Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm going with Wildcat Hockey Monday.

To start, let's put this brutal weekend behind us, fan and player alike. But not without looking at what we'll take forward and build on.

First I want to disintegrate the dissing of DiGirolamo. This weekend is in no way his fault and it is not without precedent. Many UNH goalies have allowed eight or more goals, or have been pulled for allowing fewer - Matt DiGirolamo did not have that luxury and it is to his credit that he stuck it out in net. Few freshmen goaltenders have been tested thus and I'm sure that, though painful, this past weekend will provide a great boost to his continuing growth as a player and a man. DiGirolamo (got any nicknames I could use, Matt?) faced 72 shots over these two games. Completely unacceptable on the part of the skaters even though they out-shot the competition. For comparison, BU's Keiran Millan, had to turn aside a mere 18 shots to shutout Northeastern and Vermont's Mike Spillane made 24 saves for a 2-1 win over Merrimack who knotted BC 5-5 on Friday night. Also, BC's first string goaltender, sophomore John Muse, made just two more saves than DiGiralamo. And let's not forget that one of the BC goals was an empty-netter and by the radio call some were just complete defensive breakdowns that resulted in odd-man rushes and the powerplay marker. Keep battling, Matt! We're all behind you!

Let's talk personnel. Joe Charlebois, Mike Sislo and James van Riemsdyk need to keep doing what they're doing. We've seen both of our Captains struggle with penalties this season and no one more than Joe. But leading by example he has turned it around in the last few games and contributed two assists over the weekend to top it off. Mike Sislo came back more fired up than ever after the loss to Lowell with a career-high game that I hope we'll see him exceed in short order and continue to make strides above the terrific improvement that we've seen already this season. And James van Riemsdyk - I know you've got more in you man! Cut loose! And where is the PB&J line that I know and love!? Someone get Jerry Pollastrone or Bobby Butler some shooting room in the high slot. If we can keep getting production from Danny Dries and just a bit more from Moses, Thompson & Thompson we'll have some exciting hockey to watch. On the defensive side - we've got to buckle down. We are all looking forward to the return of our top goaltender but he needs to be healthy. In the mean time it's tighten the belt and re-double the effort. It's time to earn your defensive badge and lock down the opposition's offense.

Lastly, you've got to love the jump! How long has it been since we've seen a Wildcat team with the jump? 98-99 is the most recent that comes to mind for me. And you have to appreciate that the powerplay was a season best on the weekend, 22.2%.

As I've said - I think there is a lot to like here and while we're nearing the one-third mark of the season there is a ways to go yet - be patient, be positive - especially those who say only the post-season matters.

Go 'Cats!


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