Monday, January 12, 2009

WHM

The disappointment of stalemate aside it was a good weekend for our Wildcats numerically but it opens broader questions about the 2008-2009 squad.

Currently second in Hockey East doesn't sound so bad - sounds pretty good actually. But the University of New Hampshire Men's Hockey Team has played more games than any other team in the league including first place Northeastern who is ahead by four points with a game in hand. Third place Vermont, one point back, has two games in hand. Currently sitting in the final home ice Hockey East Championship slot is BU who is two points behind the Wildcats and has two games in hand. Then, if we slide all the way down to seventh we see our foes from this past weekend with three games in hand which combined with their current total could put them one point behind us by the time the number of matches are equal.

On top of it all, take a look at the Pairwise Rankings. Fourth place BU - first in Division I. Third place Vermont - third in D-I. Granted that these are both teams that could surpass our 'Cats with just two points in the case of Vermont and three for BU, but UNH is ranked thirteenth in the pairwise which almost perfectly mirrors the NCAA Tournament selection. First place Northeastern is fourth in the pairwise with no Hockey East team currently within striking distance. BC, fifth in Hockey East with just one game in hand on our guys, is just ahead of us in the pairwise, tied for eleventh. Maine is just behind in a fourteenth place tie and if you don't think the RiverStone Cup game is important in the long run this season - Dartmouth is sixteenth. As it is, given the autobids, thirteenth could very well be left out to thaw this spring when the Tournament teams are called.

And if you think tying is alright, think again. While not a significant impact - the losses to St. Lawrence, Minnesota, Lowell and Merrimack were much worse - both ties to UMass were actually damaging to our RPI (rating-percentage index) which is one of the key components of the pairwise.

This being hockey, and college hockey in particular this is all likely to sort out in some unpredictable ways so we'll leave this analysis there and move on to the play over the weekend.

Can you say enough about the team goal-scoring leader, Mike Sislo? Mike has looked fantastic since the exhibition game, so much so that he looks like an entirely different player on the ice compared to his freshman season. With fourteen regular season games to go he could be the first Wildcat to break twenty goals since Trevor Smith did it in 2006-2007 (be looking for a post on Trevor tomorrow!) Then you have the recent explosion by the upperclassmen which I'm very excited about. Peter LeBlanc, Bobby Butler, and Jerry Pollastrone are finally finding their stride but their output almost pales in comparison to fellow upperclassman, Kevin Kapstad, who has ten points over an eight game scoring streak. That's good enough to rank him fifth in team scoring. In the meantime it seems as if the team just cannot get on the same page for one reason or another. During this same span many of the underclassmen have dropped off considerably. Danny Dries is in the midst of another, well, dry spell. Phil DeSimone seems to have gone cold, unable to connect with his most recent linemates, Dries and Steve Moses, which, on paper, should be a superb combination. Then, fellow underclassman, James van Riemsdyk, has gone scoreless in back-to-back games for the first time since mid-February of '08 for just the third time of his career in the Blue and White.

It seems a little disconcerting and perhaps even ominous, but I don't think it's a problem. I'm expecting to see the team finally come together and put the pieces together down the stretch. I think they've faced their demons, for the most part, and have saved their best for last - at least we can hope so. Regardless, Dartmouth provides a great test going into the all league-game conclusion of the regular season of which there are just thirteen over the next eight weekends.

Let's see what you've got, guys.

Go 'Cats!

5 Comments:

Blogger UNHBulls said...

Hey, look on the brightside, at least they ave a playoff system and not the BCS!

Jan 12, 2009, 9:06:00 PM  
Blogger THE UNH MEN'S HOCKEY BLOGGER GUY said...

Absolutely.

I'm not commenting so much on how the tournament teams are selected as much as I'm critiquing the topsy-turvy nature of hockey itself as a sport and the weekly clamoring over practically senseless polls.

Thank goodness it's not the BCS!

Jan 12, 2009, 9:12:00 PM  
Blogger THE UNH MEN'S HOCKEY BLOGGER GUY said...

Oh, speaking of the UNH Bulls...

... am I the only one who wants to see a Bulls throw-back extra jersey for the team, like, say, the RiverStone Game next year?

That would be sweet.

Jan 12, 2009, 9:15:00 PM  
Blogger UNHBulls said...

That would be awesome. Also, after seeing the success of the NHL games played out doors over the past few seasons wouldn't it be cool to see a college game like that? I know a Bruin's game at Fenway has been discussed but what if it were followed by a BC vs BU game? Or better yet the Beanpot.

Jan 12, 2009, 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger THE UNH MEN'S HOCKEY BLOGGER GUY said...

It would definitely be pretty cool to proceed or follow the NHL game with a college hockey game.

Hey! It's the Winter Classic doubleheader brainstormed right here on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog!

Wildcat Nation is the best!

Go Bulls!

Go 'Cats!

Jan 14, 2009, 10:11:00 AM  

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