Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Passing The Torch

Alright, yeah I know... real facetious title. I suppose it would be more appropriately titled Taking the Torch... alright, nevermind.

What's this all about?

The College Hockey News has declared the University of New Hampshire Wildcats their Division I Men's Hockey Team of the Week(Click the title-linked title of this post) following our sweep of the previous week's title-holder.

The honor had belonged, deservingly so, to the Colorado College Tigers who were coming off of a sweep of the Minnesota Golden Gophers at home. They came into the Whittemore Center and immediately showed what their program was about. They were fast, very fast, and they got to the net. Add to that the fact that they don't allow the opposing team to get anywhere in front of the net with the puck in their end and you have a very formidable opponent indeed.

But our 'Cats would not be denied. They battled back from a first period 3-1 deficit, scoring three third period goals - a feat that they had accomplished in the previous game and one that they would repeat the following night - that included an empty-netter to seal the victory each night. One of the most overlooked features of the game each night was the play of the netminders. On the first night, late in the game with our 'Cats up by one, Kevin Regan made a great pokecheck stop under breakaway conditions. It was a two on one situation in which the defender committed to the CC shooter who fed the puck to his line mate for a short drive in on Regan. The CC forward shifted to his backhand, Regan's right, then, with Regan out beyond the top of his crease moving with the attacker, right back to his forehand directly in front of Regan. At which point Regan either caught or lost an edge or losing his balanced was forced to poke the puck away while falling backward, just before the CC player could shoot. The next night, with multiple CC attackers in front and the UNH defense looking somewhat sparse, three attempts were made to put CC into the lead in the third period only to be turned away and finally snared by Brian Foster. Playing to the right side of his crease Brian turned the first shot away with a right leg kick from the butterfly position that was looking for the short side. The rebound found its way to another CC player for a similar shot forcing Foster to react to his right again against the recoil of his body from the first save demonstrating tremendous agility, focus and flexibility. The ensuing rebound from this save found its way to the front on the stick of another CC player for a wrist shot from about 10 feet in front of Foster who smoothly and calmly executed a neat glove save to end the flurry. How about a hand for the goaltenders!?

The result is a three and 'o' start - a first since the '03-'04 season.

But I think that the article raises some very interesting points about our team and our coaches who have built this team from the ground up. There are insights into the character of freshmen James vanRiemsdyk. As well as our Captain, Matt Fornataro, who mentions his frustration at the lack of a National Championship. My two cents: guys, the only time a National Championship counts is when you're here and the experience of having won one for you to look back on some day. To Matt I say, you're still here man, you've always got this shot at it - no regrets! We're with you all the way!

Go 'Cats!


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