the ice and lifted his hip up into Pesce's left thigh, just above the knee. Pesce barrel rolled to the ice but got back up and managed to hobble back to the blue line. He then handled two cross-ice passes from Matias Cleland, passing one back to Cleland and dumping the other into the corner. He then gingerly skated to the bench. Here are two replays of the hit with one in slow motion:







Brett Pesce did not return to the game and in the post-game press conference, Coach Umile said:
"He is probably going to be out for quite a while, but I am not quite certain yet. We will do some x-rays and MRI’s and find out."
As of the time of this posting, there is no further information on the nature of the injury or recovery time. Needless to say, it will be difficult to fill Brett Pesce's skates. In addition to having the most experience among all UNH defenders and the most points, his play in the defensive zone is exceptional.

Pesce has honed a style of defensive play which emphasizes the use of his stick, quickness, and positioning to gain and maintain possession of the puck. As he approaches the opposing puck carrier, he usually leans forward with his stick poised to poke or snatch the puck away. Where a more conventional defender would tend to play the body, Pesce focuses on where the puck is and anticipating where it is about to go. His hand-stick coordination is so quick, he often beats the opponent to the puck and/or digs it away from him. Watch him gain control of the puck in these highlights:





When Pesce left midway through the game on Saturday night, Providence had 14 shots on goal. UNH was down to 5 defensemen on the bench - Cleland, Maller, Marks, Furgele, and Randall. The combined NCAA experience of this corp was 105 games, just 15 more than Pesce has played. All things considered, UNH played well defensively over the final 28 minutes. Providence only generated 9 more shots on goal but one of them got past freshman goalie Adam Clark with 12 minutes left in regulation.

As the table above shows, all four freshman defensemen have seen game action so far this season. Cameron Marks has played in all 11 games. Somewhat surprisingly, the defensive statistics for this team is similar to last year's Wildcats, who advanced to the Hockey East Championship Game. The 2013-14 UNH team gave up an average of 2.59 goals per game which was 7th among the 11 Hockey East teams. The current team has allowed an average of 2.72 goals per game which is 9th among the 12 HE teams. If you disregard the 8 goals they surrendered at UMass Lowell - something which can't be ignored - the GAA goes down to 2.2 goals per game. This year's penalty kill percentage is 88.1% (5th in Hockey East) while last year's was 82.6% (9th in HE).

On the offensive side of the ledger, a comparison of this year's relatively young, inexperienced group of defensemen with last year's is more stark. In 2013-14, Knodel, TvR, Agosta, and Pesce combined for 24 goals. Of the 9 UNH defensemen last season, they were the only ones to score goals. So far this season, freshman John Furgele, who will be 22 in January, has scored the only goal other than Brett Pesce's.

When Pesce left the Providence game with an injury, freshman Cam Marks (0G, 1A) took his place at the point of the power play unit. Rich Boyd, the second youngest defenseman at 19 and 1/2, has seen substantial minutes on the power play in the 5 games he's played. Boyd has generated 13 shots on goal and has 2 assists. Sophomores Dylan Maller (0G, 2A, 4SOG) and Matias Cleland (0G, 1A, 9SOG) are logging many more minutes this year, on both regular shifts and specialty teams.

Senior Ryan Randall (22 years, 9 months), the second oldest UNH defenseman, has played in 4 of his 5 NCAA games this season. He's been a steadying presence with a +/- rating of +3 and has contributed an assist. The "oldest" defenseman, Harry Quast, has fired 8 shots on goal in 3 games. At 19 years, 2 months old, freshman Dylan Chanter is the youngest UNH defenseman and the third youngest player on the team - Shane Eiserman and Warren Foegele are younger. Although Chanter has played in only one game and not yet scored, he scored 4 goals and 3 assists in the BCHL Playoffs last spring.

All-in-all, the 2014-15 UNH Wildcats - with freshman goalie Adam Clark, 4 freshman defensemen, and 5 freshman forwards - are performing relatively well in the defensive zone. Only time will tell whether the freshmen defenders can help fill the scoring gap left behind with the departure of Knodel, van Riemsdyk, and Agosta. The next stretch of 5 games against RPI, Boston College, and Maine will be a stern test, particularly if Brett Pesce is not in the lineup.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Young UNH Defensemen Face Challenges Without Brett Pesce

UNH Defensive Stalwart
Brett Pesce Out of Lineup


Last season, UNH was fortunate to have one of the best core of offensive defensemen in Division I hockey. Eric Knodel (7G, 22A), Justin Agosta (6G, 20A), Trevor van Riemsdyk (4 goals, 19 assists), and Brett Pesce (7G, 14A) were UNH's 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th leading scorers, respectively. All four were also known for their 1-on-1 defensive skills. TvR and Knodel have moved on to professional hockey and Agosta elected to use his 5th year of NCAA eligibility playing closer to home at Quinnipiac University.

The departure of Knodel, van Riemsdyk, and Agosta plus the enrollment of four freshmen has resulted in one of the most youthful group of UNH defensemen in recent memory. As this table shows, the 9 defensemen are young in age and/or inexperienced at the NCAA level. Cameron Marks, Rich Boyd and Dylan Chanter are 19 years old and junior Brett Pesce just turned 20 a couple weeks ago. Five of the 9 have played in fewer than a dozen NCAA games.

UNH Defensemen 2014-15

Player DOB Age Class Career Games '14-'15 Games +/- Goals
Brett Pesce 11/15/94 20 yr/0 mn JR 90 11 +4 1
Matias Cleland 1/28/94 20 yr/10 mn SO 51 10 +0 0
Dylan Maller 4/15/94 20 yr/7 mn SO 31 11 +2 0
Cameron Marks 4/9/95 19 yr/7 mn FR 11 11 -2 0
John Furgele 1/15/93 21 yr/10 mn FR 7 7 +0 1
Ryan Randall 2/20/92 22 yr/9 mn SR 5 4 +3 0
Rich Boyd 6/7/95 19 yr/5 mn FR 8 8 +0 0
Dylan Chanter 9/19/95 19 yr/2 mn FR 1 1 +0 0
Harry Quast 3/26/91 23 yr/8 mn JR 41 3 -5 0


Brett Pesce, a third-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, is by far the most experienced defenseman on the 2014-15 UNH roster. Since the first game of his freshman season, Pesce has played in every game (91 games) but one. Over the first 11 games of this season, Pesce leads all UNH defensemen in goals (1), points (3), and +/- rating (+3).

Unfortunately, UNH will need to find a way to compensate for Pesce's absence after the injury he suffered Saturday night against Providence. With just under 8 minutes left in the second period, Pesce rushed the puck through center ice and into the Providence zone. As he streaked across the mid-slot, Providence defenseman Jake Walman bent low to the ice and lifted his hip up into Pesce's left thigh, just above the knee. Pesce barrel rolled to the ice but got back up and managed to hobble back to the blue line. He then handled two cross-ice passes from Matias Cleland, passing one back to Cleland and dumping the other into the corner. He then gingerly skated to the bench. Here are two replays of the hit with one in slow motion:







Brett Pesce did not return to the game and in the post-game press conference, Coach Umile said:
"He is probably going to be out for quite a while, but I am not quite certain yet. We will do some x-rays and MRI’s and find out."
As of the time of this posting, there is no further information on the nature of the injury or recovery time. Needless to say, it will be difficult to fill Brett Pesce's skates. In addition to having the most experience among all UNH defenders and the most points, his play in the defensive zone is exceptional.

Pesce has honed a style of defensive play which emphasizes the use of his stick, quickness, and positioning to gain and maintain possession of the puck. As he approaches the opposing puck carrier, he usually leans forward with his stick poised to poke or snatch the puck away. Where a more conventional defender would tend to play the body, Pesce focuses on where the puck is and anticipating where it is about to go. His hand-stick coordination is so quick, he often beats the opponent to the puck and/or digs it away from him. Watch him gain control of the puck in these highlights:





When Pesce left midway through the game on Saturday night, Providence had 14 shots on goal. UNH was down to 5 defensemen on the bench - Cleland, Maller, Marks, Furgele, and Randall. The combined NCAA experience of this corp was 105 games, just 15 more than Pesce has played. All things considered, UNH played well defensively over the final 28 minutes. Providence only generated 9 more shots on goal but one of them got past freshman goalie Adam Clark with 12 minutes left in regulation.

As the table above shows, all four freshman defensemen have seen game action so far this season. Cameron Marks has played in all 11 games. Somewhat surprisingly, the defensive statistics for this team is similar to last year's Wildcats, who advanced to the Hockey East Championship Game. The 2013-14 UNH team gave up an average of 2.59 goals per game which was 7th among the 11 Hockey East teams. The current team has allowed an average of 2.72 goals per game which is 9th among the 12 HE teams. If you disregard the 8 goals they surrendered at UMass Lowell - something which can't be ignored - the GAA goes down to 2.2 goals per game. This year's penalty kill percentage is 88.1% (5th in Hockey East) while last year's was 82.6% (9th in HE).

On the offensive side of the ledger, a comparison of this year's relatively young, inexperienced group of defensemen with last year's is more stark. In 2013-14, Knodel, TvR, Agosta, and Pesce combined for 24 goals. Of the 9 UNH defensemen last season, they were the only ones to score goals. So far this season, freshman John Furgele, who will be 22 in January, has scored the only goal other than Brett Pesce's.

When Pesce left the Providence game with an injury, freshman Cam Marks (0G, 1A) took his place at the point of the power play unit. Rich Boyd, the second youngest defenseman at 19 and 1/2, has seen substantial minutes on the power play in the 5 games he's played. Boyd has generated 13 shots on goal and has 2 assists. Sophomores Dylan Maller (0G, 2A, 4SOG) and Matias Cleland (0G, 1A, 9SOG) are logging many more minutes this year, on both regular shifts and specialty teams.

Senior Ryan Randall (22 years, 9 months), the second oldest UNH defenseman, has played in 4 of his 5 NCAA games this season. He's been a steadying presence with a +/- rating of +3 and has contributed an assist. The "oldest" defenseman, Harry Quast, has fired 8 shots on goal in 3 games. At 19 years, 2 months old, freshman Dylan Chanter is the youngest UNH defenseman and the third youngest player on the team - Shane Eiserman and Warren Foegele are younger. Although Chanter has played in only one game and not yet scored, he scored 4 goals and 3 assists in the BCHL Playoffs last spring.

All-in-all, the 2014-15 UNH Wildcats - with freshman goalie Adam Clark, 4 freshman defensemen, and 5 freshman forwards - are performing relatively well in the defensive zone. Only time will tell whether the freshmen defenders can help fill the scoring gap left behind with the departure of Knodel, van Riemsdyk, and Agosta. The next stretch of 5 games against RPI, Boston College, and Maine will be a stern test, particularly if Brett Pesce is not in the lineup.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UNH Recruit Liam Blackburn Signs NLI

Liam Blackburn Signs
National Letter of Intent


It's official - elite scorer Liam Blackburn will be a UNH Wildcat. The 18-year-old Blackburn (DOB: 6-8-1996), a 5'10", 167 lbs. center from Prince George, British Columbia (the same hometown as current UNH junior Dan Correale), has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the University of New Hampshire.

The NLI is a written agreement in which the player agrees to attend the school for at least his freshman year and the school agrees to provide an athletic scholarship for at least the freshman year. NCAA recruits are permitted to sign an NLI during two signing periods. This year's early signing period began last Wednesday, November 12th and extended until today. The other signing period is anytime after April 15, 2015.

Last year, three of the ten UNH recruits - Dylan Chanter, Shane Eiserman, and Cameron Marks - signed during the November signing week. Liam Blackburn is the first UNH recruit to sign an NLI during the current period. He will enroll at UNH either in the Fall of 2015 or 2016. That decision will probably be made after the current season.

Warriors' Forward Liam Blackburn Signs with UNH
(Photo Credit:  Greystoke Photography)
Liam Blackburn verbally committed to UNH on October 7th. The day after, Kyle Anderson, the Director of Media and Play-by-Play Voice of the West Kelowna Warriors interviewed Blackburn about the commitment. Liam said that he "talked with New Hampshire before, through the summer quite a bit". At the BCHL Showcase in mid-September, UNH Associate Head Coach Glenn Stewart "watched me both games and we talked after each game and I had good interest in them right away." Coach Stewart had been hired by UNH in late August.

Right after the BCHL Showcase, Blackburn flew to New Hampshire and toured the UNH campus. When I interviewed Liam after he committed, he explained how this visit factored into his decision:
"Some of the main reasons I chose UNH included the campus, which I thought was gorgeous. I also like that the team plays in Hockey East, the travel is simple and allows less absences from class. I also feel the style of play will fit me best and the olympic ice size will benefit me. I had considered a few other schools such as Nebraska Omaha, Merrimack, and Penn State. I visited a couple schools but after my visit to UNH there were no schools in competition."
In his interview with Kyle Anderson, Blackburn laid out his thoughts about coming to UNH next season or the year after:
"I'm just trying to make myself the best player possible and whether that's making myself ready for college next year or the year after, I mean, that's a choice I'm probably going to make later in the year. Either way, I don't think there's a wrong choice. An extra year of juniors would be nice to develop physically but mentally, I think I'm prepared to go."
Blackburn plays for the West Kelowna Warriors and has been a leading scorer in the BCHL since the season began. He is currently the second-leading scorer in the league with 10 goals and 28 assists. He has 6 more assists than his closest pursuer. Here are some of Blackburn's scoring plays including his goals at the BCHL Showcase:



UNH Recruits Update: Nov-18-2014

2015 UNH Recruit
Joseph Masonius

Player of the Week - Joseph Masonius

In his second season with the US National Team Development Program, defenseman Joseph Masonius (pronounced MA-SO-KNEE-US) is starting to attract noteworthy attention. Ryan Kennedy, the associate senior writer and NHL draft expert for The Hockey News, spent last weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan taking in Team USA U-18 and University of Michigan games. Kennedy included Masonius in his list of prospects who impressed him. He wrote:
"By the end of the weekend, anytime I sensed a big hit coming, I just assumed it was Masonius – and I was usually right. The University of New Hampshire commit can rock opponents with his physicality and he also has a pretty decent point shot. Draft eligible in 2015."
Kennedy was referring to Masonius' play in two USHL matchups. On Friday, the NTDP U-18 team downed the Bloomington Thunder 4-3 in a shootout followed by a 9-3 drubbing of the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Sunday. In the Bloomington game, Masonius not only dispensed some solid hits, he also made a few offensive moves. Against Muskegon, Joseph posted his second assist in this season's USHL competition and played solid defense. His +/- rating in each game was +1. Here are some of the highlights:



Masonius is on track to enroll at UNH in the Fall of 2015. Current UNH players Shane Eiserman, Tyler Kelleher, and Brett Pesce are also veterans of the US National Team Development Program.

NOTE
The statistics for the recruits, presented in the table, are categorized by the year the player and UNH coaches have targeted for enrollment in UNH. For example, the "2015 Recruits" have a target of the Fall of 2015 to begin playing for UNH.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2015 Recruits
Jason Kalinowski  (F) Bloomington Thunder USHL 4 0 1 1 2
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 5 0 0 0 4
Joseph Masonius  (D) USA U18 Team NCAA 6 1 1 2 4
USHL 6 0 2 2 16
NAHL 1 0 0 0 0
Int'l. 4 0 1 1 14
Christopher Miller  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 12 3 4 7 6
Danny Tirone  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL 15 10W 5L 2.47 .921
Brendan van Riemsdyk   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 21 16 5 21 42
Marcus Vela  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 21 3 13 16 26
2015 or '16 Recruits
Liam Blackburn  (F) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 22 10 27 37 14
Liam Darcy  (D) Berwick Academy NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
Islanders Hockey Club 18U USPHL 18U 4 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 16 3 9 12 6
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 18 8 13 21 8
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Green Bay Gamblers USHL 2 0 0 0 0
Ara Nazarian  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 16 2 4 6 4
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 22 0 1 1 16
2016 Recruits
Joey Cipollone  (F) Selects Academy 18U USPHL 18U 8 4 10 14 0
Justin Fregona  (F) St. Andrews College CISAA 0 0 0 0 0
Non-Conf 9 7 5 12 14
Jake Ryczek  (D) Sioux City Musketeers USHL 16 2 0 2 4
2017 Recruits
Mike Robinson  (G) Boston Jr Rangers EHL 8 4W 4L 2.35 .937
Lawrence Academy NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) CT Wolfpack U16 Split CT HC 34 17 15 32 44
Loomis Chaffee NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
Jason O'Neill  (F) Skipjacks Hockey Club 18U USPHL 18U 15 10 10 20 21


Sunday, November 16, 2014

UNH's Adam Clark and Kyle Smith Excel in One-Goal Loss to NU

Freshman Goalie Adam Clark
31 Saves
Kyle Smith
1st Goal of Season


In the words of the Boston Globe, freshman UNH goalie Adam Clark and Northeastern senior Clay Witt put on "goaltending clinic" last night at the Matthews Arena. Over the first two periods, both held their opponents scoreless with Clark rejecting 16 shots on goal and Witt stopping 26. Both made several outstanding saves and the goalie's best friend - the post - helped Witt twice.

In the first period, Adam Clark showed remarkable agility, particularly for a 6'5" goalie, sliding post-to-post to rob Dallen Hedges at the 10-minute mark and then, Kevin Roy two minutes later.



The second period saw UNH turning up the pressure offensively and only allowing 5 shots on goal. Three of Northeastern's shots came from the faceoff circle to the left of Adam Clark. With 9 minutes left in the period, freshman Nolan Stevens (1 goal, 1 assist, 5 SOG) snapped a point-blank shot that Clark smothered in his chest. Less than a minute later, Clark made a similar save of a Mike Szmatula back-hander. Finally, in the waning minutes, Clark flashed his blocker to stop a close in shot from freshman Brendan Collier (a transfer from Boston University).



In the three games leading up to last night, sophomore Tyler Kelleher was on a scoring tear. He posted three goals, including the game-winner against Michigan State, and added three assists including two in UNH's 5-3 win over Northeastern on Friday night. With 10:53 remaining in Period 2 at Matthews Arena, Kelleher nearly broke the scoreless tie when he rang the post behind Clay Witt. Collin MacDonald, playing left wing on UNH's third line, in place of Warren Foegele (out with a concussion), started a 2-on-1 break by passing to Kelleher at the red line. Tyler broke down the right side and snapped a wrister over Witt's glove. Moments later, Kelleher fired another quality bid, this time a back-hander from the faceoff circle to Witt's right.



Last season, Kyle Smith was named the Most Improved Player on the UNH squad. In both Northeastern games, Smith centered a newly configured first line between Casey Thrush and Matt Willows. Shortly after Kelleher hit the post, Smith rang it again. Smith effectively forechecked, gathered the puck, and fed a pass out to sophomore defenseman Matias Cleland at the left point. Cleland fired a one-timer, slap shot just wide of the net to Witt's right. Smith collected the rebound off the backboards and wristed a shot from a tight angle to Witt's left. The puck hit the inside of the right post and caromed into the slot. Smith and his linemates tried to bang the rebound home but a quick whistle ended the play. Smith's shot off the post warranted a review by the referees but the game remained scoreless.



Two minutes into the final stanza, Kyle Smith tallied the first goal of the game on a 2-on-1 break with Matt Willows. The play started in the Northeastern end when Alternate Captain Casey Thrush blocked a shot, Willows gathered the loose puck and raced up the left side of the ice. As Willows and Smith entered the NU zone, Willows feathered a cross-slot pass to the wide-open Smith who buried it past Clay Witt. The timely goal was Smith's first of the 2014-15 season.



After Northeastern tied the game a minute later on a goal by Ryan Rosenthal (a transfer from Vermont), Adam Clark kept the game close with several more big saves. Rosenthal threatened to score again at the 14:31 mark but Clark stopped the puck with his chest and pounced to cover up the rebound. Less than a minute later, Northeastern went on a power play and Clark turned aside two shots as the power play ended. NU's Nolan Stevens scored seconds later on an outstanding pass from his older brother John. Clark kept UNH within reach with 3:30 left in the game when he turned aside a shot from the slot by Dalen Hedges.





So far in his freshman season at UNH, Adam Clark has allowed 27 goals in 10 games (GAA=2.76) which places him in 9th place among Hockey East goalies. Leave out his worst performance in which he surrendered 6 goals to UMass Lowell and Clark's goals against average would go down to 2.33. Clark's save percentage of .894 is 11th among Hockey East goaltenders. If not for the UMass Lowell game, his save percentage would be .911. Given that Adam Clark was expected to be the backup goalie to senior Casey DeSmith this season, one would conclude that he has done an admirable job. If his play against Northeastern is an indicator, then he is becoming more effective as the season progresses. Next weekend will be a stern test as UNH faces Providence College, and another tall goalie in the person of Jon Gillies, for two games at the Whittemore Center.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Northeastern Edges UNH 2-1 For First Hockey East Win

UNH's Kyle Smith
Scores First Goal of Season


In the home-and-home series between UNH and Northeastern University, each team earned their first Hockey East Conference win of the season. On Friday night at the Whittemore Center, UNH jumped out to a 3-0 lead but Northeastern whittled the lead down to nothing with strong play in the second period. UNH won the game on freshman defenseman's John Furgele's first NCAA goal in the third period.

At Mathews Arena tonight, all three goals were scored in the third period. UNH got on the board first on Kyle Smith's first goal of the season. Shortly after, Northeastern tied the game on a goal by Ryan Rosenthal. NU's game winner came midway through the final stanza on Nolan Steven's first NCAA goal.

Goal-by-Goal Breakdown

Kyle Smith (from Matt Willows & Casey Thrush)
2:02 of Period 3 - UNH 1, Northeastern 0
~ Alternate Captain Casey Thrush blocked a shot and Captain Matt Willows gathered the loose puck and raced up the left side of the ice.
~ Willows and junior Kyle Smith entered the NU zone on a 2-on-1 break. Willows feathered a cross-slot pass to the wide-open Smith who buried it past Northeastern goalie Clay Witt.





Ryan Rosenthal (from John Stevens & Nolan Stevens)
3:32 of Period 3 - UNH 1, Northeastern 1
~ A little over a minute after UNH's goal, the Stevens-Stevens-Rosenthal line got NU on the board.
~ A rush up ice by Andrew Poturalski was broken up just over the redline. Collin MacDonald did a good job back-checking but freshman Nolan Stevens made an outstanding play knocking the puck away from MacDonald.
~ Nolan's older brother John collected the puck, skated across the slot, and wristed a shot that UNH freshman goalie Adam Clark saved with his chest. However, the puck rebounded just out of Clark's reach and Rosenthal slipped it under Clark's stick.




Nolan Stevens (from John Stevens & Mike Szmatula)
8:21 of Period 3 - Northeastern 2, UNH 1
~ The game-winning goal was scored by freshman Nolan Stevens just seconds after UNH had killed off a NU power play. Sophomore John Stevens, Nolan's older brother, dug the puck away from the half-wall to Clark's right.
~ J. Stevens passed to Mike Szmatula below the goal line who skated behind the UNH net and fed it back to John to Clark's right.
~ John made a play with his brother Nolan that they must have practiced countless times. John centered a pass to Nolan open in the low slot. Nolan beat Clark over his glove.






Northeastern earned their first win of the season. Their overall record is 1-8-1 and in Hockey East, they are 1-4-1. Goalie Clay Witt made 35 saves. UNH drops to 4-6-0 overall and 1-3-0 in Hockey East. Adam Clark made 31 saves. UNH returns to the Whittemore Center next Friday and Saturday for two games against Providence College.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

UNH Recruits Update: Nov-11-2014

Skipjacks' Jason O'Neill
4g, 3a, in 2 games

Player of the Week - Jason O'Neill

The Skipjacks Hockey Club, based in Odenton, Maryland, is only in it's second year of existence. It fields two midget-level teams - 16-Under (Midget Minor) and 18-Under (Midget Major) - which compete in the United States Premiere Hockey League (USPHL). Last season, Jason O'Neill lead the Skipjacks 16U team in scoring and was the second-leading scorer in the 13-team league. He posted 27 goals and 49 assists in 29 regular season games.

O'Neill moved up to the Skipjacks 18U team this season and over the first 11 games, he was scoring at a point-a-game clip (5 goals and 7 assists). Over the weekend, O'Neill nearly doubled his total goals as the Skipjacks won 2 games against the Wilkes Barre Scranton Knights. In a 5-2 win on Saturday, O'Neill scored 2 goals and assisted on the game-winner. On Sunday, the Skipjacks won again 5-2 and O'Neill scored 2 more goals, including the game-winning goal, plus 2 more assists. Jason O'Neill is now the third-leading scorer in the 18U Division of the USPHL. He is on track to enroll at UNH in the Fall of either 2017 or 2018.

NOTE
The statistics for the recruits, presented in the table, are categorized by the year the player and UNH coaches have targeted for enrollment in UNH. For example, the "2015 Recruits" have a target of the Fall of 2015 to begin playing for UNH.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2015 Recruits
Jason Kalinowski  (F) Bloomington Thunder USHL 2 0 0 0 0
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 5 0 0 0 4
Joseph Masonius  (D) USA U18 Team NCAA 6 1 1 2 4
USHL 4 0 1 1 4
NAHL 1 0 0 0 0
Int'l. 4 0 1 1 14
Christopher Miller  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 12 3 4 7 6
Danny Tirone  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL 13 9W 4L 2.33 .923
Brendan van Riemsdyk   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 19 16 5 21 40
Marcus Vela  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 20 3 13 16 26
2015 or '16 Recruits
Liam Blackburn  (F) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 19 10 25 35 12
Liam Darcy  (D) Berwick Academy NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
Islanders Hockey Club 18U USPHL 18U 4 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 13 3 6 9 6
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 17 8 13 21 8
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Green Bay Gamblers USHL 1 0 0 0 0
Ara Nazarian  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 13 2 3 5 2
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 20 0 1 1 16
2016 Recruits
Joey Cipollone  (F) Selects Academy 18U USPHL 18U 8 4 10 14 0
Justin Fregona  (F) St. Andrews College CISAA 0 0 0 0 0
Non-Conf 7 5 3 8 16
Jake Ryczek  (D) Sioux City Musketeers USHL 13 2 0 2 2
2017 Recruits
Mike Robinson  (G) Boston Jr Rangers EHL 8 4W 4L 2.35 .937
Lawrence Academy NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) CT Wolfpack U16 Split CT HC 29 14 13 27 34
Loomis Chaffee NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
Jason O'Neill  (F) Skipjacks Hockey Club 18U USPHL 18U 13 9 10 19 9


News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2015 or 16 UNH recruit Aaron O'Neill had shoulder surgery over the summer and missed the first 11 games of the USHL season. Last Saturday night, O'Neill suited up for his first game of the season with the Green Bay Gamblers.

USA Hockey/New England District Regional Championships:

~ Eric Esposito competed in the New England District Midget Minor Championships over the weekend. Esposito and the Wolfpack U16 Split Season team made it to the championship game but lost to the Selects Academy.

2014 World Sports School Championship:

~ 2016 recruit Justin Fregona and the St. Andrew's College Saints won the 2014 World Sports School Championship sponsored by the Edge School in Alberta, Calgary. Fregona scored 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 games.

Monday, November 10, 2014

UNH Defeats Michigan State 5-2: Goal-by-Goal Breakdown

Andrew Poturalski
1 Goal, 1 Assist
Tyler Kelleher
GWG, 1 Assist


DURHAM, NH - On Friday night, in the first of a two-game, Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge against Michigan State University, UNH fell behind by two goals with about 9 minutes left in the game. The Wildcats drew to within one on a Tyler Kelleher goal a minute later, then tested Michigan goalie Jake Hildebrand with several quality scoring bids until the buzzer sounded. The Spartans held on for a 4-3 victory. Overall, UNH outshot Michigan State 45-20 but did not bury enough of their chances.

In the Saturday night rematch, the shots on goal were far more even; 24 for State and 21 for UNH. New Hampshire was able to come out on top by doing what they do best - scoring transition goals. As this breakdown of the goal-scoring shows, UNH gained possession of the puck in their defensive zone, quickly broke out through center ice and rushed the Michigan State goalie.

Goal-by-Goal Breakdown

Andrew Poturalski (from Tyler Kelleher & Dylan Maller)
5:40 of Period 1 - UNH 1, Michigan State 0
~ Junior defenseman Brett Pesce stole the puck behind the UNH goal line then flipped a backhand pass to sophomore Dylan Maller.
~ Maller passed to freshman Andrew Poturalski skating out of the UNH zone.
~ Poturalski spotted sophomore Tyler Kelleher on the opposite side of the ice and began a long-distance, give-and-go play by zipping a cross-ice pass onto Kelleher's stick.
~ Kelleher stick-handled through the faceoff circle to Hildebrand's right and fed Poturalski in stride as he rushed the net. Poturaski snapped the puck into the open side of the goal for his third goal of the season.



Mackenzie MacEachern (unassisted)
2:06 of Period 2 - UNH 1, Michigan State 1
~ Pesce sent the puck up the boards, out of the UNH zone.
~ Michigan State's Ebbing intercepted the puck and tried to feed MacEachern with a pass.
~ Sophomore defenseman Dylan Maller attempted to gather the errant pass but appeared to be leaning up-ice at the same time. The puck hopped over Maller's stick.
~ MacEachern pounced on the loose puck and beat freshman goalie Adam Clark over his blocker.



Michael Ferrantino (Cox & Walsh)
11:05 of Period 2 - UNH 1, Michigan State 2
~ With about 30 seconds remaining in a Michigan State power play, the puck went around the boards behind Adam Clark and out to Walsh at the point. Walsh passed down to Cox to the right of Clark.
~ Cox passed to Ferrantino on the baseline. Senior defenseman Ryan Randall was in a good position to defend against Ferrantino but he was playing without his stick (it had broken).
~ Ferrantino lifted a shot over a sprawling Randall and over Clark's blocker.





Matt Willows (from Ryan Randall)
12:45 of Period 2 - UNH 2, Michigan State 2
~ Senior Captain Matt Willows cleared a puck from the crease in front of Adam Clark. Ryan Randall gathered the puck off the half wall to Clark's left.
~ Randall calmly looked up ice and saw Willows streaking through the neutral zone. Randall banked a long pass off the boards at center ice which caromed right to Willows.
~ In the first period, Willows had broken in alone on Hildebrand and fired a shot that just missed the top corner of the net over Hildebrand's blocker. This time around, Willows broke in alone and didn't miss. It was Willows' third goal of the season.
~ For Durham, NH native Ryan Randall, the play resulted in his first point as a NCAA player.
~ This second video shows Willows' goal from my vantage point at rink side.





Tyler Kelleher (from Warren Foegele and Andrew Poturalski)
14:53 of Period 2 - UNH 3, Michigan State 2
~ UNH's third line of Warren Foegele-Andrew Poturalski-Tyler Kelleher are a legitimate threat to score whenever they're on the ice. On Saturday night, they combined for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
~ The scoring play can be traced back to freshman Foegele's high-speed, back checking. After he knocked the puck free from the Michigan State forward deep in the UNH end, Kelleher swooped in and rushed the puck up ice.
~ A passing play from Kelleher to Poturalski back to Kelleher to Foegele produced a close-in shot that Hildebrand turned aside.
~ Both Poturalski and Kelleher dug the puck free along the half wall and Poturalski backhanded a pass to Foegele deep in the faceoff circle to Hildebrand's right. Foegele finessed a between-the-legs, centering pass to Kelleher charging down the slot. Kelleher flipped it over Hildebrand's glove for the game-winner.
~ The goal was Kelleher's third in two nights and fourth of the season. He's tied with Grayson Downing for the most goals on the UNH team.





Dan Correale (from Grayson Downing and John Furgele)
6:55 of Period 3 - UNH 4, Michigan State 2
~ This scoring play got started with freshman defenseman John Furgele hustling into the corner to Adam Clark's right, winning the battle for the puck and poking it up the boards to Grayson Downing.
~ Downing eluded 4 Michigan State players through center ice and into the offensive zone. Meanwhile, Dan Correale was racing down the right wing and into the slot.
~ Downing threaded a pass through 3 State players to Correale who backhanded it over Hildebrand's glove.
~ The goal was Correale's second of the season. John Furgele earned his first NCAA point.



Grayson Downing (unassisted)
18:02 of Period 3 - UNH 5, Michigan State 2
~ With 2:16 left in the game, Michigan pulled Hildebrand for an extra skater. This set the stage for a remarkable goal by Grayson Downing.
~ Matt Willows gathered a loose puck in the UNH zone, skated into the neutral zone, and flipped a shot that was blocked by a Michigan State player.
~ Another State player tried to clear the puck back into the neutral zone but it bounced off a teammate's skate and Grayson Downing managed to get a stick on it as he was falling backwards. While seated on the center ice faceoff dot with his legs out in front of him, Downing wristed the puck down the ice and into the empty net. You've got to see it to believe it.





Adam Clark shutout the Spartans over the last period and a half. He made a number of key saves including these:



UNH improved its overall record to 3-5-0. Next weekend, they return to Hockey East action with a home-and-home series against Northeastern University. NU's current record is 0-7-1.

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