Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly

A truncated version today with just one story really catching my eye, oh I'll probably run on and mention Kevin Regan at the end, but this week's show will center around Daniel Winnik.

The lone UNH alum forward to play a considerable amount of time in the NHL this season, Winnik has perhaps found it a lonely place. The defensive minded, speedy big guy made an immediate impact in his rookie NHL season scoring in his first NHL game and then adding ten more and fifteen assists over 79 games. He was 17th in rookie scoring in the NHL. Turn the page to his sophomore year for the Phoenix Coyotes and you find an entirely different story and real evidence of sophomore slumps. It would take Dan 12 games to record his first point and 16 more to record his second point of the season just one week ago today, both assists. The course of his season was not looking good - the scoring drought, an injury in late November/early December and being sent down to the San Antonio Rampage, the Phoenix Coyotes AHL affiliate, where he also failed to record a point in 5 games. But injuries and lackluster play throughout their NHL squad would force his recall and he seemed to have come back with the focus and determination to fulfill the hope that he would recapture some of last year's magic. But once again the puck just would not bounce his way. At one point he would find a loose puck in the low slot and he cut loose an absolute blast at near point blank range, beating the goaltender and moving the net, the entire cage, because it hit the post and bounced out.

Then four days ago, Valentine's Day rolled around, and maybe you could say Daniel Winnik had a change of heart. Though his Phoenix Coyotes would ultimately fall to a surging Calgary Flames team, Winnik would record not just his first goal of the season and the first of the game but he added another to bring his team to within one just past the halfway point of the game after they had fallen behind 3-1. But he wasn't done yet. Some hard work by Winnik down low would lead to another Phoenix goal late in the game but would be the final goal of the game which the Flames won, 7-5 (boxscore plus highlights). That last play would give Winnik a total of two goals and an assist, good enough for the second star of the game. It would also bring his season total to two goals and three assists through 31 games.

I'm sure his breakout play on Valentine's Day earned him some good-natured ribbing from his teammates about perhaps being a lover not a fighter though he has represented himself well when dropping the gloves.

Nice to see the hard work paying off.

Keep it up, Dan!

And though I said I wouldn't I have to throw a bit in about Jason Krog. The second place all time leader in Wildcat scoring has moved into fourth place in the American Hockey League scoring race with a stellar week. Last Wednesday night Krog collected three assists and over the weekend added a couple goals and three more assists for a total of eight points through four games since we last checked in.

Darren Haydar is eleventh in the league and currently has a seven game scoring streak in which he has netted four goals and seven assists.

Trevor Smith is holding steady at 34th and is in the midst of a four game scoring streak himself with a goal and three assists in that span.

Garrett Stafford is 17th in defensive scoring, picking up goal in his last outing.

Jacob Micflikier has a goal and an assist in his last two matches as does Eric Boguniecki.

And finally, Kevin Regan has been outstanding for the ECHL's Alaska Aces with fellow alums Colin and Brett Hemingway paving the way in offense on the team. Kevin is two-and-two with a .918 save percentage and a 2.48 goals against average recording the shootout win in his last performance which included a 1.85 GAA and a .944 save percentage.

Don't forget to check out the AHL's AHL Live (link over there =>) and until next week...

Go 'Cats!


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