Thursday, April 30, 2009

Future 'Cat, Scott Pavelski

As a 2007-2008 Waterloo Blackhawk, with teammates Blake Kessel on the blueline as the team's second leading scorer and goaltender Matthew DiGirolamo tending the net, Scott Pavelski had just 10 points through 54 games, had 54 penalty minutes, and was a minus 6. This year he came back and put up nearly three times the points in 57 regular season games, scoring 13 goals along with 16 helpers, reduced his penalty minutes to 36 and boosted his plus/minus rating by 25 points finishing the season with a +19 rating. He had the team's seventh best shooting percentage after actually taking one less shot in the course of his second season but scoring more than four times as many goals - all after having had wrist surgery in the off-season.

At 6', 190 lbs. Scott is a hard nosed player who is a great skater, tough to play against and elevates his teammates' level of play out on the ice. It also seems he endears himself to fans both on and off the ice as evidenced by toddler, Kellen Kantaris, in this great story by Jim Nelson of the WCF Courier.

According to the USHL release on his commitment, Pavelski was named the Hawks' Unsung Hero by his teammates along with Patrick Wey who many had hoped to see join our Wildcats.

You can see this Future 'Cat in action in this short clip (no sound), and here scoring in the shootout.

Welcome to Wildcat Nation, Scott!

Go 'Cats!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Haydar, Krog Dominate AHL Playoffs

As they have for years, Darren Haydar and Jason Krog continue to dominate the American Hockey League offensively - now they're back at it separately though.

Haydar continues to add to his all-time AHL Playoff points records - leading the league this season with 3 goals and 6 assists through 5 games.

Behind him, Krog is just one goal shy of Haydar's totals through his first five post-season games.

Krog finished third in league scoring this year behind the tag-team Hershey Bears duo of Alexandre Giroux and Keith Aucoin. Haydar was just a bit further back at sixth in the league but still maintaining the incredible pace of more than one point per game.

After this season Haydar has 201 goals and 335 assists for 536 points in 496 regular season games. But where he has really shown his stuff is in the the Calder Cup Playoffs where he has set the All-Time AHL Playoff scoring record with 55 goals and 124 points in just 95 playoff games spanning six seasons in which he has helped earn two Calder Cups. With his first three assists in these 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, Haydar collected his fourth Calder Cup Playoff record, this one for most career assists in the post-season to add to his accolades for goals, points and game-winning goals.

Additionally, Darren recently received much more important good news, his girlfriend, Sarah, had a post-op biopsy come back negative for cancer. Here's hoping the good news continues for you, Darren!

Krog expanded his totals to 157 goals and 291 assists for 448 points in 377 career AHL games this season. He has 29 goals and 55 assists, 84 points, in 65 AHL playoff games going into this post-season. Added to his NHL totals of 22 goals, 59 points in 202 regular season games and 3 goals, 1 assist in 21 Stanley Cup playoff games - you could say that the undrafted forward, Hobey Baker Award winner out of the University of New Hampshire has made a nice career for himself.

If someone could just show Brian Burke the potential devastation that these two could wreak upon the NHL playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs I would appreciate it.

Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

van Riemsdyk putting his best foot forward

Van Riemsdyk, 19, joins the Flyers' organization skating full-speed ahead while at the same time shadowed just a little by his past. He knows he had unfinished business at UNH, where he and the Wildcats were upset in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament and then fell in the second round to eventual champ Boston University this year.

"Going to UNH, one of the main reasons I went there was to have a big impact," van Riemsdyk said. "I have a lot of pride in being on good teams. I didn't have the results I wanted."
Title-linked article on Wildcat Alum, James van Riemsdyk, by Lindsay Kramer, the AHL correspondent for, who profiles an up-and-coming player each Monday during the season, and his AHL notebook appears each Thursday on


Go 'Cats!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Annual Awards Banquet

The 2009 UNH Men's Hockey Awards Banquet was held tonight and the following summary has been issued:
Award Summary:

Roger A. LeClerg Trophy (MVP)
Brian Foster Jr. Goaltender
Most Improved Player Award
Mike Sislo So. Forward
Ted Karmeris Fan Favorite Award
James van Riemsdyk So. Forward
Warren R. Brown Memorial Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
Greg Collins Sr. Forward
Guy Smith Award (Best Offensive Player)
James van Riemsdyk So. Forward
Sid Knight Award (Best GPA)
Alan Thompson Sr. Forward
Robert A. Kullen (Unsung Hero)
Greg Collins Sr. Forward
Charles E. Holt Coaches Award
Jamie Fritsch Sr. Defenseman
Thomas Fortney Sr. Forward
Rod Langway Best Defenseman Award
Kevin Kapstad Sr. Defenseman
SCO Nate Harty Ironman Award
Brian Foster Jr. Goaltender
Snively Citizenship and Service Award
Jerry Pollastrone Sr. Forward
WTSN Golden Fish Award
James van Riemsdyk So. Forward
Terry Morton Most Worthy Opponent
Viktor Stalberg Jr. Forward (Vermont)
See the title-linked Official Site for the complete write-up.

Congratulations all!

And next year we'll be looking to Captains Peter LeBlanc and Bobby Butler to lead the 2009-2010 squad...

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Final CSS Rankings for the 2009 NHL Draft

Nick Sorkin, Justin Agosta and goaltender Jeff Wyer move onto the draft prospect list joining fellow recruit, John Henrion in the final iteration of the CSS Rankings for the 2009 NHL Draft.

Sorkin comes in the highest of the group making the Central Scouting Service's recommended list at 128th. Henrion is ranked 198th and Agosta 208th. Wyer is 22nd on the goaltenders list.

Jeff Silengo didn't make the list but he could still be drafted after being listed for viewing most of the season.

Each of the shaded names above is linked to a Draft Prospect Card on's 2009 Draft Page which includes limited stats.

Congrats on the recognition of your hard work and fine play, gentlemen!

Go 'Cats!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fritsch with Flyers

Jamie Fritsch, fresh off of the Frozen Four Skills Challenge has been signed to an Amateur Try-Out contract under emergency conditions with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The University of New Hampshire senior out of Odenton, Maryland likely got a good look by the club that owned the rights to his Wildcat teammate and fellow alum, James van Riemsdyk, their number two overall, first round draft pick from 2007 if you hadn't heard. See the title-linked article!

Fritsch was put immediately into the line of fire, though on a limited basis, seeing just four minutes and thirty-four seconds but managed a +1 rating in his short time on the ice! The Flyers would fall by a score of 4-3 though.

Congratulations Jamie!

And thanks to the member of the Nation who brought this great story to my attention!

Go 'Cats!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fritsch to Frozen Four Skills Challenge

Senior defenseman Jamie Fritsch (Odenton, Md.) of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team was recently added to the East’s squad for the 2009 Frozen Four Skills Challenge in Washington, D.C. at Verizon Center on Friday, April 10. Fritsch joins UNH woman’s player Sam Faber, who was selected to compete in the Skills Challenge back in early March.
Read the rest from the title-linked Official Site release.

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

NCAA PRO-file with Ty Conklin

As if yesterday's article was not enough, the NHL has been driving home the "stay-in-school" message with regular NCAA PRO-file posts to

This time it is UNH netminder alum, Ty Conklin.
"UNH prepared me for (the NHL) level... I learned so much from (UNH coach) Dick (Umile) -- more than hockey. And I had a great influence from Dave Lassonde. He was the first full-time goalie coach I'd see everyday. He really instilled in me how to play."
See the title-linked piece for the whole story and...

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Let's Play Hockey

From college to the NHL

by Kevin Kurtt

Nearly a third of all NHL players in 2008-09

honed their skills in college before making the leap to the pros

In the world of NCAA hockey, the vast majority of players on the 58 Division I and 78 Division II/III men’s teams will not make the jump to the NHL, AHL, ECHL or any other of the various professional hockey leagues around the world. But for a growing number of players, college hockey is a steppingstone to the bright lights of the National Hockey League.

In fact, according to next week’s issue of Let’s Play Hockey (, 279 players who saw at least one regular season NHL game in 2008-09 honed their skills in college before making the leap to the professional ranks. That number represents nearly a third of all NHL players from the current season. In 2008-09, 61 former collegiate hockey players made their NHL debut.

Leading the list of former college players now in the NHL are standouts such as New Jersey’s Zach Parise (North Dakota), Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis (Vermont), Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri (Michigan), Atlantas Todd White (Clarkson), Ottawa’s Dany Heatley (Wisconsin), Chicago’s Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) and Boston’s Tim Thomas (Vermont).

Former college players are also among the leading 2008-09 rookies. Eight players who competed in the college ranks are currently among the top 33 rookie scorers in the NHL. They are: Boston’s Blake Wheeler (Minnesota), N.Y. Islanders’ Kyle Okposo (Minnesota), St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie (North Dakota), Anaheim’s Andrew Ebbett (Michigan), Boston’s Matt Hunwick (Michigan), Phoenix’s Kyle Turris (Wisconsin), Pittsburgh’s Alex Goligoski (Minnesota) and Nashville’s Ryan Jones (Miami).

Breaking down the list of 279 players by college sees the University of Michigan lead the way with 25 players, followed by Boston College (16), North Dakota (16), Wisconsin (16), Michigan State (15) and Minnesota (14).

And the numbers will only continue to grow. During the 2008-09 college hockey season, there were 197 players whose rights were owned by an NHL franchise. In addition, the NHL Central Scouting Service’s rankings for the 2009 Entry Draft list numerous prospects who will head to college hockey programs across the nation this fall.

Phil Housley was the rare hockey player to make the quantum leap from high school to the NHL. Countless Canadians take the Major Junior route before making the jump to the pros. European players compete in the numerous leagues throughout the continent in hopes of someday earning a spot on an NHL team. But for 279 NHL players, college was the path to take.

*I can't help but add the names of the five Wildcats to have participated in the NHL this season: Jason Krog, Ty Conklin, Garrett Stafford, Daniel Winnik and Trevor Smith.

For a complete list of college players in the NHL, click here (pdf).

And be sure to check out Let's Play!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Thinking Ahead

As soon as this season ended I began to have thoughts of next season - fresh faces, new lines, some old ones and a brand new season laid out before us.

The 2008-2009 team has laid the foundation on what many said couldn't be done. An injury riddled UNH Men's Hockey Team - having suffered the loss of two of its top players - won a magical game against North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with that incredible tying goal practically as time expired and then the next day, outplayed the likely winner of the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Tournament.

A University of New Hampshire Men's Hockey Team clearly stepped-up their play in the Tournament.

I can't wait to see what they pull off next year and from this article, by Biz Jacobs at The New Hampshire, it seems I'm not alone.

Go 'Cats!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie

If you haven't heard about Rye, New Hampshire native, Bruce Valley's book - Seahawk: Confessions of an Old Hockey Goalie - and you're a hockey fan, well then, you're missing out.

Bruce, who I was fortunate to meet and chat with after his interview during last week's Coach's Show with Dick Umile, tells a tale of growing up in post World War II New Hampshire. It's a story that any New Englander could relate to and any hockey fan would cherish.

At the age of 14, the young Mr. Valley takes to the ice to defend the net of the local amateur town team, the Rye Seahawks, composed mostly of World War II veterans. As the story winds along you can feel that bone-piercing New England cold and taste the crisp clean air - you almost want to squint to reduce the glare of the sun upon the snow. You can feel the bruises and see the diorama in living color as if it were before you - stark, deep and moving. A masterful, firsthand perspective on hockey as it was nearly a half-century ago.

From the book's cover, featuring an actual image of the author's mask with a picture of some of Valley's teammates from all those years ago seen through it, the tableau comes to life thanks to his vivid recollections. He reflects on post-war sentiments, a sense of community, aging, and how the value of sport - the necessity of a physical outlet and the pure enjoyment that it brings - runs through and connects all of these things and can span the years to link one generation to the next.

This book could make a hockey fan out of anybody and reminds the rest of us how sports and hockey should be.

I just have to say, thank you for this book, Bruce. As a hockey fan and goaltender myself, your words resonate with me.

All My Best,

Additional Notes:

The US Naval Academy, Bruce Valley's alma mater, is the collegiate sponsor for this year's Frozen Four in Washington, DC.

Be sure to keep your ears open for news of Mr. Valley suiting up to take on the Washington Capitals when they come together for their camps in the early fall.

From WMUR: New Hampshire Chronicle: Pond Hockey Book

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wildcat Stories Abound *MORE*

Mike Zhe, from Seacoast Online, offers up this great piece: UNH offers second opinion and word that Danny Dries may still have one of his nine lives left as a Wildcat: Umile: Dries may not be done at UNH.


I found another great article, this one from Foster's by Al Pike

Soooo close: Painful end to inspired playoff run for Wildcats

Be sure to share any new Wildcat stories with the rest of Wildcat Nation in the comments below.

Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

James van Riemsdyk Goes Pro *UPDATE*

Official Site with statement from van Riemsdyk.
"UNH has played a crucial role in preparing me for this important next step in my hockey career and I shall be forever grateful. I fully intend to complete my academic obligations for the current second semester."

Flyers' Release
The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have signed 6’3”, 205-pound left wing James van Riemsdyk to a multiyear entry-level contract beginning with the 2009-10 season

From the Phantoms' Website.
The Flyers announced today that James vanRiemsdyk has signed an entry-level contract beginning with the 2009-10 season, and will join the Phantoms on an amateur tryout contract for the rest of the current season. He's expected to make his pro debut tonight when the Phantoms host Albany.

**After The First Game**(video)

Best of luck, James!

Go 'Cats!


Welcome to this week's Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly!

The Big Story.

LA Native Returns Home Playing Big D for Dallas

You guessed it. Garrett Stafford got a well deserved call-up to the NHL's Dallas Stars and is making the most of it.

In his first game Stafford and the Stars faced-off against fellow alum Daniel Winnik and the Phoenix Coyotes. Stafford would record two assists in the game though the announcers would pounce on the sparse NHL experience of Stafford and his fellow call-up, Dan Jancevski, to fill emergency injury spots on the Star's blueline. The team from Dallas would ultimately fall in overtime by the same score as UNH's incredible win over North Dakota.

Last night, the Los Angeles native returned to LA with the Stars looking to dethrone the Kings at home and they would do just that. Garrett fired three shots on net and was even in the 3-2 victory. And for his homecoming performance was awarded the third star of the game!

Congratulations Garrett!

In the AHL, Jason Krog continues his assault on the scoring leaders from Hershey by extending his scoring streak to 8 games with 6 goals and 9 assists. His performance over the past week included a three point, two goal night last Wednesday; a goal on Friday and a goal and assist on Sunday. Krog is still third in the league with 83 points in 69 games, 11 points behind league leader, Keith Aucoin who was called up to the Washington Capitals recently after a terrific outburst of scoring himself.

Be sure to check out AHL Live's highlights for more action featuring Krog and his Manitoba Moose or any of the other Wildcat Alumni playing pro in the league. Speaking of which, Chris Murray has rejoined many of his fellow alums after being reassigned to the league with the Atlantic Division leading Hartford Wolfpack.

And as a final note this week, it was great to see a couple Wildcat Alums at the games this past weekend. I happened to see Steve Saviano and Mick Mounsey who both enjoyed Saturday's game thoroughly. You can see video of Steve in action for Tappara Tampere where he makes a sweet move to score his team's fourth goal(autoplay).

Have any stories you would like to share? Be sure to comment!

This has been Wednesday's Wildcat Alumni Weekly on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog where the season may be over but the news keeps coming!

And speaking of which: Will James van Riemsdyk be leaving UNH or staying with the Wildcats? A press conference is expected later today where it is expected that he will announce his decision. Many are speculating that it is beyond time that he turn pro and sign with the Philadelphia Flyers who hold his draft rights. Others think James has other plans. Either way we will learn of his decision shortly!

Go 'Cats!
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