Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly

Real quick tonight.

Ty Conklin will tend the pipes in his third Winter Classic game in what is referring to as the 'Outdoor Hat Trick'. The Red Wings rallied around the Wildcat Alum to blank the very same foe they will face upon Wrigley Field tomorrow, 4-0. Tune in at 1pm eastern on your local NBC station.

While a Minnesota alum, Boston Bruins' center Phil Kessel, older brother of our very own Blake Kessel who recorded his first point in the WJC during the 12-0 US victory over Kazakhstan, scored again tonight giving him 17 goals and 15 assists in his last 26 games including an 18 game point streak and only four pointless games during the stretch. Helping the B's to an incredible 9 game winning streak and 28-5-4 record with league leading totals in goals for (137) and goals against (82).

Go B's!

Back to the 'Cats.

Trevor Smith has been called up by the New York Islanders and played in his first NHL game earning the Third Star of the game though he finished a -1 with three shots - I'll be attempting to track down the back-story on this one. So, I looked a little and this is what I found quickly: Trevor had a couple good chances in close and a couple blocked shots. Cruise through this photo gallery to see if you can spot Trevor.

Garrett Stafford returned to action and Darren Haydar had a goal as their Grand Rapids Griffins sunk (I bet this has been used a hundred times if it has been used once!) the Peoria Rivermen with Maine alum Ben Bishop in net, 3-1. That was last night. Tonight the Griffins butchered (alright, really, I'll stop) the Iowa Chops who feature Wildcat Alum Eric Boguniecki, 6-0. Ironically enough it is Bishop's Maine predecessor Jimmy Howard who got the start and the shutout. Stafford had an assist and was a +2.

Jason Krog picked up one assist Tuesday night and two tonight as his Manitoba Moose split a two game series with the Chicago Wolves.

In the ECHL Colin Hemingway continues to be at the top of the league in scoring with 41 points in 30 games. And Chris Murray was briefly called up to the AHL's Hartford Wolfpack before returning to the Charlotte Checkers.

That's all for this week, Nation. As always be sure to comment if you think there is anything I missed.

Happy New Year!

Go 'Cats!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, Nation - and, oh, do I have some great stuff for you.

After a rare absence from TUMHB-Headquarters, I'm back and my head is spinning with everything going on in the world of Wildcat Hockey. We're going to start with James van Riemsdyk and Blake Kessel at the World Junior Championship then we're going to meander a bit before finishing up with a loyal reader giveaway!

I got to watch the game on the NHL Network Friday afternoon and I was not disappointed with the awesome display that the US Team put on. I saw our very own sophomore, James van Riemsdyk pot two very nice goals which added with his goal and assist from last night in the US's 4-3 win over the Czechs bringing his total to three goals and an assist in their first two games. Blake Kessel played very well Friday as well and I thought he deserved an assist but he has been held without a point thus far. Here are the video highlights of last night's game.

The US Junior Team returns to the ice tomorrow night at 7:30pm to face Kazakhstan then will conclude their group play with the feature match-up versus Canada on New Year's Eve, also at 7:30pm.

It's never too early to make plans to see a hockey game. Make sure you've penned in some fun on New Year's Day with the NHL's Winter Classic on NBC. With any luck we'll see Ty Conklin start for the Red Wings as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks outdoors at Wrigley Field - game-time is 1pm eastern. And I hate to plug hi-def but last year's game looked so good. That said, this is my advice, crash a friends house if they've got it and invite them over if you do and they don't. Then, this weekend, I'm planning a stop at my favorite Irish Pub, Cu Na Mara of Bristol, NH (before I have to get to my own game Sunday night) in order to catch our 'Cats taking on the Black Bears in Orono on ESPNU - hopefully I'll be able to catch the full game before I have to go! The puck drops at 4pm for this one so bring your empty stomach and fill it with some fine food and beverages.

Wildcat Alumni in the pros have stayed busy (and I missed last week's installment of Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly) - here's the rundown.

Ty Conklin is shouldering the burden in Detroit as Chris Osgood has been out with an injury - and he has been getting it done. With five straight starts Ty has gone 3-1-1 and his stats stand at a .909 save-percentage with a 2.57 goals-against. Very nice for a team that has clearly seen better defensive days. Ty's last outing was a shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs stayed in the game by tallying all of their goals on the powerplay, all in the first period on just three opportunities. After that, all Conklin. He stopped 10-of-13 in the first then 12-of-12 and 6-of-6 and one in the overtime. The shootout was decided on just one goal between the two teams.

In the AHL, Trevor Smith has been turning heads and has been floated as being on the shortlist for the call-up to the Islanders. In his last thirteen games Trevor has twelve goals and five assists. In the last six, he has seven goals and four assists with his last outing before the holiday break, a two goal game, earning him a Three Stars of the Night spot on

Jacob Micflikier continues to spot points. His hard work has brought him two assists in three games since the break and he scored the lone shootout goal in the Rochester Americans' shootout loss last night.

Grand Rapids Griffins Captain, Darren Haydar, has scored three goals and five assists in his last nine games and so remains just off of his usual point-per-game pace. Teammate and fellow Wildcat Alum, Garrett Stafford has been MIA for the last six or seven games just when it seemed he was starting to heat up scoring a goal and two assists in the three games previous to his absence. A little research turns up that Stafford is nursing a rib injury - hopefully he'll be back soon.

Newcomer, Mike Radja, continues to climb the Rockford IceHogs scoring board adding one the night after Christmas giving him three goals and three assists in his last seven though that Friday night goal stands as his lone point in his last four. Radja has eight goals and four assists in seventeen games with the AHL club.

*Late Breaking* This just in. Fellow rookie, Matt Fornataro, is really dishing the puck tonight. Matt assisted on the first and third goals for the Worcester Sharks and looks to put his first multi-point AHL game in the books while getting the 'w' versus the Portland Pirates.

I'll leave my recap of the pros at that - be sure to comment if you think there are some notable performances that I've missed.

And speaking of commenting, this brings me to The UNH Men's Hockey Blog Holiday Giveaway.

In the spirit of the holidays, The UNH Men's Hockey Blog is hosting a CPR Gear (check them out New England sports fans) T-shirt giveaway for my loyal, contributing readers. CPR Gear is a Boston-based company that seeks to unite New England sports fans through their unique brand in order "to represent the heartbeat of all New England sports... and, yes, it does include the Bruins. CPRB just doesn't sound as cool, now does it?" So, I will look back through the comments and emails I've received to choose those who have participated the most and reward them for their heart-felt support and dedication with authentic CPR Gear T-shirts.

So, it has been a great year Nation - let's make 2009 even better.

Happy Holidays!


Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WJC Exhibition: USA 5 - Russia 1

In their second exhibition game the USA Under-20 World Junior Team delivered a triumphant performance handing their Russian counterparts a five-to-one loss.

While the big story of the game was Michigan's Aaron Palushaj, who scored a natural hat-trick (the US's first three goals), UNH's own James van Riemsdyk added the fourth goal and assisted on the fifth giving him three goals and two assist through the two game exhibition round.

The action heats up on Friday when Team USA takes on Germany in their first match of round-robin play live on the NHL Network at 3:30pm. Be sure to find your local listing.

And don't forget, it's never too early to plan a get together for this year's NHL Winter Classic on NBC. The puck drops New Year's Day at 1 o'clock pm eastern time with a good chance that we will see former Wildcat Ty Conklin in net.


Go Wings!

Go 'Cats!

Monday, December 22, 2008


The Wildcats will be featured on tonight's New Hampshire Chronicle for the famous (infamous?) fish fling. WMUR's Chronicle starts at 7:30pm.

In their first action at the 2009 World Junior Championship the United States defeated Latvia 13-2. The onslaught was started by none-other than UNH's own, James van Riemsdyk who tipped home a shot at about six and a half minutes in. He would add an assist in the first as well thereby figuring in half of the goals scored in the period in which they out-shot the opposition 25-5. He would add a third period goal to finish off his scoring - the tenth of the game for Team USA.

Blake Kessel couldn't get in on the scoring unfortunately though he appears on the scoresheet for a boarding call halfway through the first.

They'll be in action again tomorrow night facing a much tougher opponent in Russia. In the mean time be sure to watch this USA Hockey video wishing us a Merry Christmas with some truly insane goals by one James van Riemsdyk - Merry Christmas. You can also see James is near to putting his name into several recordbook columns in this USA Hockey World Juniors Blog entry.

Oh, I almost missed some video of the USA/Latvia game.


Go 'Cats!

Friday, December 19, 2008

B2 Cable Online

This is what I'm talking about.

While the quality is nothing to rave about I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm excited about this one, Nation.

B2 Networks has launched their free B2 Cable channel online.

Right now you can watch ECHL & SPHL pro hockey, you can watch NCAA's Mens & Womens hockey, you can watch USHL junior hockey (I'm watching the Chicago Steel's last game getting a look at Future 'Cat Brett Kostolansky), and more!

As far as I can tell you can't select anything other than what is being shown for the respective leagues but did I mention it's free!?

You can select from a variety of sports at the title-linked homepage, among a couple other options, though I'm sure the majority reading this will want to click the hockey tab and the selections it provides.

It isn't much, but it is a start. Now if we can just get a programming guide and a remote!

And yeah,

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Future 'Cat, Eric Chevrier

The University of New Hampshire Men's Hockey Team has landed another highly-touted defensive recruit from north of the border in the Toronto Marlies Midget defenseman, Eric Chevrier.

A sophomore in high school, the earliest Chevrier would matriculate would be 2011. He just barely surpasses fellow recruit, Joey Laleggia as the youngest player to commit to wearing the Blue and White.

There has been some controversy over how high scouts think his star will rise but from the bent of the teaser on The Scouting News he may be on his way to silencing the naysayers.

Chevrier, a PEAC student, recently captained his Premier Elite Athletic Collegiate Piranhas JV team to victory in the Gonzaga Invitational Tournament. The Piranhas squeaked into the semi-finals then took a convincing 6-2 win over the second highest qualifying team in a game in which Chevrier had two assists that came on the third and fourth goals. The championship game was a defensive battle that saw Chevrier's Piranhas edge last year's champs, the St. Mike's Double Blues, 2-1.

I had previously had some point totals here but those were incorrect - individual point totals are hard to come by from the Marlboros in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Those same Toronto Marlboros have seen such players as Jason Spezza, Rick Nash, Wojtek Wolski and Sam Gagner walk through their doors and don the sweater.

It is also being reported by USHR that Chevrier is considering attendance at a New England Prep School to finish his secondary schooling.

Welcome, Eric!

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly

First up, Jason Krog. The Manitoba Moose's leading scorer has four goals in the last three games and one assist accounting for half of his goal scoring through twenty games and giving him a total of twenty-five points. In the last outing the Moose hosted our home team, the Manchester Monarchs, where Jason netted the game winner and the game's First Star.

Kevin Regan got the start in Manchester this past Saturday and what a rough start it was. The Monarchs ambushed his Providence Bruins, putting up three goals in the first period (which was identical to my first period outing Sunday - I know how you feel Kevin!) But we settled in and allowed just one goal the rest of the way though that's where the similarities ended for our respective nights. Kevin's squad answered goal for goal sending it to the shootout where he allowed just one more but that would be enough to send them heading back south with the shootout loss.

Grand Rapids Griffin, Garrett Stafford, has a goal and two assists in his latest trifecta of outings though he missed Saturday's game against Krog's Manitoba Moose after having helped his team topple them the previous night. Garrett is tied for eighth in the AHL for defensive scoring and needs six games for his four hundredth as a pro.

Two 'Cats doing some damage with their time in the AHL after having been up and down a bit between this league and the ECHL are Jacob Micflikier and Mike Radja. Jacob has a goal and an assist in his last two outings and Mike antes up one more assist in his latest pair of games.

Trevor Smith has poured it on lately with seven goals in his last six games including a hat-trick his last time out. He scored all three goals in the second half of the game and sparked a trade-off with Norfolk's Justin Keller. Trevor scored first only to be followed by two from Keller then come back with two of his own to close the game - wild. The recent streak has garnered some attention from other media establishments as well.

Springfield Falcon, Derek Bekar, has a goal and his first assist of the season in his last three days at work bringing his season total to nine points in twenty-two games.

In the NHL Daniel Winnik did not play this weekend and Ty Conklin played twice stopping twenty-nine of thirty-two to beat the Calgary Flames and twenty-one of twenty-three in a loss to the Dallas Stars whose struggling Marty Turco was suddenly hot for the night making thirty-seven saves.

As always, if you have any favorite stories from the weekend be sure to comment.

And I'd be remiss not to mention Mike Sislo's Inside College Hockey National Player of the Week recognition and the accompanying Official Site rundown of his performance last Thursday.

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WHT *Caveat Emptor Update*

Relegated to a Wildcat Hockey Tuesday posting this week.

Our 2008-2009 Men's Hockey Team put on two stunning periods of hockey against a seemingly overawed Holy Cross Crusader team last Thursday which seems like ages ago already. Despite the light crowd, some four thousand or so, the ice was incredibly tilted during the three score of minutes bouts that saw twelve goals scored in the student section end compared to just one puck finding the back of the net in the other. Maybe they were all sitting at the same end? Whatever the cause, I would be hard-pressed to believe that such a lop-sided affair has taken place more than a handful of times in a hockey game. I got to watch (almost) the whole thing on UNHWildcats.TV which I'll get to in a minute.

Notice I said two stunning periods? Well, that other period, not so much unless you were a Crusader fan. Holy Cross scored once with seven seconds to play in the first (the lone goal on that end of the ice) which came on a powerplay with the Wildcats under duress on a James van Riemsdyk tripping call. Then, beginning at ten-twenty of the second period, the visitors would score three more in the span of three minutes and fifteen seconds to tie the game at four while the Wildcats would go scoreless in middle stanza. Umile, having seen enough, sat a lackadaisical Brian Foster, which seemed like a bucket of ice water to the face for the napping 'Cats.

It would take just fifteen seconds for our 'Cats to strike in the third period with a nice hustling play by van Riemsdyk who curled around the back of the net allowing him to feed an open, streaking Sislo for the game-winner. But Sislo wasn't done. He would bury two more for a four goal game, a feat not accomplished by a Wildcat in years. Matt DiGirolamo earned his first victory in the Blue and White in the relief effort. Overall, a nice conclusion to the 2008 part of the season - hello 2009!


Now, my review of UNHWildcats.TV.

Overall I have mixed feelings toward the product. For the most part the video and sound were very good and deliver a pleasing experience, at least to a technologically challenged US crowd seeing that many countries have cable-quality full screen capability for less than what we pay for our bottle-necked services here. The main issues were video pixelation/blurring and sound screeches. The problems seemed to become exacerbated as the production went on until it was difficult if not impossible to make out anything towards the conclusion of the game. I do not know if this was caused on my end or theirs but I have heard similar reports from others having the same experience. Will I use the service again? Occasionally at best - it's just not worth it to me. Personally I would rather donate $200 a year to get the NHPTV Broadcasts back - ideally in HD! In the end my recommendation can only be caveat emptor.

*UPDATE* My caveat remains, however, I have now had two subsequent viewings which were far better and lacked serious issues, though there is a bit of ringing to the audio and there was one 30 second cutout in service, again with fault unknown. This is based upon my experience with an intermediate cable broadband internet package and base-g wireless home network.

Up tomorrow, our Wednesday Wildcat Alumni Weekly. Through the break: continuing coverage of 'Cats in the Pros and updates on our Future 'Cats. As well as extensive coverage of the IIHF 2009 World Junior Championships which will feature James van Riemsdyk and Blake Kessel.

Happy Holidays Nation!

Go 'Cats!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Wildcat Alum Returns To Pros

Brian Yandle has returned to professional hockey after retiring a little more than halfway into last season.

Glad to see you back, Brian.

Wildcat Nation wishes you a successful return!

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Giving: UNH 9 - Holy Cross 4 Final

Game on.

First Period

Play is up and down the ice the 'Cats are putting together a break and now it's deep in the Holy Cross end then cleared to the Wildcat defensive zone and now an messed up icing call goes to a center ice face-off.

Some bouncy Crusader pressure leads to Foster's first save of the night.

UNH pinning the Crusaders to the boards before a breakout with the Collins-Fortney-Sislo line on the ice.

Fourth line on the ice, back in their own zone and broken up crossing the offensive blueline.

DeSimone circles in the Crusader's end of the ice and unleashes a backhand from the high slot saved by the sophomore Cross goaltender Adam Roy.


van Riemsdyk centers a pass to a cruising Pollastrone in front of the net from the right-wing corner and Jerry one-time snap shots it to the top of the net...

Pollastrone(2)[van Riemsdyk(14), Sislo(2)] 4:17

1-0 'Cats!

14:34 to play in the first.

Fortney find the loose puck in the low slot and bangs it home off of a Moses rebound!

Fortney(1)[Collins(3), Kapstad(8)] 5:35

2-0 'Cats!

14:15 in the first.

Some major hiccups in the webcast but otherwise I'm please with the feed.

Two of my guys get the goals I was talking about - now let's get Alan Thompson one!

A couple faceoffs in the Wildcat end but we're controlling the puck and trying to work it up ice but no success until JVR carries it through neutral - now some sustained pressure in the offensive end


Jerry Pollastrone walks off the boards and from the right-wing circle fires a wrist shot into the upper, glove side of Roy with van Riemsdyk camped to Roy's blocker side.

Pollastrone(3)[Kessel(3), Kapstad(9)] 8:09

3-0 'Cats!

11:12 to play in the first.

Halfway through the first and the 'Cats are obviously smelling blood as they are buzzing and putting a lot of pressure on Holy Cross.

Holy Cross timeout and now back to play.

Fortney looks like he was actually found by Collins for his goal through the traffic in front of HC's net.

Wildcat powerplay on a strict call for boarding.

A few chances and 32 seconds left - SCORE! - van Riemsdyk finds Sislo on the top of the crease and he makes no mistake. From the goal-line near where he found Pollastrone.

Sislo(8)[van Riemsdyk(15), Pollastrone(3)] 13:01

4-0 'Cats!

5:00 to play in the first more Wildcat pressure.

3:00 to play - up and down with a few saves for Foster.

Pete Webster (sorry) talking good Wildcat passing and I agree but a late period van Riemsdyk tripping call leads to a HC goal on a 4-on-3 powerplay

Sheahan[Znutas, Driscoll]

4-1 'Cats!

After one.

First Intermission

The first intermission features the UNH Football Team being applauded for their recently ended season. Great season guys! How about winning that Homecoming Game next year!?

Pete recaps that Kapstad has scored a point in each of his last five games!

The Fortney goal looks like it came from Moses from Collins and it seems the second Pollastrone goal came from Kapstad from Sislo from the call.

Second Period Underway

Getting lots of interference on the webcast now, missing some key moments. Disappointing.

16:44 of the second and not much going on.

Sheahan dekes out Krates or Charlebois and walks in on Foster - We're not worthy!

15:20 to play in the second.

Holy Cross getting some individual chances an very little in the way of up-ice play from our 'Cats. But the puck is being defensively controlled by those same 'Cats.


Pollastrone takes a hard shot but was flying up the ice before the end of his shift looking for the hat-trick.

Now some offensive pressure.

But more neutral play.

10:30 in the second.

Holy Cross buzzes and gets some bounces and their second goal of the night.

4-2 'Cats!

Soft play off of Foster's glove.

4-3 'Cats!

Oh, I was tempted to say there would be trouble if they didn't score early in the second...

7:45 to play in the second.

Another bounce for the Crusaders and Foster and the defense playing soft leaves the rebound to the guy in purple alone in front - tie game


UNH timeout. I guess I was right to be scared about this game for some time now.

6:25 to go in the middle period.

Matt DiGirolamo is given the nod to give a much needed kick in the pants to the team.

In another bit of ill-fated prescience I thought Matt should have gotten the start! Oh how I wish I was wrong.

UNH Powerplay.

1-for-2 on the powerplay

3:30 to play

52.2 seconds in the second period.

UNH controlling the puck but not getting the quality chances. Some great chances at the end of the period, a handful of chances but our 'Cats could not even get the puck on net.

End of one of the worst periods of UNH hockey I've ever seen.

Second Intermission

Some human bowling slingshot action. For whatever reason this stuff comes in as good as it gets!

Seems as if camera movement is an issue in the webcast.

Wow. I don't envy Pete Webster for having to recap THAT period.

Final Frame Action

15 seconds, van Riemsdyk to Sislo with JVR curling around the net to find Sislo streaking to the other side alone

5-4 'Cats!

Sislo(9)[van Riemsdyk(16)] :15

Some up and down hockey and some close chances but nothing to report.

14:43 to play.

The ice is SERIOUSLY tilted tonight.

Lots of interference right now but there's a Wildcat goal

Sislo! Hat-trick.

Sislo(10)[Krates(3), van Riemsdyk(17)] 7:14

6-4 'Cats!

van Riemsdyk on the powerplay!

van Riemsdyk(9)[Sislo(3), Pollastrone(4)] 8:36

7-4 'Cats!

10:00 to play

Holy Cross powerplay coming up.

James van Riemsdyk just tried a stick-juggle to go around a Holy Cross defender... didn't work - ridiculous.

6:51 left.

DiGirolamo makes a nice save on a screened shot but I'm having trouble seeing much of anything as there is frequent and significant sound and video interruption.

Dries throws it at a streaking Butler and it hits Roy and bounces in for the four goal lead

Dries(6)[LeBlanc(7)] 16:23

8-4 'Cats!

2:34 to play.

Sislo scores!!!! His fourth of the night.

Sislo(11)[Pollastrone(5)] 18:12

9-4 'Cats!

The ice is tilted like the Whit has been relocated to Tuckerman's Ravine! That's twelve goals scored at that end of the rink tonight.

There's a little bit of coal dust on our gift with the second period but thanks guys.

Happy Holidays Wildcat Nation!


Starting Line-Up:

Jerry Pollastrone!

James van Riemsdyk!

Mike Sislo!

Kevin Kapstad!

Blake Kessel!

In goal, Brian Foster!

Time to get the caps off for the singing of the National Anthem.

The guys are on the ice - so far so good for the viewing.

Pre-Game show is on.

And I'm breaking down and shelling out to see the game tonight - I'll write an on-going and post-game review.

Hopefully I'll be able to bring you what I see!

Tonight's Line-Up:

Brian Foster




Will the Wildcats give us a gift? Or are we getting coal? The consensus is that some of the fans have been naughty.

College Hockey News Tale of the Tape

Official Page

Foster Named Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week

If you're going to the game give yourself plenty of time and be careful out there.

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly


Jacob Micflikier was given his traveling papers to head back to the ECHL's Florida Everblades after having a dry streak of seven games with the AHL's Rochester Americans. Well, maybe Jacob doesn't like Florida all that much or maybe he does. His return would be short-lived as he put up nine goals and ten assists in six games. Yes. You read that correctly. Jacob Micflikier scored nine goals and ten assists for nineteen points in six games. 3.17 points-per-game. The feat would earn him the ECHL's In Glas Co Player of the Week honor. Well, now he's back in Rochester but seems to be struggling again, as is the team, and has yet to record a point in three games after having some early success with a goal and two assists in his first four games. Here's to finding your scoring grove in the AHL, Jacob!

Matt Fornataro recently made the long return trip from the ECHL's Phoenix Roadrunners to the AHL's Worcester Sharks for the second time this season which must be like deja vu, but let's hope he sticks around this time. In his first trip up in mid-October Matt recorded an assist in the lone game played, was a +1 and had one penalty. Recently he earned another shot with five goals and seven assists in the last eight games. Capitalizing on his chance this past Sunday he once again recorded one assist, was a +1 and had one penalty that even came thirty seconds before the penalty in the first game. The only difference was that he came away with just one shot on goal. Hopefully for Matt his stay will be longer this time and he will join the Sharks tonight as they host the Springfield Falcons and their third leading goal scorer, fellow Wildcat Alum, Derek Bekar, who has seven goals in nineteen games.

Kevin Truelson has made his return to the ice an eventful one with his Bakersfield Condors, immediately getting back to what he does from their blueline - putting up points. In his first game of the season Kevin had a goal and an assist and managed to pot one more two nights after giving him three points in the four games since his return. That first game? On the road in Alaska where Kevin, who earned the First Star, helped propel his team past the Aces and their ECHL leading scorer, one Colin Hemingway, who they managed to hold to just two assists - one for each of his team's goals that night. Colin has continued his torrid pace scoring a goal and five assists in just three games since we last checked in giving him thirty-four points in twenty-two games.

Two 'Cats that I didn't get to last week are teamed-up with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and are two of the most prolific players in the AHL for the last five-plus years - Darren Haydar and Garrett Stafford. Garrett is on pace for his most productive year and is giving a struggling Haydar a run for his money in the team scoring column with fifteen points, three goals and twelve assists, in twenty-four games. Haydar, is off to what may be his slowest professional start this season though certainly nothing to be ashamed of with eighteen points, ten goals - eight assists, in twenty-three games. But I don't expect these numbers to stay close for long as Darren always finds some way to get pucks to the back of the net.

In the NHL, the Phoenix Coyotes' Daniel Winnik is still advancing his plus-minus statistic, now even in his twenty-one games this seaosn, but remains snakebitten in the scoring columns. It will come.

Ty Conklin and his Detroit Redwings won a battle in his last outing against the potent Chicago Blackhawks in the shootout. Despite struggling recently his number remain solid and I would expect to see both Conklin and Winnik in action tonight in their respective games.

That's all for this Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 - feel free to comment if you have anything to add!

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Making Headlines

The New Hampshire Online has three stories from the past weekend and they were a little kinder to the guys than I was even though I think the team did earn these first two stories. So, here they are.

Wildcats back to winning ways

Pollastrone gets scoring monkey off his back

Athletic Dept. tries to limit hockey crowd vulgarity

Sounds like a new poll is due on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog! As for me, I'm with them, enough is enough.

Go 'Cats!

Monday, December 08, 2008


And what a Wildcat Hockey Monday it is in Wildcat Nation this Monday, December 8th, 2008.

A weekend sweep. An eighth to third place tie jump in the standings. A shutout and a come-from-behind win. Jerry Pollastrone breaks the ice with his first goal of the season. Brain Foster firmly on his way to establishing himself in the UNH Hockey goaltending tradition.

What's not to like?


This team is an anachronism. They are an incredibly talented group with a proven coaching staff. They're winning some games - more than they're losing at least. They're outworking most other teams or at least out-shooting them and yet they still look... awkward, is a word that comes to mind. Out-of-sync.

I think each guy on the team needs to take a good, deep look within himself and determine whether they are committed to this team. Ask themselves if they are willing to dig deep and give it everything they've got and that little bit extra. Will they step up and become a part of the tradition of excellence that defines the University of New Hampshire Men's Hockey Team. And maybe, if you dedicate yourselves to the season in front of you, you may find that you have what it takes to improve upon that legacy and leave your mark forever.

They've taken a big step in that direction with the results of the past weekend though their play still desires improvement. I kind-of feel bad for Holy Cross coming to the Whittemore Center to face an amped up Wildcat team with a lot to prove, both to themselves and their fans. What better way to thank the fans than by gift-wrapping a nice, resounding trounce of the Crusaders before the holiday break?

Go 'Cats!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Close-Out Sale Day Two: UNH 3 - Lowell 2 Final

First Period

Wildcats down 0-1 at 1:51 of the first. The line of Fritsch-Kipp-Thompson-Thompson-DeSimone out there.

Two powerplay chances and nothing to show for it - I'll see if I can get a report from the rink about their play but it seems that they continue to be ineffectual after out-shooting the Riverhawks nine to three.

End of the First

UNH Football is behind 12-7 after their fourth quarter. Not their best football. But they are showing that they can get it done.

Beginning of Second

Greg Collins gets a good goal off a loose puck in front of the net and it is 1-1 'Cats after two.

My report from my rink observer is that if they didn't have bad luck tonight they wouldn't have any. Two posts in the second and better execution than in the first. Completely dominating puck control and out-shooting UML as much as 17-5 at one point. Stands at 22-9 currently.

Kapstad and Butler were given assists on the goal by Collins.

Beginning of the Third

Trading powerplays at this point. Shots 25 to 10 in favor of UNH.

UNH Football leads 27-26 at the half off of a 99-100 yard interception return!

Second half just beginning for them. 10 minutes to play in regulation at the Whit.

Lowell gets a powerplay goal at 10:44 but Bobby Butler answers just 1:14 later and it is 2-2. Assists go to Pollastrone and LeBlanc.

Has got to be nearing five minutes to play.

Less than five to play but I have to recant! Jerry Pollastrone is credited with his first goal of the season! UNH out-shooting 28-16. Assists to Butler, his second of the night and LeBlanc.

3-2 UNH!

Powerplay goal! 1:50 to play. Shots 31-13 according to the scoreboard in the Whit.

Blake Kessel! James van Riemsdyk assists! and Phil DeSimone!

Empty-net Lowell.

I'm hearing final!

3-2 'Cats! As they claw back and sweep the weekend series.

From eighth to a third place tie in a weekend - but it can readily go back the other way. And we'll be missing van Riemsdyk and Kessel when we travel to Maine for the next Hockey East game.

Good Night and enjoy the rest of your weekend, Nation!

Double discount day.

Official Site: Game Notes and Links

Friday's recap.

Possible online game viewing - CN8 Live @7:00pm It's not working for me. Is it working for anyone else? So much for "CN8 Live".

Now, let's go back-to-back!

Go 'Cats!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Close-Out Sale: UNH 2 - Lowell 0 Final

Late start for me as I got some family time in tonight.

After two periods it's 1-0 'Cats on Peter LeBlanc's goal from Dries and Butler at 11:25 of the first.

Beginning of the Third Period

Lowell is buzzing for the tying goal with the now defunct powerplay but Foster and the 'Cats are shutting them down with the shots at 26-17 in favor of the 'Cats.

Less than 15 minutes to play.

UNH Powerplay with about 13 minutes to play.

A lot of pressure in the Wildcat end but Foster is up to the task. About 5 minutes to play.

Shots currently sit at 33-27, out-shooting the 'Cats 13 to 8 in the third.

4 minutes to play.

1:29 to play, Lowell net is empty.

Empty-net goal by Sislo, from van Riemsdyk and Kapstad at 1:19

2-0 'Cats!

1 minute to play!

Lowell had the third best scoring offense in Hockey East and second best defense coming into the game.

Big scrum at the end.

And THAT, Nation, is a convincing win.

Brian Foster had 29 saves.

Final shots 35-29.

GameTracker Link(available at game-time)

The New Hampshire Copy

Official Site: Game Notes and Links

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wildcat Hockey Weekend Preview

UNH/Lowell: Close-Out Sale.

If the Lowell Riverhawks think that they are going to encounter a battered Wildcat team they're going to be dead wrong as these two clubs finish their season series this weekend.

One of the main reasons for expecting a different outcome is Joe Charlebois taking up the reins. After a dismal minus-three performance in the round one loss to Lowell, Joe has a +2 rating over the last four games, including the six-to-eight loss to BC. Now, looking at his scoring record we know that Joe has never been a point producer. But, over this same span of just four games Charlebois has recorded seven assists. Good enough to equal his assist contribution - for all of last season! This is not someone seeing drastically more ice-time or necessarily line-pairing related. Although his more disciplined play lately has certainly improved his ice time! Go Joe.

Now if we can just get Jerry Pollastrone and Thomas Fortney a goal. Come one guys, get to it! And while we're at it, get Alan Thompson one too! Hey, if the guys could return the eight-spot on Lowell they would have as many goals in the last five games as were scored in the first ten. And I don't say this to knock the first ten - I want revenge and they CAN do it! I want the Riverhawks plucked, stuffed and basted with a puck in their mouth!

As I said previously, this team is putting out the effort. They have amassed an average of nearly thirty-five shots per game. But will we see them screen or drive to the net at all? Will we see them play strong in the defensive zone especially down low? Will we see the recent trend of disciplined play continue? Will we see better passing?

I think so. Time to take care of business guys. But I have one more question...

Who are we?


Who are we!?




Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

van Riemsdyk, Kessel Named to World Junior Team

It's that time of year again - the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Under-20 Championship is just three weeks away and for the third time, James van Riemsdyk was named to the US World Junior team for the upcoming contest taking place in Ottawa, Ontario this year.

Also named to the team from the University of New Hampshire is freshman blueliner standout, Blake Kessel. Who will suit up for the first time in the Red, White and Blue.

The tournament will take place from December 26th through January 5th, 2009! But exhibition games will be held on the 21st and 23rd.

The duo will likely miss just one game - the lone game of the season in Orono versus the University of Maine Black Bears on January 4th.

See the title-linked USA Hockey release and informational page.

Congratulations guys!


Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly

Wildcat Hockey Alumni stories that caught my eye this week.

Mike Radja. Radja seems to have found his stride in the AHL. The Rockford IceHogs rookie potted his third and fourth goals in his last outing, his seventh game, good enough for first star as his IceHogs edged the Peoria Rivermen. Oh yeah. Backstopped by none-other than longtime Wildcat nemesis, Ben Bishop, who allowed five goals to his team's three. Mike has an assist to go along with those four goals giving him a .71 point-per-game average and a +4 rating and is putting behind him an impressive seven goals and six assists in eight games for the ECHL's Fresno Falcons.

Colin Hemingway. You can't mention the ECHL without mentioning its leading scorer. Colin's return to the States has been a successful one. He has scored twelve goals combined with sixteen helpers in nineteen games - just about one-and-a-half points per game. Brett Hemingway, has been sidelined with injuries but has a goal and five assists in eight games. And I'm sure he will be giving Colin a run for his money when he returns.

Jason Krog. Leads the Manitoba Moose in scoring rate, 1.29 points-per-game, with three goals and fifteen assists in fourteen games while trying to secure a spot with the Vancouver Canucks where he has one goal in four games. In his most recent outing Jason sparked the Moose to a 5-to-3 win, scoring the opening goal and assisting on the game-tying goal, both on the powerplay.

Daniel Winnik. Also ended up on the injured cart and his Phoenix Coyotes went on the skids. While Winnik was waylaid, the Coyotes went on a six game winless streak. Since his return they are 2-1. Unfortunately, Dan has yet to find the key to unlocking the success that he found in his rookie season where he had twenty-six points in seventy-nine games. This season he has just one assist in the first eighteen games, a real sophomore slump, and after a dismal start has recovered his plus-minus to just a -1 going without a minus game since the fifth match of the season. But I don't think you would know it from watching him play (look for #34) as he looks sharper and quicker than ever with that great rush and feed about halfway through the video and the absolute blast of a shot that rang the iron with the slider-tab about a half-inch from the end. I expect him to recover his groove soon.

Well, that's all I have for you this Wednesday, December 3rd... let me know if there are any stories that you think I should have mentioned!

Wildcat Hockey Weekend Preview coming tomorrow!

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Future 'Cat Update

There's no way to stay on top of Future 'Cats like following The UNH Hockey Recruits blog - formerly the Unofficial UNH Hockey Homepage - which even includes information on potential recruits.

So, I'm going to pick up on a few stories before sending you over there.

Up first. Not too long ago I reported that University of New Hampshire freshman, Steve Moses, had been identified as an NHL prospect in the Central Scouting Services Preliminary Report.

Well, along with Steve, three Future 'Cats are being watched by the CSS: Ryan Bourque (A rating), John Henrion (B rating) and Jeff Silengo (C rating).

The rating system merely indicates the CSS's rough draft projection (A = rounds 1 or 2, B = 3-5, C = late round) and serves as a recommendation of how much effort they think a scout should put toward seeing a particular player.

There is a nice post on Ryan in The Red Skate regarding the article that I pointed to at the time but looking back, I can't help envisioning a van Riemsdyk, Bourque combination - as unlikely as it is - and start wondering who would be the third forward on that line? Hearing the descriptions of Ryan I start entertaining the notion of a player that is part Steve Saviano, part Darren Haydar. Very interesting.

Anyhow, I've updated their stats - Bourque and Henrion's that is, since, as far as I can tell, South Kent School has not begun their season as yet - just checked and they have two games passed on the the schedule but nothing in the way of stats to report for Silengo. Should have the rest of our recruits' stats updated shortly.

You will also note that I've kept the Future 'Cat Stats for current Wildcats so that their production can be more readily compared to the incoming classes. Which, in case you didn't know, is kept in the lower right-hand portion of the blog, just scroll down a bit.

And keeping my word, the UNH Hockey Recruits link is right over there => at the top of the UNH Hockey Links section.

Go 'Cats!

Monday, December 01, 2008

WHM: "Lack of Effort"

Hockey East Online: Umile Audio

I have to disagree. I saw plenty of effort out there. What I did not see was execution.

The first two periods were largely futile on the part of our Wildcats. Sure they skated well and played extremely disciplined hockey. But what is with the horrible passing? Being weak on the puck? Friendly checking? They would battle then turn it over with a poor play resulting in very little quality puck possession. How they escaped with a two-two tie after two is beyond me and this is taking nothing away from the score by Kapstad on a good heavily screened shot during the five-on-three and definitely no disrespect to the make-no-mistake play from van Riemsdyk to Moses who roofed it perfectly just past Cannata's left shoulder. Nevermind Bobby Butler's brilliant push through the Merrimack 'd' and brutally accurate top-shelf laser.

Now I'll grant that Merrimack played well and the puck bounced for them. I'll even go so far as to allow that this is all just a horrible string of coincident games where injury and realistic losses and rare losses have combined in a sort of perfect storm that has resulted in what may be the worst first half for a Wildcat team in more than a decade.

I'll admit, I'm hearing the "lack of effort" line from a number of quarters - fans, players and coaches now. But unless I see a turning of the corner on this funk I'm going to be inclined to believe that a "lack of effort" is really an excuse for our 2008-2009 Wildcats who just don't seem to want it and simply can't get it done, but history will be the judge of that. For now I see three games on the docket before the holiday break and a really good shot at beginning to resolve the problems that have plagued the team thus far. Let's set our sights on Lowell. One game at a time.

Go 'Cats!
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