Friday, September 28, 2007

The First Annual USHL Fall Classic

In a smooth move, the United States Hockey League - one of the primary sources of American college hockey players - has developed a nice, new look on their homepage and has established the USHL Fall Classic with its own website that is title-linked to this post.

With two days worth of games almost behind them there is a bit of news to report on the Future 'Cat front.(for more Future 'Cat information refer to the lower portion of the right hand column of this blog)

We'll start with Matt White. Matt helped spur his Omaha Lancers to a 5-0 rout of the Chicago Steel in their game today by notching the first goal and assisting on the second. It seems thus far that Matt is developing a trend of putting pucks in the net for the boys representing the 'Gateway to the West' team.

Next we'll move to the two from Waterloo - Matt DiGirolamo and Blake Kessel. Matt started for the Blackhawks in their Thursday game but could not hold off the Sioux Falls Stampede. Stopping 21 of 23 shots just was not enough on this night where fellow Future 'Cat, Blake Kessel picked up an assist on the lone goal for my 'favorite town to destroy in Rampage' team. Tonight as Matt platooned, taking his turn on the bench, Blake decided that he wasn't feeling like playing this night either and dropped the gloves just 57 seconds into the game.

Last we'll tag along with Mike Borisenok and his Green Bay Gamblers where Mike capped the victory for the Titletown boys with a shorthanded, empty net goal.

All the boys (well, maybe not Blake as I'm not sure of the USHL rule regarding fighting) will be in action tomorrow from anywhere from noon to 7pm. Be sure to check out the website (title-linked to this post) where you can link to the B2 Network webcast games.

Way to go boys! Keep up the great work! We'll be watching and waiting!

Go 'Cats!

NCAA College Hockey Shake-Up

I was reading the writing on the walls (the USCHO fan forum) and had concluded that many were just wildly speculating but according to the title-linked article it is true.

The NCAA has opened membership to international schools - primarily Canadian.

According to the article the Canadian schools, only a few foreseen in the next decade, would almost undoubtedly join Division I college hockey. Thus generating the potential for a huge shake-up of the Division as we know it.

The potential ramifications for programs that rely on Canadian talent could be staggering.

Unbelievable. But hey...

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hockey East Blog Closes Its 'Doors'

Well, the Hockey East Blog has come and gone.

In light of said tragedy I feel the need to spread word around the league about misfortunes befalling the University of Massachusetts Lowell Hockey Team.

As was reported by the Hockey East blogger, most serious among the misfortunes of the River Hawks is that recruit, Matt Ferriera, had to undergo brain surgery in order to remove a tumor from his brain (man I sound stupid - I know, I know, I often do!). It is reported that the operation was successful and that he is doing well but according to sources close to the Lowell program he will not play this season - we can't blame you, Matt! Take your time and get well. Wildcat Nation wishes you the best and we certainly hope to see you take the to ice versus our 'Cats once you're back in tip-top shape!

Additionally, Stephen Capraro, has undergone and will have to undergo further surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to miss this season. Steve was a freshman defenseman last season playing in 30 games for the River Hawks and I'm sure was expected to be a major contributor to the defensive squad in the upcoming season. Not to be confused with his older brother, Chris, who played for UMass Amherst, completing his collegiate career, before joining the Trenton Titans at the end of this past ECHL season and who is now with the Charlotte Checkers where our own, Shawn Vinz, landed after completing his senior year! Shawn is listed as one of the Checkers who participated, along with Chris, in a Sept. 19th AHL Training Camp with the Hartford Wolf Pack - he is not confirmed on any team's roster as yet many teams have no confirmed roster what-so-ever. Ah ha, I have just confirmed that he was released, as was Chris, from the Wolfpack Training Camp on Tuesday the 25th - Congratulations Shawn for having earned an invite! They should both be with the Checkers this year.[did you know? that the Capraros are from one of the first towns along Paul Revere's ride? The home of the Fannie Farmer and hometown of NHLers Sean Bates and Keith Tkachuk]

As for Stephen - get well man!

And they come in three's. Hopefully the last of their woes, Lowell's, Paul Worthington, is dealing with Post-Concussion Syndrome and has not been cleared to play. Paul will be missed after contributing 2 goals and 10 assists in a 28 game freshman campaign. It is unclear when he will be cleared to play.

Paul, Wildcat Nation wishes you good health!

Thanks to 'MaryK' from the USCHO message boards for reporting much of the medical status that I've mentioned above.

As a note, composing this Hockey East interest piece has shown me the light - this stuff takes work people! - I'm going to have to resurrect the Hockey East Blogger and have him contribute here. I'll let you know if I have any success in wooing him to write Hockey East pieces for your UNH Men's Hockey Blog and the rest of Hockey East that is not so fortunate as to have a blogger.

Get Well All! And Good Luck! We'll see you on the ice!

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ciocco Lands A Job *As Do Some Others*

Beloved UNH Captain of the 2006-2007 squad, Josh Ciocco, has agreed to terms with the Fresno Falcons.

The team press release shows a photo of Josh at the end of the season last year with the Wheeling Nailers as well as some kind words regarding his game.

The most familiar name on the Fresno roster beside Ciocco's is Brady Leisenring of Vermont who exhausted his collegiate eligibility at the close of the '05-06 season after having played games over five different seasons for the Catamounts. Seeing as they both occupy the right wing we will most likely not see them on a line together though.

Congrats Josh!

*The Ciocco lead prompted me to check on some other 'Cats in the Pros. I'm trying to keep up as they are announced but they're sneaking by me, including - Brian Yandle. Yandle picks back up with the Phoenix Roadrunners this year after a very successful campaign last season. Sean Collins will repeat in his standout role with the Wheeling Nailers as well.

More to come!

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mowers Dealt To Anaheim

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have acquired veteran forward, Mark Mowers('98), in a trade that saw them send defensemen Brett Skinner (who some may remember was a standout defenseman at the University of Denver from 02/03 to 04/05) and Nathan Saunders to the Bruins in exchange.

Good Luck, Mark!

Be sure to check out the Ducks' release on the deal that is title-linked to this post.

Go 'Cats!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pietrasiak Starts in Hershey Preseason *A bit more*

Jeff Pietrasiak('06) started and won alongside his Hershey Bears squad in their preseason opener.

Jeff stopped 17 of 18 shots through two periods, meanwhile Notre Dame's, David Brown, also had 17 saves but on 20 shots in the losing effort by the Pittsburgh affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

I also found this note concerning BU's, John Curry:

NOTES: The Penguins signed goaltender Ray Jean to a professional tryout contract before the game. Jean was signed due to an injury to goaltender John Curry, who is day to day with a lower body injury.

*Thanks to The Other UNH Men's Hockey Blogger Guy (we need a girl/woman around here!) I can note that on top of it all, Ray Jean, had a brief glimpse of the Hockey East lime-light with Maine - but he was wise enough to get out of there and transfered to Bentley where he shouldered the majority of the load and did a fine job.

Keep up the great work, Jeff!

Go 'Cats!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Recruit Update: Cody Healy *addendum*

Well, the powers, or sources, that be have seen fit to cover my gaff concerning the location of potential recruit, Cody Healy - he's right here with the Jr. Monarchs Empire Junior Team alongside fellow New Hampshire Native, Connor Shannon (refer to the 'We're Waiting...' post for more details)! But it may have led to other gaffs! It seems I was also misspelling his name as well as having received information with his name misspelled! I've edited for spelling but considering the misspelling all around I would also question the validity of which teams have sought to recruit Cody. What I can tell you is that, Cody Healy, IS with the Monarchs Empire Jr. Team this year and IS a potential recruit of the University of New Hampshire Wildcats!

Somehow I missed him in my perusal of the roster that is title-linked to this post - where his name was misspelled as well!

Here's what was passed along to me - again, edited for spelling.

Cody Healy

Healy, according to sources, signed half-way through last year with the NH Monarchs. 2006/2007. Line - GP:38 Pts:21 PMI:91

Staying with the Monarchs in 07/08 despite offers from the NAHL's [TUMHBG's Notes: league of Brad Flaishans' Texas Tornados] Kenai River Brown Bears, QMJHL Lewiston Maineiacs [defending President's Cup Champions] and COJHL Hawkesbury Hawks[2005 & 2006 CJHL Champions].

Our file:

Cody Healy
DOB: 08/23/1990
Ht: 5'11”
Wt: 175 lbs.
Shot: Right
Hometown: Bedford, N.H.

07/08: N.H. Junior Monarchs

Scouting: Smart stay at home defenseman. Strong on his skates. Keeps it simple. Ultra aggressive. Excels on the penalty kill. In the sights of UNH, BU, UML and Maine.

*I was mistaken to have listed Cody as a Coburg Cougar. I happened upon a spelling error on a site where the actual Coburg Cougar, Cody Heley, was mispelled with an 'a' included to make it the same as the MISSPELLING of Bedford native, Cody Healy's name! I have also received word that the above information may contain some inaccuracies and I am awaiting further confirmation concerning this. As a further note - any information published on this page should be taken as purely UNOFFICIAL and that the accuracy of what is published here is based solely upon whatever anonymous sources provide information to me. In no way should anyone base any judgment of character or potential career path of anyone but myself on the information contained within this blog.

So, there you have it! WHEW! Still, anytime anyone has any news pertinent to Wildcat Nation Hockey please let me know - you can use my email contact in the right hand column or submit a comment to any story.

Speaking of which - Boblav (from the USCHO Fan Forum) uncovers a nice write-up on our newest Future 'Cat, Ryan Bourque, from the New England Hockey Journal. It even has an elusive picture of the fiesty forward!

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stafford Flying With The Wings *Further Update*

They don't mention his goal in the brief game summary that is title-linked but if you check out the boxscore you will see that Stafford scored a powerplay goal at 6:42 of the second period, answering the Wild's lone goal in under a minute to put the Redwings up 4-1.

According to the game summary, Stafford was even on the night, recording 2 shots and logging nearly 10 minutes in ice time.

Congratulations Garrett!

Also on the defensive front, Bryan Muir '95, is currently logging time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was even in their 2-3 loss to Edmonton filling in 18 minutes of ice time and 2 shots and unfortunately took a high-sticking double-minor towards the end of the first.

*Daniel Winnik also scored last night in a losing effort by his Phoenix Coyotes club - read about it here.

Congrats Danny!

**And Congratulations to Darren Haydar! Darren picked up what was listed as a short-handed goal (although I don't see any Thrashers in the box at the time on the boxscore) to bring his Atlanta Thrashers to within one but they would be unable to sustain any momentum from his goal and fell 3-5 to the Nashville Predators and many of Darren's former teammates from the Milwaukee Admirals. I don't know what the Thrashers were thinking by keeping Haydar, Krog and Sterling from playing on the same line (apparently Krog and Haydar were out together on a pk that allowed a Nashville goal) but hopefully they will give them a chance - their performance in the AHL together warrants it. You can see individual player stats as well.

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We're Waiting...

Well, the Unofficial UNH Hockey Homepage (title-linked) is pretty much back up to snuff so we know that the season has to be close now! By my count just 23 days away until they drop the puck in the exhibition game versus New Brunswick!

Meanwhile the Hockey East Blogger keeps us guessing as to what his predictions for our 'Cats will be this year, so far covering BC, BU & Maine. As for his talk of Karson Gillespie backstopping the Terriers he needs to read my analysis on that front from the USCHO fan forum. And don't forget to vote in the HE Blogger's polls and my own here if you haven't already.

Also waiting on Maine, Providence, Lowell, and Merrimack to join the rest of the Hockey East schools on the USNews' Top 125 American Colleges and Universities.

Now for a little rumor mill.

It is being tossed around that New Hampshire natives - defenseman, Cody Healey, and goaltender Connor Shannon could be considered for our Wildcats in '09. Cody hails from Bedford and Connor from Stratham who was a 2007 New England Select 17 Team member. Cody was last with the Coburg Cougars of the OPJHL, and I've yet to locate him this year. Connor is with the NH Monarchs Empire Junior club and recently popped up as the back-up goaltender for the Omaha Lancers in their successful battle against the QMJHL, according to NCAA Watcher over at the USHCHO Fan Forum. (See the Border Wars post).

It is also worth noting that, Jay Pietrasiak, (brother to Jeff?) who led the NH Monarchs' Empire Junior squad, and that league, in scoring last year has stayed on with the Monarchs, joining their EJHL team alongside Future 'Cat, Greg Burke - for whom I can clear up any rumors that his dad, Tim Burke, is NOT the UNH All-American Defenseman from the 70's (as sweet as that would be) - even though his parents are both UNH alums from later years. Thank you very much to my source who I phoned this morning!

*A little late reporting update*

Future 'Cat, Kevin McCarey, picked up an assist in the the USNTDP U-18s' first game of the season this past Saturday versus the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Kevin was a +1 and had 3 shots in the U-18's 3-2 victory - his assist came on their first goal of the game just after the midpoint, setting off their comeback from a 0-2 deficit. See the Pointstreak boxscore.

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'Cats in the Pros

As soon as I can I will update the 'Cats Playing Pro list to reflect where everyone is as we come into the 2007-2008 Hockey Season!

For now I'll sift the HE Alums attending NHL camps to show all of the 'Cats in one place - here!

Darren Haydar - Atlanta
Jason Krog - Atlanta
Ty Conklin - Pittsburgh
Mark Mowers - Boston
Brett Hemingway - Colorado
Garrett Stafford - Detroit
Jacob Micflikier - Edmonton
Trevor Smith - NYI
Daniel Winnik - Phoenix
Chris Murray - San Jose

The HE List is title-linked.

In other news, NCAA Watcher brings us this stat sheet on new Future 'Cat, Ryan Bourque. Ryan had a goal, increasing the National Team's lead to 5-1, and launched a personal barrage on the opponents goal with seven shots. He was a +1 on the night. The game was his first with the USNTDP U-17s and their NAHL season opener against the St. Louis Bandits, whose coach, Jon Cooper, recently coached the US U-17s to a silver metal in the U-17 Five Nations Tournament held in Strakonice, Tabor and Pribram, Czech Republic - hosted by the Czechs who played gold to our silver.

The next night the two squads faced-off again and the U-17s were edged by the extremely talented Bandits (one of the top teams last year) by a score of 5-4. Ryan would open the scoring in this game just seven minutes in with his second goal in as many games. Later in the period he would tally his first assist to again put the U-17s ahead to close the frame 2-1. They would go up 3-1 early in the second only to relinquish the lead over the remainder of the middle stanza and the go-ahead goal on the game's lone powerplay goal early in the third. They tied the game only to fall behind once more bringing their young season to a 1-1-0 record. See Box Score.

Well, that should be enough to whet your appetite for now.

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Juicy Tidbit

Well, it appears that my sources are quite a bit better than I give them credit for (I'm sorry I couldn't believe you but without some official report - which we now have thanks to USHR - I'd rather not go about posting heresy. Nice catch though, you know who you are!) Well, it's official Will O'Neill will not be a Wildcat.

It appears that our Wildcat Men's Hockey Program cut ties with O'Neill after he began to let himself slide this past season (I've heard that many players lose themselves when they travel to the USHL away from their families often for the first time). With falling grades and reporting in poor shape our coaches felt that they had seen enough to terminate contact with O'Neill, reportedly leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

Let in be known to current and future recruits - should you have the honor of being offered a scholarship or even a position on the University of New Hampshire Wildcat Hockey Team - it is just the beginning! From that point on you should focus on your academics and your training more than ever.

To Will I have this to say: while it may not have been to your liking, the coaches at the University of New Hampshire brought out the man in you with some tough love.

They definitely did him a favor - uh, well, maybe. After losing favor with our alma mater, O'Neill turned his season around, according to his coaches and - are you ready for it - was brought on as a 2008 Maine Black Bear recruit.

I think this fact, that they were able to allow a boy to become a man (assuming he has turned things around) speaks to the character, skill and talent of our Men's Hockey Coaching Staff. In one move they have allowed a young man to find the path for himself and saved the Team from any problems regarding someone who does not fit the Wildcat mold.

We certainly won't hold anything against you, Will - well, except the fact that you're a Black Bear! Good luck! You'll need it!

>The Hockey East Blogger has posted a list of HE players attending camps - some work buddy. Very nice of you. Could you sort it by team? JUST KIDDING!<

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hockey Border Wars - Junior Hockey Style

If you take a quick look around the college hockey/major junior internet world you probably can't miss the flaming going around about the results of the dustup between the United States', USHL (the top tier junior league in the states) and the Q, as it's known, which is Q for Quebec Major Junior Hockey League or the QMJHL (reverse the letters for the french version of the acronym).

I'm going to stay out of the fray and let the USHL's 2-1-1 record speak for itself. What brings me to this post is the fact that two Future 'Cats, Will O'Neill '08 and Matt White '09, and at least one potential Future 'Cat, Patrick Wiercioch, play for the team that earned those two wins - the Omaha Lancers.

Matt White scored once in the 6-0 pasting the Lancers handed Rimouski.

Congratulations boys! Well played all!

Go 'Cats!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bit More On Bourque & White

This one comes to us via the USCHO Fan Forum, in particular the oft well informed, NCAA watcher.

The Union Leader article is title-linked from this post and highlights some of what Future 'Cat, Ryan Bourque, will bring to our '09 Wildcat Men's Hockey Team and the University of New Hampshire.

The article also discusses former teammate and prior committed Future 'Cat, Matt White. Matt will join '08 recruit Will O'Neill (once he's back in action from a knee injury) in Omaha to play for the Lancers in the United States Hockey League before donning the Blue and White in the fall of '09 as well.

Speaking of the Lancers, potential Future 'Cat, Patrick Wiercioch, will also ply his trade (some great defense) alongside these two Future 'Cats in Omaha as well. So, while I'm at it, let me suggest that you hop over to the Unofficial UNH Homepage, created and maintained by the Bunyanesque (clarification: the mythical giant... NOT the referee!), Chris Heisenberg, to check out a number of other potential Future 'Cats as well as many other references concerning the UNH Men's Hockey Team.

Go 'Cats!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Spotlight on Sophomore Bobby Butler

Inside College Hockey has been doing some Sesame Street reporting with their A-Z analysis of various college hockey players.

One of the first to to undergo their scrutiny was our very own, Bobby Butler. You can see what they had to say about him through the linked title of this post.

Some well earned press if you ask me.

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Andrew Leach Signs with The ECHL's Trenton Devils

You can follow the release trail through the title-linked ECHL article which links to the team's release about the signing of '06 Wildcat, Andrew Leach.

This long-time role player at our alma mater has been the same last year in the UHL before earning a spot this year in the ECHL. Andrew played in 93 games for our 'Cats during the course of his career with a 6-10-16 point line. Last year he played in 61 games for his first professional season totaling 7-12-19.

Congratulations Andrew!

As news of more signings comes in I'll be placing the here. So, let me know if you hear anything!

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

USHR Says It Best

United States Hockey Report - "Bourque Chooses Wildcats"

Now Future 'Cat, Ryan Bourque, has chosen to attend the University of New Hampshire to play his collegiate hockey. Ryan will begin his tenure at UNH and first don the Blue and White in the fall of 2009.

He played forward along with former Cushing teammate and Future 'Cat, Matt White - amassing 19 goals and 31 assist in the 30 game prep school hockey season last year. The USHR report is nothing short of glowing about Ryan's tremendous range of skills.

This year he will represent the United States on the USNTDP Under-17 Team.

And, on top of it all he is also an excellent student!

Lastly, you can see Ryan and the rest of the U-17 Team at the Whittemore Center and the Exeter Ice House during the Beantown Fall Classic, held from October 18th to the 21st.

Welcome Ryan! Excellent to have you on board!

Go 'Cats!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Improving Olshansky

First of all, let me say 'nice job' to Elliot Olshansky on his D-I College Hockey rundown (the title of this article is title-linked to his post).

Now let me improve on his synopsis of our beloved University of New Hampshire WILDCATS!!! (I should make that 'WILDCATS!!!' flash and an play 'Sirius' from Alan Parson Project!)

Alright! Fire up the playlist for a dramatic reading...

New Hampshire - Trevor Smith, Jacob Micflikier and Brett Hemingway will be missed, but the UNH recruiting class is led by No. 2 NHL draft pick James Van Riemsdyk and USHL Player of the Year Phil DeSimone.

And EJHL Player of the Year, Paul Thompson!

Returning for his senior season, Assistant Captain, Mike Radja - despite the April Fool's Day believers that he had gone pro... heehee - is coming off of a standout junior year and led by their feisty senior captain, Matt Fornataro, who should improve on his career year last year as well. Also look for even better campaigns from juniors, Jerry Pollastrone, Greg Collins and Thomas Fortney up front and Jaime Fritsch, Kevin Kapstad and Joe Charlebois on the blueline. And don't forget how dangerous Bobby Butler was at the end of last year, his freshman tour of duty and you'd be foolish to turn your back on Peter LeBlanc or Danny Rossman - with this line-up you'd better not blink or the puck will be in the back of the net already. And it's anybody's guess as to whether any of the other extremely talented forwards coming in will stand up and blaze their way into the lineup!

Kevin Regan enters his senior year in goal coming off of a statistically brilliant junior campaign, which should combine with the Wildcats' high-octane offense to make a formidable combination. VERDICT: Better

But we would be remiss not to mention the maturation of the defensive squad with Craig Switzer and Brad Flaishans stepping up alongside Regan and Radja to round out a FIVE SENIOR CAPTAIN SQUAD to lead this year's Wildcats. Along with Kapstad, Charlebois, and Fritsch - 5 of the 6 defensemen on this year's squad will have served at least two years! Add to that whether sophomore Nick Krates is ready for the open slot or one of the two extremely talented and offensively producing incoming blueliners, Mike Beck or Matt Campanale, proving that they're ready for the Big Show... and you have yourself a terrific defensive squad reminiscent of a nuclear bunker with Regan at backstop. And THAT doesn't even call into account that Brian Foster is ready if Kevin ever wants to take a breather - as unlikely as that is.

TUMHBG'S VERDICT: This year's team is AWESOME!

Go 'Cats!
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