Sunday, October 30, 2011

Newest UNH Recruit Jason Kalinowski Prepares for Prep Hockey Season

Jason Kalinowski, a junior at The Salisbury School in northwest Connecticut, will begin his second season of play in the New England Preparatory School Hockey Association in early December. For young recruits, hockey is a 12-month, never-ending season. Kalinowski has spent his summer and fall preparing for the prep school season and doing what it takes to become a Division 1 college hockey player.

Summer Camp & Conditioning
The summer of 2011 was marked by significant advancements in Jason Kalinowski's hockey career. The 6 feet, 185 pound forward earned an invitation to the USA Hockey Select 16 Development Camp. During the last week of June, Kalinowski travelled from his home in Stamford, CT to Rochester, NY to participate in the camp which attracted the top 182 American players born in 1995. This marked the third summer in a row that Kalinowski was invited to the USA Hockey Select Camps. He also participated in the Select 15 Camp in 2010 and Select 14 Camp in 2009. This year, he played in 6 intersquad games and his team made it to the finals of the team competition. Among his competitors were top 1995 prospects such as Gabe Guertler (Fargo Force; Minnesota commit), Hudson Fasching (USNTDP; uncommitted), and Steven Santini (USNTDP; BC commit). Overall, Kalinowski scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games and was tied for 7th place in scoring. One week later, in early July, Jason Kalinowski turned 16.

Throughout the summer, Kalinowski participated in a rigorous training program at the Blue Streak Sports Training Facility in Stamford. The Apex Hockey Training Program was conducted in 2-hour daily sessions, Monday through Friday, for 12 weeks. The program is designed for professional, college and prep/high school players. In an interview in the Stamford Advocate, Kalinowski said:
"We were lifting weights. We were working on the (hockey) treadmill. There were skating drills which gave me very quick strides on ice. It developed my quickness. The bench presses gave me strength. And the drills gave me quick feet."

Fall Hockey Season
Ever since he was an 11-year-old Pee Wee player, Jason Kalinowski has played on travel teams for the Mid Fairfield Youth Hockey Association based in southern Connecticut. Mid Fairfield is a Tier 1 AAA USA Hockey association and its teams participate in the USA Hockey New England District and National Championships. Last season, as a 15-year-old, Kalinowski lead his Midget Minor 1 team to the National Championship Tournament played in early April in Simsbury, CT. Although the Mid Fairfield Blues lost three games in the opening round of the 2011 Tier 1 16 and Under (16U) Tournament, Kalinowski lead the team in scoring with 3 goals and an assist.

The Mid Fairfield midget teams (16U-Minor 1 & 18U-Major), like most other midget teams in New England, play their fall season from late August until the first weekend in November. The players then play the winter season for prep and high school teams. The culmination of the fall season for the Mid Fairfield Blues is the Tier 1 AAA New England Regional Tournament. They play teams from New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island to determine which team will play in the National Championship Tournament in the spring. After his successful season with the Midget Minor 1 team in 2010-11, Jason Kalinowski faced a decision about whether to move up to the Midget Major team this fall.

This week, I had an opportunity to talk with Matt Stack, Head Coach of the Mid Fairfield Blues Midget Minor 1 team about Jason Kalinowski's progress. He also works with Jason in his capacity as Vice President of Hockey at Blue Streak Sports Training. Coach Stack was enthusiastic in describing Jason's strengths which include:
~ "A compete factor second to none."
~ He plays a "physically brutal style, always finishing his hits."
~ As a center and winger, he has a solid two-way game and has a "strong defensive game."
~ He's "very consistent every game" and "wakes up everyday focused and determined."
~ He plays on the 1st powerplay and penalty kill units.

According to Coach Stack, Kalinowski was offered a position on the Blues Midget Major squad this season. Coach Stack advised Jason to consider the toll his physical style of play might take competing with 17 and 18-year-olds for 20+ games in the fall and another 25+ games during the prep hockey season. Kalinowski decided to return to the Midget Minor 1 team in part because he reportedly wanted to help the team make the National Tournament again this spring and advance further in the competition.

Kalinowski and the Mid Fairfield Blues began the fall competition in late August. The highpoint of the early season was the Labor Day Face-Offs held in Marlborough, MA. The tournament attracts top U16 teams from the northeast as well as numerous college coaches/recruiters. Coach Stack reports that Kalinowski was having an outstanding tournament until he was slashed in the forearm in the semifinal game and left with an injury. The Blues ended up winning the U16 Division defeating the Greater Boston Junior Bruins 6-3 in the finals.

The UNH coaching staff reportedly were initially impressed with Jason Kalinowski at the New England Prep School Playoffs last spring. According to Coach Stack, UNH Associate Coach Scott Borek attended the Labor Day Tournament and offered Jason the opportunity to play for the Wildcats. In verbally accepting the offer in mid-September, Kalinowski said:
"When my mom and I went to visit the campus, we attended a New Hampshire hockey home game. The arena was packed. The atmosphere was electric. And the academics there fit into what I want to study."

Following his injury at the Labor Day Tournament, Kalinowski missed 10 games. He returned to the Mid Fairfield lineup on October 16th. In the 11 games he has played this fall, he has 9 goals, 11 assists, and 10 two-minute penalties. Next Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th, Kalinowski and the Blues Midget Minor 1 team will compete at the Tier 1 AAA New England Regional Tournament. All games are played at the Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center on the campus of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. The impressive facility has an Olympic-sized and a NHL Regulation-sized rink.

Following the Midget Minor Regionals, Jason Kalinowski will put away the blue and gold colors of his Mid Fairfield team and don the Crimson of the Salisbury School. The prep school schedule for 2011-12 is not yet available but Salisbury typically begins their Founders League season in early December. Follow Kalinowski's progress throughout the winter in the UNH Recruit Updates.

Monday, October 24, 2011

UNH Recruits Update: Week 4

Player of the Week - Mike Vecchione

This time last year, Mike Vecchione was a senior at Malden Catholic preparing for his final season of high school hockey. As the team's captain, Vecchione went on to lead Malden Catholic to the Massachusetts Super 8 Championship. A year later, Vecchione moved half way across the country to Kearney, Nebraska to play for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. On Saturday night in his fifth game in the USHL, Vecchione helped lead the Storm over the Sioux City Musketeers for their first away-game victory of the season. He generated 4 shots on goal, scored a power play goal and added an assist. The night before, Vecchione had an assist in a loss to the Indiana Ice. Mike Vecchione is now the second leading scorer on the Storm and his 5 points has him tied for 7th in total points in the USHL.
Vecchione's goal against the Musketeers can be viewed on this video (courtesy of KTIV TV).

2012 Recruits
Dan CorrealeGrande PrairieAJHLInjured0000
Maxim GaudreaultSioux CityUSHL72242
Jamie HillWaterlooUSHL72240
Collin MacDonaldJersey HitmenEJHL 12126184
Kyle SmithJunior BruinsEJHL13814220
Mike VecchioneTri-CityUSHL62352
2012 or '13 Recruit
Jordan MastersMuskegonUSHL 60228
2013 Recruits
Matias ClelandWaterlooUSHL30009
Dylan MallerTri-CityUSHLinjured0000
Brett PesceJersey HitmenEJHL40002
Andrew PoturalskiBuffalo Jr SabresOJHL1410152510
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholasMuskegonUSHL20000
2014 Recruits
Shane EisermanCushing AcademyNEPSAC00000
Tyler KelleherUSA U17 TeamUSHL64264
2015 Recruits
Jason KalinowskiSalisbury Prep NEPSAC0 00 00

New & Notes

Midweek, the NHL Central Scouting Service released the "2012 NHL Entry Draft Players to Watch" list for North American players in junior leagues in the United States, junior "A" leagues in Canada, and high school/prep school leagues. Two players committed to play at UNH were on the list. 2012 Recruit Collin MacDonald, who is currently the 2nd leading goal scorer in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, was given a "B" rating - indicating that he has the potential to be drafted in Rounds #3 through #5 in the NHL Entry Draft next summer. 2013 Recruit Andrew Poturalski, who is tied for 4th in scoring in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, was given a "C" rating - having the potential to be drafted in Rounds #6 or #7.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

UNH Earns First Point of Season

After UNH generated 33 shots on goal Friday night against St. Cloud State University and lost 7-5, the question was - what do the Wildcats have to do to earn its first point of the season? The answer - outshoot SCSU 47 to 24, go into overtime, and come away with a 3-3 tie.

Picking up on its play in the final period Friday night, UNH dominated large portions of tonight's game, especially in the final two periods of regulation. The only hurdle standing between UNH and its first victory of the season was SCSU goalie Mike Lee. UNH outshot SCSU 33 to 15 over the final two periods and 4 to 1 in overtime.

All three UNH goals were pretty to watch. Trailing 2-0 with 3:45 remaining in the first period, UNH went on the power play. Freshman Grayson Downing, who controlled the puck to the right of goalie Mike Lee, made a nice pass to Stevie Moses streaking into the crease. Lee made the initial stop on Moses' pointblank shot but Nick Sorkin pounced on the rebound and banged it home between Lee and the post.

The second UNH goal came about 5 minutes into the second period when SCSU was called for a penalty. UNH got an extra attacker on the ice before SCSU could stop the play. Senior Co-Captain Damon Kipp took the puck from the left point, skated it to the top of the right faceoff circle drawing the SCSU defenders with him. He quickly made a perfect pass in the opposite direction to rookie defenseman Eric Knodel positioned in the left faceoff circle. Knodel ripped a wrister to beat Lee who had little chance of making the save. Following the goal, which tied the score at 2 apiece, the SCSU TV announcers - who persisted in calling Nick Sorkin "Sorkum" and Grayson Downing "Dowling" and incorrectly identifying Associate Coach Scott Borek as Coach Umile - got one call absolutely correct. "UNH is driving to the net tonight."

UNH's third goal came at the beginning of the third period at a time when they appeared to have dug themselves a deep hole. Less than 30 seconds into the period, John Henrion had a shot blocked in close to the net and needlessly spun around and slashed a SCSU player. Henrion received a 5-minute major penalty for his transgression. During the first sequence of the SCSU powerplay, Dalton Speelman sprawled to the ice to block a shot, not once, but twice in a matter of seconds. Speelman then got up and cleared the puck the length of the ice. Moments later, freshman Trevor van Riemsdyk stole the puck in his own end and made a rink-long rush, killing valuable time. With the 5-minute powerplay half over, Stevie Moses executed a dipsy-doo stick handling maneuver while skating from the SCSU blueline to the right of their net. He then made a perfect pass to Nick Sorkin's backhand who then poked it home. Short-handed goal; 3-2 lead for UNH.

On the two St. Cloud scoring plays in the first period, UNH defensemen did not successfully contain the SCSU forwards. On the first goal, Cam Reid - who originally committed to play for UNH but was not admitted due to an unspecified "academic" issue - got loose from a UNH defenseman behind the net and tucked the puck behind sophomore goalie Jeff Wyer. Wyer started in his first game as a Wildcat. On the second SCSU goal, a UNH defender, positioned in front of Wyer, failed to block a shot with his stick. The SCSU scoring play which tied the game at 3 with 12:07 remaining in the 3rd period, began with Wyer making a terrific save on a point blank shot. The SCSU forwards gathered the puck and made a nice play which was difficult to defend. Jeff Wyer made a total of 21 saves and some were outstanding.

Game Notes:
~ The Grayson Downing-Nick Sorkin-Stevie Moses line played well again generating 3-4-3 shots on goal, respectively.
~ Sophomore Nick Sorkin is emerging as a potent offensive threat. In the back-to-back games in St. Cloud, Sorkin scored three goals and an assist, and generated 8 shots on goal.
~ Kevin Goumas, who was not in the lineup Friday night, played most of the game on the 4th line with Mike Borisenok and Kevin McCarthy. Their line had a strong shift with approximately 5 minutes remaining in regulation. Goumas controlled the puck behind the SCSU net on a couple of occasions and made some nice passes. With three minutes left in regulation, Goumas was reunited with Sorkin and Moses. In one flurry, Goumas almost poked a flying puck behind the SCSU goalie and Sorkin whacked at the loose puck forcing another save.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Did UNH Find Their Game in St. Cloud?

If UNH manages to salvage their season in the months ahead and makes it to their 14th NCAA Tournament in the last 15 years, they may look back on the third period of tonight's game at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota as the turning point. Heading into the third period, UNH was losing decisively 5-2. After an even first period, which ended 2-2, the UNH defense and Matt DiGirolamo were overmatched in the second period. St. Cloud outshot UNH 14 to 7 and controlled the game. Other than Damon Kipp, the UNH defensemen did not play well in their own zone. Mistakes including bad clearing passes off the boards, not blocking shots in front of DiGirolamo, and not covering SCSU players in the slot cost the team. So far this season, DiGirolamo has not resembled the outstanding goalie he was last season. The second period tonight may have been his worse so far this season. He made 14 saves but allowed three goals. One wonders whether the absence of former UNH goalie coach David Lassonde has effected DiGirolamo's consistency.

The UNH turnaround began to glimmer at the beginning of the third period. Rookie UNH goalie Jeff Wyer - a sophomore who saw no game action last season - replaced DiGirolamo. The teams were 4-on-4 for a few seconds then UNH went on the powerplay. With only 2 seconds left on the man advantage, John Henrion ripped a shot that beat SCSU goalie Mike Lee. UNH 3, SCSU 5. The momentum didn't turn in UNH's favor right away. At 5:32, Brett Kostolansky was called for cross-checking; the 5th UNH penalty of the game. SCSU converted on the powerplay when a UNH defenseman failed to block a shot and effectively screened Jeff Wyer. That's when UNH started to show the style of hockey that carried them to the final 8 of the NCAA tournament last spring.

Jeff Wyer made a number of outstanding saves over the middle portion of the third period to keep the score 6-3. With a little more than 7 minutes remaining, the newly constituted first line of Nick Sorkin at center, freshman Grayson Downing at left wing, and Stevie Moses at right wing tenaciously forechecked, keeping the puck in the SCSU zone for their whole shift. Sorkin forced a turnover and fed Moses for the 4th UNH goal. That was when the SCSU TV announcer exclaimed "UNH is fighting back!"

The Casey Thrush-Scott Pavelski-Austin Block line had an effective forechecking shift and Pavelski fed Thrush for a nice shot on goal at the 6:21 mark. Thrush persisted at trying to poke the puck free from the SCSU goaltender and was roughed up after the whistle. Matching penalties were called. During the ensuing play, Stevie Moses got off a terrific backhand on goal. Then Trevor van Riemsdyk got behind the SCSU net and fed Moses for a point blank shot on goal. Though the score remained 6-4, UNH was controlling the play with forechecking and the defensemen pinching in on the blue line to keep the puck in the SCSU zone.

With about 4 minutes to play, rookie defenseman Eric Knodel (another sophomore who did not play last season) made a nice play keeping the puck in the zone then senior co-captain Damon Kipp brought the puck into the high slot and scored on a pinpoint wrist shot. UNH had scored 2 goals in less than four minutes and was only behind by one. On the ensuing faceoff, SCSU carried the puck into the UNH zone and Jeff Wyer kept the Wildcats' hope alive by making an outstanding blocker save. UNH maintained the pressure then pulled Jeff Wyer with less than a minute to play and SCSU iced the game with an empty net goal.

There are positives to build on after this game. The juggling of all four forward lines helped. Having Greg Burke play center between Henrion and Dalton Speelman was effective. Burke appeared to win the majority of his faceoffs and the line generated 5 shots on goal. Freshman Grayson Downing played with poise on the first line and had two assists. Downing-Sorkin-Moses passed the puck well and produced 13 shots on goal. Freshman Casey Thrush along with linemates Pavelski and Block were each +2 in the +/- column. And finally, goalie Jeff Wyer showed that he can play well enough to perhaps take some of the pressure off Matt DiGirolamo.

Four winless games to start the 2011-12 season. A stark reality. Did UNH begin to turn it around tonight in St. Cloud? Stay tuned.

Monday, October 17, 2011

UNH Recruits Update: Week 3

Player of the Week - Collin MacDonald

19-year-old forward and 2012 UNH Recruit, Collin MacDonald had a remarkable goal-scoring week for the Jersey Hitmen of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. In three games, MacDonald scored 7 goals. On Saturday, he scored 2 goals including the game-winning goal with 32 seconds left in the game. In the game against the Bay State Breakers on Sunday, MacDonald tallied 4 goals including the game-winning goal in overtime. By virtue of the early season scheduling, MacDonald has played in 2-3 fewer games than most of the leading scorers in the EJHL. However, his 9 goals and 6 assists in 10 games has him tied for 4th in most goals and tied for 8th in total points in the EJHL. MacDonald is a key contributor on the Hitmen's power play having scored 2 goals and 2 assists.

This week, MacDonald's fellow 2012 recruit, Kyle Smith, deserves honorable mention for his play with the Junior Bruins of the EJHL. Across the 4 games he played, Smith scored 6 goals and 5 assists with 1 game-winning goal. So far this season, Smith is among the league leaders in assists (12; tied 4th) and total points (19; 4th place).

2012 Recruits
Dan CorrealeGrande PrairieAJHLInjured0000
Maxim GaudreaultSioux CityUSHL51120
Jamie HillWaterlooUSHL51120
Collin MacDonaldJersey HitmenEJHL 1096154
Kyle SmithJunior BruinsEJHL11712190
Mike VecchioneTri-CityUSHL41122
2012 or '13 Recruit
Jordan MastersMuskegonUSHL 40116
2013 Recruits
Matias ClelandWaterlooUSHL10009
Dylan MallerTri-CityUSHLinjured0000
Brett PesceJersey HitmenEJHL40002
Andrew PoturalskiBuffalo Jr SabresOJHL1210142410
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholasMuskegonUSHL10000
2014 Recruits
Shane EisermanCushing AcademyNEPSAC00000
Tyler KelleherUSA U17 TeamUSHL54152
2015 Recruits
Jason KalinowskiSalisbury Prep NEPSAC0 00 00

New & Notes

2013 Recruit, Andrew Poturalski, continued his torrid scoring pace this week. He scored 2 goals and 3 assists in two games. Poturalski is in 3rd place in scoring, tied for 3rd in goals, and tied for 2nd in assists in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. 2013 or 14 Recruit Michael McNicholas, played in his first game of the USHL season for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He did not score points but did register 2 shots on goal.

Monday, October 10, 2011

UNH Recruits Update: Week 2

Player of the Week - Tyler Kelleher

16-year-old forward and 2014 UNH Recruit, Tyler Kelleher, has taken the United States Hockey League by storm in his first season. After playing his first four games with Team USA, Kelleher has 4 goals and 1 assist for 5 total points. That ranks him tied for 1st in goals and tied for 2nd in points in the USHL. Kelleher and his fellow 16-year-olds in the U17 National Team Development Program have gotten off to a respectable start in a league filled with older players. Team USA is in the middle of the pack in the standings with 1 win, 2 losses, and 1 overtime loss.

2012 Recruits
Dan CorrealeGrande PrairieAJHLInjured0000
Maxim GaudreaultSioux CityUSHL31120
Jamie HillWaterlooUSHL20110
Collin MacDonaldJersey HitmenEJHL 72680
Kyle SmithJunior BruinsEJHL71670
Mike VecchioneTri-CityUSHL31122
2012 or '13 Recruit
Jordan MastersMuskegonUSHL 20002
2013 Recruits
Matias ClelandWaterlooUSHL10009
Dylan MallerTri-CityUSHLinjured0000
Brett PesceJersey HitmenEJHL40002
Andrew PoturalskiBuffalo Jr SabresOJHL10812206
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholasMuskegonUSHL00000
2014 Recruits
Shane EisermanCushing AcademyNEPSAC00000
Tyler KelleherUSA U17 TeamUSHL44152
2015 Recruits
Jason KalinowskiSalisbury Prep NEPSAC0 00 00

New & Notes

This week, 2012 Recruits Maxim Gaudreault and Mike Vecchione, scored their first goals of the USHL season. In this, his first season in the USHL, Vecchione is tied for the lead in scoring on the Tri-City Storm. Collin MacDonald maintained his point-a-game pace this week and is the leading scorer on the Jersey Hitmen. Although MacDonald and Jr. Bruin Kyle Smith have played three fewer games than the leading scorers in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, they both are tied for 6th in most assists (6). 2013 Recruit, Andrew Poturalski, maintained a 2-point-a-game pace this week in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The Jr Sabre is tied for 2nd in scoring and assists in the OJHL and is his team's leading scorer.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks opened their USHL season on the road against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Friday night. Jordan Masters played on the third line and was on the Lumberjacks' first penalty kill unit and second power play unit. In my first opportunity to watch Masters play (online), he impressed me as a fast, scrappy forward who bangs into opposing players without hesitation. He frequently was around the puck and was very good on the penalty kill. 17-year-old forward, Michael McNicholas, was not in the lineup for the Lumberjacks' first two games of the season.

Defenseman Dylan Maller, a 2013 recruit, was recently cleared to skate with the Tri-City Storm. He has been recovering from a hip injury. Maller reportedly will return to the Storms' lineup on Nov 4th in a game against the Omaha Lancers. It will be his first game in the USHL. 2012 Recruit, Dan Correale, is still recovering from a shoulder injury and is not scheduled to begin his season with the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League until December.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

UNH Drops Season Opener to Millan & BU

BOSTON, Ma. - The Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University was filled with all the ingredients necessary for a successful home opener. The huge, four-sided video scoreboard, suspended over center ice like the one in the old Boston Garden, played highlight footage of BU heros past and present. The students in their favorite red and whites filled both ends of the arena. The BU Terrier team who took to the ice of the Jack Parker Rink was brimming with veterans and NHL draft picks. Preseason polls had them ranked as high as 6th in the nation. BU succeeded in their opening game of the 2011-12 season by beating the University of New Hampshire 5-0. Although the game was not the type of blowout suggested by the final score, either in the flow of the game or shots on goal, it was a convincing victory by BU.

Over the first two periods, UNH outshot BU 29-23. Senior goaltender Kieran Millan, who earned the game's #1 star, was the difference maker, particularly in the first period. Video highlights of several glittering saves by Millan are available on A comprehensive description of the BU goals can be found in the article written by Gavin Faretra in the Concord Monitor. The article includes Coach Umile's assessment of the game in the post-game press conference:
"It was a pretty hockey game for a while, at least for a couple periods. I thought we had our chances early ... but we got beat in our own end - not covering people. It just wasn't very good coverage on our part in our own end...Even when it was 2-0, I thought we had quite a few chances to bounce back, come back. We had some real good scoring opportunities; we let the game get away from us in our own end."
~ Moses-Borisenok-Goumas - As they had in the exhibition victory over New Brunswick last weekend, UNH's top line generated plenty of offense with 11 shots on goal. Stevie Moses shows every sign of having a memorable senior season like Paul Thompson and Bobby Butler before him. In a preseason interview produced by UNH Athletics, Moses talked about how he generated plenty of shots last season but worked over the summer on improving his accuracy. Last night, Moses had 6 SOG. So far this season, many of Moses shots are self-generated - that is, he carries the puck into and around the offensive zone, creates space with speed and quick changes in direction, and rips off a shot that the goalie must save. A couple examples of these "unassisted shots on goal" came in the 1st period. In one sequence, Moses skated to the top of the left faceoff circle and shot to Millan's glove side. In another instance, he streaked to the top of the slot and forced Millan to make a blocker save on a quick wrister. Moses and his linemates Borisenok and Goumas are showing great chemistry in their ability to advance the puck with quick passes. They seem to have a good sense of where each other is headed and connect on their passes most of the time.
~ Sorkin-Block-Burke - I was a bit surprised that the gamesheet showed the 3rd line only generated 3 SOG - one by each player. I saw them do an outstanding job forcing the play in BU's end during most of their shifts. The primary strategy for this line is to have the big wingers - Nick Sorkin and Greg Burke - forecheck down low on the boards and in the corners to force turnovers and for center Austin Block to hang back between the faceoff circles. As an effective two-way player, Block was positioned to intercept any BU breakout should Sorkin or Burke not gain possession of the puck. Burke is relentless using his body in close-quarters to create space and maneuver the puck and Sorkin is showing a similar style in the corners.
~ Trevor van Riemsdyk - To say that TvR did not seem out of place in the first regular season game of his college career would be an understatement. Paired with junior Connor Hardowa, TvR played a steady 1st period. He seemed to get more comfortable in the last two periods and asserted himself in all three zones. During one sequence, TvR went after a BU forward in the corner of UNH's defensive zone, and used his size and reach to come away with the puck. He then carried the puck out of the zone and made a tape-to-tape pass to Greg Burke resulting in a shot on goal. Although TvR was not on the first unit of the powerplay, he got some solid minutes on the second unit and showed poise handling the puck on the blueline. With UNH going 0 for 6 on power play opportunities, TvR may be destined to see his powerplay minutes increase as the season progresses.

~ Power Play - The exact number of shots on goal UNH generated on the power play is not readily available but there was not an abundance of them. BU, who was ranked 4th in the nation last season in penalty killing, was effective in keeping the puck out on the perimeter and UNH's passing was not effective. One bright spot was a booming slap shot by sophomore defenseman Eric Knodel on a power play in the second period. It was labelled for the top corner and Millan made a nice save. Overall, Knodel had 4 SOG's on the night.
~ Defensive Coverage in Their Zone - BU was effective in controlling the puck down low behind the goal line and Matt DiGirolamo. On a couple of the goals, a UNH defenseman either failed to cover the BU forward trying to make a play behind the net or did not successfully cover a forward open in front of DiGi. As Coach Umile said in the Concord Monitor article:
"I think the inexperienced defensemen were fine; it's called team defense and we just didn't do a very good job in our own end."
New Associate Coach Jim Tortorella and the defensemen will have plenty to work on in practice this week. UNH plays Northeastern University, who lost several key players and recruits over the summer, next Friday at the refurbished Matthews Arena. The home opener at the Whittemore Center is on Saturday against Boston College.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

UNH Recruit Michael McNicholas: Where Will He Play?


Since this post was first written, "The UNH Men's Hockey Blog" has received confirmation that Michael McNicholas will play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL.


In my previous post "UNH Recruits Prepare for USHL: Part I", I described the path that Michael McNicholas travelled leading up to the Muskegon Lumberjacks' training camp last month:
"Michael McNicholas - In the 2010 USHL Futures Draft, the Lumberjacks chose McNicholas in the 5th Round (62nd pick overall). He participated in the 2010 tryout and training camps and was named to the affiliate list. He got to play in one Lumberjack game in February. McNicholas was a full-time player for the Victory Honda team (Michigan) in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (midget major). He was the 8th leading scorer in the league with 12 goals and 34 assists in 40 games. In June, he tried out for the Lumberjacks again and made the 25-man roster. In July, McNicholas and Jordan Masters tied for leading scorer in the 2011 Youth Select 17 Player Development Camp. Although they are both 17 and born a month apart, Masters was chosen for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team and McNicholas wasn't. He is looking to surpass Masters' scoring totals in this, his rookie season in the USHL. McNicholas is expected to join UNH in the fall of either 2013 or 2014."
Michael McNicholas, a 17-year-old forward (DOB: 3/24/1994) was a member of the Lumberjacks' 25-man roster that participated in training camp throughout September. McNicholas played in all five of the Lumberjacks' preseason games, including the three games at the USHL Fall Classic. He scored 1 assist and had an overall +/- rating of +2. As of today, McNicholas is listed on the Muskegon Lumberjacks' website as a member of the 23-man active roster - with his picture and biography. However, a couple of announcements over the last week raise questions about McNicholas' status with the Lumberjacks.

All USHL teams were required to provide their 23-man active rosters before the League's season began last weekend. USA Hockey posted the active rosters for all teams including the Lumberjacks. Michael McNicholas is not on the list. Yesterday, the Lumberjacks' announced, through the Muskegon Chronicle, that they added a forward named John Padulo, a three-year veteran from the Ontario Hockey League, to their active roster. Padulo is also one of the 23 players on the Lumberjacks' roster listed by USA Hockey. These announcements raise the possibility that Michael McNicholas will not be on the Lumberjacks' active roster when they begin their regular season this Friday, October 7th against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

All USHL teams have a 14-player "affiliate list" in addition to their 23-man active rosters. These lists for the 2011-12 season was posted by US Hockey Report (available through google search). Michael McNicholas is on this version of the Lumberjacks' affiliate list. As I mentioned above, McNicholas was on their affiliate list last season and was called up from the Victory Honda Under-18 team to play one game with the Lumberjacks. According information provided on the facebook page of the Chicago Steel:
"Players on the affiliated list can be moved to a team's active roster at any time and for any reason. If an affiliated player is moved to a team's active roster before the February 10 roster deadline, they will be eligible to play for the remainder of the regular season as well as the post-season. Affiliated players added to the active roster after February 10 will not be eligible to play in the post-season."
This suggests that Michael McNicholas could be called up to the Lumberjacks' and be moved to their active roster at some point this season. However, the question is, called up from what team? Could McNicholas start the season playing for his former team, Victory Honda? His name currently is not on their roster. There are a couple of Victory Honda players who are as old as McNicholas. Look for an announcement from the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Michael McNicholas' status in the coming days.

UNH Recruit Jordan Masters is on the Lumberjacks' active roster in all of the lists described above. In 4 preseason games, Masters scored a goal and 2 assists and was second in scoring among the Lumberjacks.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


There's nothing like getting your Wildcat Hockey fix after a long summer and the exhibition game always comes just in time. We get to see our newly minted team as well as the newcomers who may have to wait awhile before they get their shot to don the sweater and lace 'em up in their first real game.

And it was quite a show put on by our men!

Just 16 seconds in and Stevie Moses, our Alternate Captain, shows that he means business this season, scoring shorthanded on a nice feed from senior Captain, Mike Borisenok.

The team played a solid 60 minutes - upperclassmen to freshmen, goalie, defense and forward - and while that one goal would have been enough behind a complete effort by senior goaltender, Matty DiGirolamo, sophomore Justin Agosta stood tall with two heavy shots from the point that found the twine. No dangles here, just straight-up blasts for a goal and an assist on fellow sophomore, Jeff Silengo's tip-in.

And I have to mention that John Henrion is a beast. That is all.

But, my player of the game nod has got to go to freshman, Trevor van Riemsdyk. I liked his play at both ends of the ice. I saw good passing, shooting, defensive coverage and a tough edge to his game that saw him finishing his checks on every play. Nicely done.

I know I had a spectacular day. With our traditional stops at the Fox Country Smokehouse, a pre-game Turbo @ Pauly's, met up with C-H-C at the game and then a nice meal after with the whole family. The only way it could have been better would have been for it to have been a nice fall day for apple picking - it doesn't get any better than fall in New Hampshire.

Now on to the regular season. With the exhibition game out of the way it's time to get the 2011-2012 Division I NCAA college hockey season underway!

This Saturday our 'Cats will make the short jaunt to Boston University's Agganis Arena to officially drop the puck on the regular season.

The Terriers didn't get out to the best of starts in their exhibition game, falling behind 5-0 to the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men. But BU can't be taken lightly as they mounted a four goal third period to make a game of it though ultimately falling 6-4.

I can't wait!

To get you through, enjoy the UNH Warm Ups Soundtrack courtesy of senior netminder, Tyler Scott.

And as a side note, if you haven't heard, welcome to the league Notre Dame.

Go 'Cats!

Monday, October 03, 2011

UNH Recruits Update: Week 1

Most of the UNH Recruits have begun their regular seasons. From now until the end of league playoffs, I'll be posting a weekly update of the recruits' statistics along with a report on outstanding individual accomplishments for the week. For Week 1, there are 6 recruits who have not begun the season either due to injury or league play has not begun for their team. As you'll see, the season is in full swing for the rest of the UNH Recruits.

Player of the Week - Andrew Poturalski

Three recruits have gotten off to fast starts - Andrew Poturalski, Collin MacDonald and Tyler Kelleher. After a strong preseason with the Jersey Hitmen (EJHL), MacDonald, a 2012 Recruit, has a goal and 5 assists in the first 5 games of the regular season. This is MacDonald's first season in the EJHL. 2014 Recruit, Tyler Kelleher, has made the jump from prep school hockey at Deerfield Academy to the USA U-17 NTDP team, which plays in the United States Hockey League. In his very first game in the USHL, Kelleher scored 2 goals. Ordinarily, I'd name either MacDonald or Kelleher as "Player of the Week". However, this week, that title goes to 2013 Recruit Andrew Poturalski. In his first season of junior hockey, playing for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Poturalski has scored 8 goals and 8 assists in the first 8 games. In the OJHL, he is tied for 3rd in goals scored and tied for 5th in total points. A goal-a-game and 2 point-a-game pace will be difficult to maintain but it is an impressive accomplishment.

2012 Recruits
Dan CorrealeGrande PrairieAJHLInjured0000
Maxim GaudreaultSioux CityUSHL10000
Jamie HillWaterlooUSHL10110
Collin MacDonaldJersey HitmenEJHL 51560
Kyle SmithJunior BruinsEJHL40440
Mike VecchioneTri-CityUSHL10002
2012 or '13 Recruit
Jordan MastersMuskegonUSHL 00000
2013 Recruits
Matias ClelandWaterlooUSHL10009
Dylan MallerTri-CityUSHLinjured0000
Brett PesceJersey HitmenEJHL30002
Andrew PoturalskiBuffalo Jr SabresOJHL888164
2013 or '14 Recruit
Michael McNicholasMuskegonUSHL00000
2014 Recruits
Shane EisermanCushing AcademyNEPSAC00000
Tyler KelleherUSA U17 TeamUSHL22020
2015 Recruits
Jason KalinowskiSalisbury Prep NEPSAC0 00 00

Saturday, October 01, 2011

UNH Handily Defeats New Brunswick 3-0

The 2011-12 version of the UNH Wildcats took to the fog shrouded ice at the Whittemore Center for the first time this season and came away with a 3-0 victory over the University of New Brunswick. Check out for a game summary including videos of the UNH goals.

For an exhibition game, the New Brunswick "Varsity Reds" were a worthy opponent. The team is full of veterans of Canadian Major Junior hockey along with three former professionals - two from the American Hockey League and one from the ECHL. The youngest player is 21-years-old and the oldest is 26. Last season, New Brunswick won the championship of Canadian college hockey - the University Cup. The Varsity Reds are poised for another strong season with seventeen upperclassmen.

UNH enters the new season with (at least) three major questions:
  • (1) Can a top line emerge to replace the high-scoring line of Paul Thompson, Phil DeSimone and Mike Sislo?

  • The answer might be Stevie Moses-Mike Borisenok-Kevin Goumas. Tonight, the "Go-Mo-Bo" line picked up where they left off in the NCAA Tournament last March. Less than a half-minute into the game, Borisenok streaked through center ice, fed a flying Moses on the right wing, who broke in for a clean breakaway goal. For the night, the line generated 11 shots on goal. Moses had 6 SOG's of his own and was, once again, the fastest player on the ice. On several occasions, Moses carried the puck strong to the net resulting in scoring opportunities. Borisenok had a characteristically strong two-way game. Goumas may be one of the best at anticipating the movement of the puck and being in the right place at the right time.

  • (2) Will Matt DiGirolamo equal or surpass last season's performance in which he was runnerup to John Muse as the Hockey East Goaltending Champion?

  • A 22-save, shutout is a good start. DiGirolamo is so quick at moving side-to-side across the crease and tonight, he was largely successful at controlling rebounds. An injury-free DiGirolamo will be essential to UNH's success this season. The three backup goalies - Scott, Wyer, and freshman Casey DeSmith are untested. During one sequence tonight, Captain Damon Kipp fell on top of DiGi and he got up very slowly as many in the crowd (and behind the UNH bench) held their breath. He played fine after that.

  • (3) Will an offensive defenseman emerge to replace the scoring output provided by Blake Kessel (who turned professional after his junior year at UNH)?

  • Two new defensemen - sophomore Justin Agosta (who didn't play in any games last season) and freshman Trevor van Riemsdyk - are solid candidates. As anticipated, TvR showed remarkable poise in his first college game. He skated a regular shift, paired with either Brett Kostolansky or Eric Knodel, and got significant powerplay time. Like Kessel, TvR will jump into the play through center ice and into the offensive zone. During one UNH powerplay in the third period, TvR was the only player back on a 2-on-1 rush by New Brunswick. He steered the puck-carrier off to the side of DiGi, gathered in the puck, rushed through center ice and made a pretty pass to Nick Sorkin from the top of the faceoff circle. He may end up with more assists than Kessel because he is an outstanding passer.
    Justin Agosta was a pleasant surprise on offense tonight with 3 shots on goal, 1 goal and 1 assist. His assist on UNH's third goal was particularly effective. From just inside the blueline, he took a half-slapshot which he appeared to deliberately aim just to the right of the New Brunswick goalie - right where Silengo and Block were positioned.

    First Look at the Freshmen
    Of all the freshman forwards, Grayson Downing looks to be the most ready to make the jump from junior hockey to the college game. Downing skated a regular shift on the left wing of the 4th line. He appeared to keep up with the fast pace and was rarely out of position. He also made a couple of nice plays entering the offensive zone. The all freshman line of Casey Thrush, Matt Willows, and Jay Camper were fun to watch. Thrush had a couple shots on goal with Willows and Camper getting one apiece. Willows is a small but fast center who plays with a physical edge. He made a couple of below-average passes but that's to be expected. Thrush and Camper are strong skaters. Defensemen Ryan Randall and Eric Chevrier and goalie Casey DeSmith participated in the warmups but were not on the bench.

    UNH opens the Hockey East schedule next Saturday night at Boston University. The home opener is on October 15th against Boston College. Two teams ranked in the top 10 nationally on consecutive weekends.
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